Haverhill Borough marched away with a thrilling 3-2 victory in Friday night’s local derby with Haverhill Rovers.
Despite finding themselves 2-0 down at half-time, an early second half goal set up the dramatic finish, which saw Borough score a 90th minute equaliser followed by the winner, two minutes into added time.
But it was Rovers who took the initiative, and the early chances, as they went ahead after just five minutes.
A long ball from player-manager Marc Abbott found Rafal Wozniak, whose shot bounced over new Borough ‘keeper Will Cook and into the net.
Cook was caught out by the high bounce of the ball on the 3G pitch but it was a good finish by Wozniak, who looked dangerous in attack.
Borough struggled to deal with the pace of Rovers in the early stages as the visiting New Croft side got off to the better start.
Both teams put in some robust challenges to show their intent and both Cameron Watson and Alfie Carroll required lengthy treatments inside the first 25 minutes.
But there was also plenty of football played, with Rovers finding their second, as Wozniak claimed his second.
The forward capitalised on a Borough defensive mix-up to slot the ball home and put his side two goals to the good in the 21st minute.
Borough got themselves back on terms as the half progressed — although Rovers had a few great chances to extend their lead but didn’t convert — to go in at half-time at 2-0.
The home side came out of the changing rooms with a different energy and attacked the game as Rovers had done in the first half.
And they were quickly rewarded, Ryan Weaver cutting through the Rovers defence to get his side on the score sheet in the 49th minute.
Weaver had a point to prove after being sent off in the side’s first meeting of the season on November 3 (with Rovers claiming a 1-0 victory), and did well to banish the bad memories with the important goal.
But what then followed was one of a number of uncertain decisions made by the officials during the game.
Rovers appeared to have netted their third, and Wozniak’s hat-trick, as the referee seemed to overrule the linesman’s offside call.
But after some discussion, it was decided the offside was to stand, and the goal was disallowed. It was the sixth offside for the visitors.
Charlie Holmes also seemed to have a goal claim disallowed when he and ‘keeper Charlie Turner tussled, with the ball arguably crossing the line — but officials left play continue.
Although Borough had some good chances as the game went on, including a Holmes free kick which nearly beat the goalkeeper, it looked as though time was going to run out before the late flurry.
In the 90th minute, Holmes struck a sweet half volley to beat Rovers’ Turner and put his side back level.
And two minutes into the added time, a goalmouth scramble saw the ball cleared as far as Ashley Botten, who connected with a sweet strike.
It took a significant deflection but found the net to give the home side the three points.
The head-to-head is now one apiece this season, although Borough take the best of their only three meetings having beaten Rovers last season in the FA Vase.
Pick up a copy of this Thursday’s Echo for reaction, player ratings and more.