Player-manager Michael Shinn says consistency of performance remains the key to Haverhill Rovers prospects this season.
Rovers return to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division action on Saturday at home to Hadleigh United (3pm) looking to retain their place in the top six after Tuesday’s stirring 4-2 defeat to Vanarama Conference North side Lowestoft Town in the last eight of the Suffolk FA Premier Cup.
Rovers had led 1-0 thanks to Ryan Weaver’s 18th minute goal, but the team from three divisions higher eventually triumphed 4-2, although Will Gardner’s first ever first team goal had made it 3-2 at one stage.
Shinn was delighted with the way the players performed against the Trawlerboys, saying: “Jake Reed (Lowestoft’s top scorer) didn’t start but he came on with half an hour to go and I think that tells the story.
“I was delighted with the way we performed because looking at these games we could quite easily end up getting rolled over.
“We could go behind early on and struggle and people throw the towel in but it was good performance all round.”
The performance in central midfield of 17-year-old Will Gardner, who had previously played mainly at left-back, was particularly pleasing for Shinn among a starting XI that was largely lacking experience of playing sides of Lowestoft’s calibre.
“He’s done really well in the last couple of games in there and taken everything on board that we’ve asked of him and gone out there and done really well,” said Shinn.
“When you look at the team experience wise I think the only players who would have played in a game like that are Hunty (Marcus Hunt) and Alex Archer, and he is only 22, and I think for what was an inexperienced side we performed really well.”
Rovers’ second highest home crowd of the season - 171 - watched Tuesday’s game, and the attendances this season have pleased Shinn, who attributes it in part to the fact that many locally-based players are in the team, many of whom are experiencing step five football for the first time.
With Hadleigh the next test for Rovers, Shinn is acutely aware that the levels they have reached this season need to be maintained if they are to continue their top six form.
He said: “It’s just all about being consistent. Be consistent in your performance and then the results will generally follow that and lately we have been really consistent as a group.
“I strongly believe if we are consistent in our performance we will be in a good position come the end of the season.”
Gardner and Ty Alleyne are in action for the Suffolk U-18s on Sunday, so miss out against Hadleigh, as will striker Scott Kemp, who is not yet recovered from his ankle injury.
nHaverhill Borough travel to Diss Town in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division (3pm)