Haverhill Borough blew the chance to put a nine point gap between themselves and the relegation zone in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, as they lost 2-1 to basement side Wivenhoe Town on Wednesday night.
It followed Borough’s 3-2 away victory over second-from-bottom Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday, which had given them a six point breathing space in the final ‘safe’ spot in the league.
Manager Anthony Choat had hoped to fully capitalise on the back-to-back opportunity to play the teams languishing at the bottom of the league, in matches he had dubbed ‘crucial’ to the club’s survival hopes as he targeted six points.
But the Haverhill club were only able to take three points as they lost to a Wivenhoe side that had only managed two wins from their 31 outings so far. It was the Essex side’s first win in four months and they did it despite Aaron Donaldson being shown red for the home side to finish with 10 men.
Borough have now played one more game than Hadleigh United, who currently lie in 21st — in a position that will be relegated at the end of the season, and could quickly see the gap between these two sides, locked in a fight for survival, narrow to three points.
Wivenhoe went a goal up in the first half, Tim Dennis heading into the net, with Borough pushing but failing to convert a number of chances.
The second half was played in high on-field tension, reportedly leading to punches being thrown — and a red card shown to Donaldson — before Wivenhoe doubled their lead.
Garry Burdett scored with a cross-cum-shot that looped over the Haverhill ‘keeper Ed Greenhall.
Borough, as is so often the case, then began an energised fight back as they had multiple shots on goal, with only the inspired performance of the Wivenhoe goalkeeper keeping them out.
Eventually, it was defender Cameron Watson who beat the defence to poke the ball in to give the visitors hope of salvaging at least a point.
But, despite sustained pressure for the remainder of the game, Borough were unable to find an equaliser as they fell to their 21st loss of the season.
The fixture list does not get any easier for Choat’s men, as they line up against Stowmarket at home on Saturday (3pm).
A match report and reaction in next week’s Haverhill Echo.