An under-strength Haverhill Rovers proved no match for a strong Stanway Rovers side who won their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division match 6-0 last night (Tuesday).
Rovers were without top-scorer Danny Hill (work), defender Ryan Geoghegan (work), midfielders Ollie Stevenson (working abroad for four months), Ben Bradley (family bereavement) and Jonny Milne (injured) and utility player Mitch Burr (injured), all regular members of the first team squad.
It was their heaviest league defeat since a 6-0 reverse at Godmanchester Rovers on March 2.
Teenager Tom Newman and recent recruit from Linton Granta, former Haverhill Borough and West Wratting player Gavin Tickner (formerly Taylor), both received full debuts, while Rhys Shulver made his first start of the season.
Rovers fell behind on just eight minutes to a Joss Neale header from a corner but the wheels really fell off after the interval, when Tanner Call (2), Joe Heron, Charlie Lindoe and Jamie Shaw all got on the scoresheet for the home team, who sit second in the table.
It was only Rovers second away defeat in the league this season.
More bad news has befallen Rovers after the league ordered them to replay their match at Wivenhoe Town, which the visitors originally won 2-1 on October 29.
Rovers have been found by the league to have fielded an ineligible player in the match and must now replay it on March 8, although the club is appealing the decision.
In the Thurlow Nunn First Division Haverhill Borough moved level on points with third-placed Holland FC, but behind them on goal difference, after drawing 1-1 at AFC Sudbury Reserves.
The hosts went ahead through Ollie Peters on 28 minutes but shortly before the break Jarid Robson’s shot was deflected past ‘keeper Louie Johnson, back after eight months out, for the equaliser.
Borough can moved into third on Saturday if they win at Braintree Town Reserves (3pm) and Holland FC fail to win at Wisbech St Mary.
Rovers will look to bounce back on Saturday when they face second-bottom Swaffham Town at home (3pm).
Hill, Geoghegan, Bradley, Milne and Burr are all expected to return to Rovers squad.