Haverhill Rovers take victory over Haverhill Borough

WELL-HANDLED: Rovers' Charlie Turner was a safe pair of hands for the home team (Picture: Mark Westley)
WELL-HANDLED: Rovers' Charlie Turner was a safe pair of hands for the home team (Picture: Mark Westley)

It was Rovers who collected the spoils from the local derby last night, as they beat Borough 1-0 on home soil.

It was the first of two football derbies from the town this season, with the return leg rescheduled for Friday, December 29 following an abandonment.

And it didn't disappoint for the 415 spectators in attendance, as a highly tense encounter saw a red card, a debut and 36 fouls.

It was also new player-manager Marc Abbott's first game in charge of Rovers, after taking over from Ben Cowling last week.

Both goalkeepers made fine saves in a meeting which saw Rovers dominate the possession, but not the game.

It was a match of few clear-cut chances, as neither team were prepared to risk leaving themselves vulnerable at the back.

CLATTERING EXCHANGES: The opening 10 minutes revealed the tension of the players - leading to a red card for Ryan Weaver

CLATTERING EXCHANGES: The opening 10 minutes revealed the tension of the players - leading to a red card for Ryan Weaver

Rovers' Jonathan Milne proved the only one able to convert in the 49th minute - from a fluid passage of play down the left.

The goal came after Ryan Weaver was shown his second yellow in the 36th minute to reduce the visitors to 10 men for the majority of the game - and this had a direct impact on Borough's attacking opportunities.

His first caution came after just two minutes, as both teams struggled to control their aggression in the opening exchanges. Rovers' Luke Haines was also cautioned early on.

Borough spent a lot of the game on the back foot, although a great save in the 61st minute denied Lee Hurkett from a free kick in a game that could, ultimately, have gone either way.

At times the match appeared to be less about football than the bragging rights but there were still moments - as 16-year-old Ben Tait made his senior football debut from the bench for the home side.

The teams will go into December's match with a best-of-three scenario. Borough won the first meeting last year 1-0 and Rovers have won the second 1-0.

For reaction, including stats from the game and interviews with both managers, pick up a copy of next week's Haverhill Echo.