Opening displays delight Haverhill Rovers’ boss

FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers v Kirkley & Pakefield''Pictured: Luke Haines ANL-160205-152008009
FOOTBALL - Haverhill Rovers v Kirkley & Pakefield''Pictured: Luke Haines ANL-160205-152008009

After two tough matches to start their season, Haverhill Rovers need to come back from their next two games with more points in the bag.

That is the aim emphasised by Rovers’ manager, Ben Cowling, as the red side of Haverhill prepares for Saturday’s trip to Gorleston (3pm) and Tuesday’s visit to Hadleigh United (7.45pm), both in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

“We need to go and get points out of them. It’s as simple as that,” said Cowling.

“The next two games are against sides that are not going to be very high up the table, which presents a different challenge, and playing away represents another kind of challenge.”

Cowling has seen his side perform well against two strong sides in the first week of the season.

Having inflicted a first league defeat in ten months on Stanway Rovers (3-1), Haverhill went on to lose 2-1 at home to Hertford Town on Saturday in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, a match settled by a contentious late penalty awarded for a handball by Ryan Geoghegan.

The decision left Cowling to ruefully reflect: “It’s a disappointing call, but sometimes they are given and sometimes they are not.”

As disappointed as he was to go out of the nation’s biggest cup competition at the first hurdle, Cowling has been pleased with Rovers’ level of performance so far against sides that not only have ambitions to win their respective leagues, but also the capability.

He said: “We have played two very good teams in the opening week and scored four goals, all from open play.

“Our work rate, our application, the way we’ve set up and the shape and structure of the team has been really good.

“We need to get used to playing with each other, certainly with the offensive abilities we have and make the most of them, but with players like Danny Hill, Ryan Weaver, Ben Bradley and Rory Jebb we’ve got goals in the team.

“To come away with four goals against those two teams is really good.”

Cowling has also been pleased with the attendances for the opening two home games, with 232 watching Stanway and a New Croft record of 257 for the Hertford tie.

He said: “Twelve of the 13 people involved on Saturday were all from the town or nearby, which is fantastic and hopefully people are responding to that.”

For the trip to Gorleston, midfielder Luke Haines, described by Cowling as one of his best players in pre-season, serves the final match of a three game ban and Marcus Hunt is also unavailable, but the squad is otherwise free of injury and suspension.

Both Hunt and Haines should be available for the trip to Hadleigh United.

•In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, Haverhill Borough are away to Debenham LC on Saturday (3pm).