THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Haverhill Rovers 1
Fakenham Town 2
It was a bitterly cold day at the New Croft and another bitter defeat for the Rovers in their first match of the new year.
Before kick-off you could have excused a few people for saying it would be an easier game than the last few, with Fakenham sitting in 22nd place in the league.
The opening 15 minutes of the game saw the home team in the driving seat, with Rovers controlling the game and looking comfortable, which ultimately became their downfall.
They fell behind in the 20th minute with goalkeeper Charlie Turner being the victim of an unfortunate bounce on a rolling ball, leaving striker Karl Plumb with a simple finish.
Rovers’ dominance was still implicit despite the goal, as they opened up Fakenham’s defence with a couple of late chances in the first half.
Rafal Wozniak saw his glancing header tipped over the crossbar while soon after, a bouncing cross from the left, which was difficult to control, saw the same player shoot just wide.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half forced the hand of manager Marc Abbott to try to mix it up by going two up top to seize the initiative and attempt to fight Haverhill’s way back into the game.
The new formation brought out the best of the ever persistent Mitchell Burr and substitute Rory Jebb.
The latter provided a superbly chipped cross on the right wing which sat up perfectly for fellow substitute Jordan Palmer, who found the far corner of the net to bring Rovers back on terms with 20 minutes to play.
The celebrations for the home team were short-lived though, as nine minutes later a misplaced pass and a missed interception led to a quick breakaway for the visitors, with their substitute Ricky Claxton getting one-on-one with Turner and calmly side-footing into the bottom corner with a defender nowhere to be seen.
There were a few hairy moments for the visitors in the last 10 minutes as the home side launched ball after ball into the box with the defence coming out on top.
A last-gasp attempt from Jemel Fox saw the ball flash past the goalmouth with Palmer waiting at the back post. He would have had a brace had it not been for the Fakenham full-back just getting a toe to the ball to take it away from him.
Composure was the difference at both ends of the pitch, with Rovers’ defence making a series of mistakes to let Fakenham take all three points, even though Rovers were the dominant side for the majority of the game.
With no wins in their last six games and just one clean sheet in the last 12, the home team need to shore up their defence if they are to turn their current bad run of form around.
Speaking to manager Marc Abbott post match, he was disappointed with his team’s lack of focus at key moments, saying ‘conceding that many poor goals without the opposition working for that opportunity or opening, you aren’t going to win games’.
Next up for Rovers is a trip to bottom-placed Wivenhoe Town on Saturday (3pm).
Haverhill Rovers: Turner, Carroll (Shulver, 83), Fox, Sartini, Milne, Holmes, Abbott, Haines, Healey (Jebb, 58), Wozniak (Palmer, 58), Burr. Subs not used – Camfield, Micklewright. Attendance: 87
Echo Man of The Match: Jordan Palmer