THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Haverhill Borough 0
Stowmarket Town 6
A testing week in Haverhill Borough’s bid for survival ended with a heavy home defeat to promotion-chasing Stowmarket Town on Saturday.
Borough had won seven and drawn two of their previous nine league fixtures against their visitors to the New Croft 3G at the weekend, and Stow were also the opponents in their memorable First Division Knockout Cup final triumph two years ago.
But any hope Anthony Choat’s hard-working side had of extending their run of success over their Suffolk rivals was extinguished by half-time, as Stow, who had not lost away from home in the league since mid-September, ran in four goals during the first half.
The visitors opened the scoring on nine minutes when Dave Cowley’s free kick found Amar Lewis in space in the Borough box, and the Bermudan’s low drive across goal was diverted in by the hosts.
Borough captain Jarid Robson then saw an effort from long range fly past the target, before Stow tightened their grip on the contest with two goals in four first-half minutes.
The first of those, arguably the pick of the goals, saw Cowley bring down a cross-field ball and with his second touch send Josh Mayhew racing towards the Borough box.
The Premier Division’s leading goalscorer controlled it with his first touch and then with his second lobbed the ball over Ed Greenall, in the Borough goal, to make it 2-0, before doubling his tally on the half-hour mark with his 42nd goal of the campaign.
The hosts were finding openings in the Stow defence hard to find, but Robson tested Craig Brand in the 38th minute, with another shot from distance this time drawing a save from the visiting goalkeeper.
At the other end, Greenall made a fine save to deny Mayhew from completing a first-half hat trick, before the striker turned provider for Ace Howell to put Stow 4-0 up at the break.
Borough were forced into a reshuffle at half time, as Lee Hurkett replaced the injured Casey Phillips in defence, but it was not long before the home side’s backline was breached again.
Lewis made it 5-0 on 52 minutes, before adding his second, and Stow’s sixth, 10 minutes from time to finish the scoring.
The defeat brought to a close a tough week for Choat’s men, who went into it buoyed by their first win of 2018 the previous weekend, but ended it with their gap over the relegation zone cut from six points to zero.
Trips to the top two lie ahead for Borough before the end of the season, but belief in the camp should still be intact that there are enough points to be won to avoid relegation in May.
Haverhill Borough: Greenall, Hardwick (Botten 52), Lenk, Bailey (Salmons 64), Watson, C Phillips (Hurkett 46), Conway, Robson (c), Holmes, Swallow, R Phillips. Subs not used: Longley, Weaver. Booked: Robson. Referee: D Knox. Echo man of the match: R Phillips.