Gibbs at the double as Rovers end wait for win in the league
Just as he was not overly despondent by his side’s form since taking charge, manager James Bloomfield has no intention of getting too carried away by Haverhill Rovers’ impressive 2-1 win at Mildenhall Town on Tuesday evening.
It has been a baptism of fire for recently-appointed Bloomfield, whose first five games at the helm included a Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup clash with Step 3 outfit Needham Market, as well as tough trips to top six teams Newmarket Town and Woodbridge Town.
The new boss had picked up just one win during that time, yet positivity remained. And they were rewarded with the victory at Mildenhall, which came courtesy of a goal in either half from Ryan Gibbs after Rovers goalkeeper James Young had earlier put through his own net.
Bloomfield was proud of his young players and has now challenged them to build upon the confidence it has generated.
“Mildenhall are a good side and they will climb up the league, but it is just a bit of a rebuilding job for Ricky (Cornish, manager). They are an experienced, good side and while we are also a good side, we are largely inexperienced,” he said.
“But you have to find leaders in key moments and we started to find them out there tonight. I am very proud of them.
“We sat down with every player we recruited in the summer to ensure that we do have the characters in the dressing room because we were quite aware it is not going to be easy ride with a young side.
“We believe that having a side like this will allow us to climb the league in the long term. We do not have the budget to buy who we want so we have to create footballers.
“The biggest thing for us is to not get too carried away. I know there has been a few losses on the bounce but I am not too interested in that record because the teams we have lost against, they are top teams like Newmarket away, Woodbridge away and Needham Market at home.
“We have had some good results this season like beating Godmanchester Rovers 6-2 and then we lost the next one, so we have to keep our feet on the ground.
“Now we need to build on this win. I want them to take a bit of an ego hit from it – there is nothing wrong with that – and hopefully they lift themselves confidence-wise, but we need to keep working hard as well.”
The hosts, who won the reverse fixture 4-1 back in early September, broke the deadlock during a lacklustre first half in the 31st minute.
Joe Asensi’s in-swinging corner from the right drifted towards Young at the near post, but with a crowd of bodies in front of him, his intended punched clearance ended up in the back of the net.
Without a win from any of their previous six league games, Rovers could have wilted at this point, but to their credit they rallied and got themselves level in the 43rd minute through Gibbs’ composed finish.
And the forward was on target again 10 minutes after the restart, this time looping a header over home goalkeeper Jake Hayhoe.
As the half wore on Gibbs, Ben Tait and substitute Tomasz Siemienczuk all spurned chances to make the game safe, while up the other end Young made smart saves to thwart Jack Brame and Matt Green.
Haverhill: Young, Mills, Fox, Berkane, Carroll, Porter, Smalls (Dinnell 87'), Michaels, Tait (Siemienczuk 71'), Gibbs (Palmer 90=4'), Hall
Echo Man of the Match –Alfie Carroll: It was tough to not give this to Gibbs considering his two goals, but Carroll was a real leader for Rovers. Mildenhall sent in a number of crosses over the 90 minutes, many of which were cleared by the skipper.
* Haverhill (12th) travel to Thetford Town (16th) on Saturday (3pm) – a side they recently beat in the League Challenge Cup.