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Humiliating result for Haverhill Borough in league defeat

Haverhill Borough manager Guy Habbin admits Saturday’s 7-0 home drubbing at the hands of Fakenham Town was ‘humiliating’, accepting ‘no excuses’ for a poor performance.

The Thurlow Nunn League First Division North side played host to the side then two spots below them in the league standings, but a red card midway through the second half led to their divisional rivals running rampant with five goals in 25 minutes to climb above them in the table.

It leaves Borough without a win from all five outings in September, exiting three cups while also shipping 10 league goals without reply, with victory last coming away to Halstead Town in the FA Vase on August 31.

Haverhill Borough v Fakenham - Martin Hammond and Guy Habbin.Pic - Richard Marsham. (17919165)
Haverhill Borough v Fakenham - Martin Hammond and Guy Habbin.Pic - Richard Marsham. (17919165)

But signs had been hopeful of better fortunes as they took Ely City all the way to a high-scoring penalty shootout last Tuesday night in one of the cups, to see the Step 6 team go into Saturday’s visit from Fakenham in high spirits.

Habbin said: “It’s humiliating, we came into the game on the back of the Ely game, where we played really well and were unlucky to fall short.

“I was speaking to the players and looking at why the mentality was different and what the difference was between the two games.

Haverhill Borough v Fakenham - Ryan Phillips.Pic - Richard Marsham. (17919156)
Haverhill Borough v Fakenham - Ryan Phillips.Pic - Richard Marsham. (17919156)

“We were disappointed last Saturday against Henley and went out (of the Suffolk Senior Cup), we played well on Tuesday night under the lights and then we go into this one and produce the same kind of performance as the Henley game.

“The players are no mugs, they’ve beaten several of the good sides already so they can certainly play, but we make no excuses for this result, it’s just not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.”

Borough will travel to AFC Sudbury Reserves on Saturday (3pm) looking to repeat their 2-1 opening day league win in the reverse fixture.

Habbin said: “I think the players will be down after our bad run but, when you look at the fixtures we have played recently – and lost – we have faced Mulbarton, Ely and, OK, Henley in the middle is one we would expect to do well in but, sandwiched between two tough fixtures, was not that easy.

“As much as today will hurt, it’s still early early doors for a young and new team and we’re still growing.

“We have players to come back in too and that should have a big impact – although obviously Morgan (Cogman-Wright) will be missing with that red card.

“We had no Dan Gleeson who’s away, no Jordan Cowdrey and other players that meant we had no fresh legs to bring in at the back.

“And that won’t be the case this Saturday. It was a disappointing day for us, but we put that aside, train hard this week and we will look forward to the Sudbury game and trying to get a positive result from there.”

Borough quickly found themselves on the back foot in the Fakenham encounter, with the first goal in the 14th minute.

Borough struggled for accuracy and rhythm with few clear chances emerging, with their task made harder by conceding a penalty just before half-time. The spot kick also saw Alex Martin sent to the sin bin.

A red card for Wright in the 65th minute – shown for a last-man tackle on the right side of the pitch – then ended any chances of a comeback. Borough conceded three quickfire goals with a third in the 69th minute, a fourth in the 70th minute and a fifth in the 73rd minute.

Despite tightening up, Borough were hit by a sixth in the 82nd minute and then a seventh goal a minute into added time.

Habbin said that, while the red card was a significant factor in the number of goals conceded, the defeat was as much a result of losing focus.

He said: “We had to play a lot of the game with 10 men, with a red card and a man sent off for dissent, and that’s always going to be hard.

“Some of the goals were individual mistakes, but they’re happening too often to us right now. It’s important we identify those problems and deal with the criticism to rectify them and take them out of our game.

“For the first 15 minutes, I thought we played well, passes found feet and it was all going nicely, it was a game we were in, I thought we were going to be competitive in it.

“But the first goal went in and it all changed. So I look at that and think ‘we need to be stronger psychologically’ and that’s where I need the senior players to step up and lead.”

Borough are also due to travel to Halstead Town on Tuesday night (7.45pm) for the second round of the First Division Knockout Cup.

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