MATCH REPORT: Haverhill Rovers 0 Mildenhall Town 1
Substitute Michael Harvey’s 68th minute strike knocked Haverhill Rovers out of the FA Cup on Mildenhall Town boss Dean Greygoose’s first return to The New Croft.
Almost a year to the day he was sacked by Rovers, Greygoose was left celebrating masterminding a cup victory over his former employers in an entertaining game.
It was only the second time in the past six seasons that Haverhill have not managed to get past the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.
Following Tuesday night’s 6-1 thrashing at Stanway Rovers, a game which had seen them play with 10 men from the 34th minute after Ricky Spriggs was sent off, Michael Shinn gave 18-year-old striker Rory Jebb his first senior start.
In a breathless end-to-end first half, Mildenhall’s Luke Butcher headed an early free-kick wide while Rovers’ calls for a penalty after Tyrone Alleyne had skipped collided with Luke Parkinson were waved away b the referee.
Youngster Alleyne had a good chance to put his side ahead in the 10th minute but put a low shot wide of the far post after Owen Longeley’s shot had been cleared into his path by Mark Shadrack.
At the other end, a hanging cross from Hall skipper David Cooper was headed back across goal by Luke Parkinson, but with no-one able to get on the end of it.
In the 21st minute teenager Jebb somehow steered the rebound to a good save by Josh Pope from Shinn’s goalbound free-kick over the bar from a few yards out. It came after Ryan Weaver, chasing his own flick on from a goal-kick had been knocked down on the edge of the area by Shadrack, who was shown a yellow card, despite the striker’s protestations for a harsher punishment.
A quick counter-attack resulted in former Southend United and Bury Town midfielder Callum Kearns putting wide of the far post.
A few minutes later Luke Catchpole also steered just wide after pouncing on a mistake by Marcus Hunt as the visitors look to get their noses in front.
Haverhill’s young left-back Will Gardner had struggled to deal with the pace of winger Kelvin Enaro, but made a crucial headed interception in the area after Cooper put in a dangerous cross.
Another Rovers counter-attack saw Shinn set Weavers off and with Pope rushing out of his area, the striker just lifted it over him with and it looked destined to give his side the lead, until a last-minute stunning lunge off the line by Shadrack.
Livewire Enaro almost gave his side the lead at the end of a pulsating but goalless first-half as only the legs of keeper Archer denied him after he ghosted past Farrant and Blake Kicks.
Five minutes after the re-start, Rovers did finally have the ball in the back of the net after it was bundled home from their third straight corner, but the referee had already blown up for foul on keeper Pope.
Jebb had a weak shot from range which was easily held by the Hall number one, while at the other end Matt Hayden’s growing frustration saw him try to curl one in from out on the left wing which went harmlessly wide.
Alleyne saw his dangerous header hacked out by visiting centre-half Butcher as Rovers went close.
Enaro was still proving too much to handle and his flashing cross just before the hour mark was volleyed over at the far post.
Gardner curled just over for Rovers from the edge of the area with his weaker right foot following his own corner, which had seen his first shot blocked.
But the decisive moment came 22 minutes from time when substitute Harvey, who had only on the field less than three minutes, took up Catchpole’s pass on the left edge of the area, after the striker had spun past Hunt, and put it beyond the onrushing Archer, with a desperate lunge by Gardner seeing him get the final touch.
Weavers tried to get Rovers back on level terms but took his shot too early after dispossessing Joe Asensi, sending a low shot past the far post.
In the 79th minute Hunt knocked on Shinn’s free-kick to Martyn Farrant at the far post but he could not direct it back at goal.
Efforts from Simpson, who curled wide, and Catchpole almost saw Mildenhall sew up the tie before a late rally from the hosts which failed to produce a clear-cut chance.
With Haverhill pushing on, they almost got caught out just before the final whistle as Catchpole danced in from the wing and fed Simpson whose shot was palmed out by Archer.
Hall held the ball up in the corner flag before celebrating their progression into the preliminary round, which will see them host Ryman League Dvision One North side Soham Town Rangers, as well as the club pocketing the £1,500 in prize money.
Haverhill: Archer, Kicks, Gardner (Spriggs 81), Shinn, Farrant, Hunt, Weaver, Baker, Jebb, Alleyne, Longley (Sigley 76). Unused subs: Sigler, Wilderspin, Moody, Swallow, Holmes, Newnes.
* For manager reaction, see Thursday’s Haverhill Echo.