‘Naive’ Haverhill Rovers exit Emirates FA Cup after heavy 6-1 home defeat to Colney Heath
Haverhill Rovers were unceremoniously dumped from the FA Cup at the first stage on Saturday, in a performance boss Fergus O’Callaghan described as ‘naive’.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division club were ‘disappointed’ to exit the competition at the extra preliminary round on Saturday after falling to a heavy 6-1 loss at home to Colney Heath in blustery conditions.
Rovers had hoped to follow up on their opening win in the league over Godmanchester Rovers last Tuesday night, but the young side were instead the recipients of a ‘harsh lesson’.
Having kept the score at 0-0 for 35 minutes, they conceded two goals in five minutes ahead of the break. Four further goals came in the second half on an afternoon the home team were forced deep and had few chances.
O’Callaghan said: “I spoke to them at half-time as I believe they conceded two sloppy goals. And then we wanted to get back into the second half early, but we were a little bit naive really.
“I think we’ve learned a harsh lesson today in relation to structure on the pitch and staying in the game – game management.
“So my reaction is one of disappointment; I know we are better than that. We didn’t hit our levels today, and that’s that for this year’s FA Cup.”
He said the young side struggled to cope with the physicality of a much more experienced Step 5 team.
“They’ve come here and they’ve bullied us, they were very physical,” he added. “That’s fine, that’s football for me, I’m not complaining about the way they played, but we didn’t manage that and a couple of us let our heads go down and we didn’t react to that in the way we should.
“Football owes you nothing, so if you don’t work hard enough, then you definitely won’t get anything back from it. At the end of the day, they worked hard enough and they won.
“It is disappointing for everyone involved but that’s the lesson: if you don’t work hard enough, you won’t get what you deserve.”
There were positives from the game, particularly in the hard work of his new captain Alfie Carroll and loanee keeper Toby Egan (Ipswich Town U23).
“We’ve got a core who know what it means to play at a certain level here but just too many of us didn’t get to where they can,” he said. “Self-reflection is what I expect really.
“They are a young side and they have to learn somehow, it’s just unfortunate it was today, as the FA Cup is not the best time to be doing that.
“No one wants to finish an FA Cup round with that score to their name.
“We just seemed to lose our way today, but, as I said to the boys, we’ve all learned a lot.
“The main thing is that I now expect a reaction.”
* Haverhill Rovers FC have agreed a two-year naming rights deal with Culina Group Limited.
The Haverhill Community Sports Association (HCSA) will be now known as The Culina Hub, The New Croft.
The value of the deal is substantial and will go into improvements across The Culina Hub facility and the football club.