Mildenhall Town build on weekend's FA Cup heroics with league victory over Haverhill Rovers
Mildenhall Town avoided the dreaded 'after the Lord Mayor's show' curse during tonight's 3-1 home victory at the expense of Haverhill Rovers.
Just a little more than 72 hours earlier, Ricky Cornish's side had upset the odds to knock Royston Town – a side who ply their trade two levels higher – out of the Emirates FA Cup.
But while those weekend exploits did leave the home side looking a little leggy at times in the second period, they had enough in reserve to pick up all three points back under the Recreation Way lights on Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division duty.
Chances were at a premium early on as neither goalkeeper was forced into any telling action. Mildenhall's Tanner Call went closest to snapping the game into life in the ninth minute, drilling a shot from the edge of the box a couple of yards off target.
However, the deadlock was eventually broken in the 27th minute. Call's shot was turned behind by Rovers goalkeeper Dan Kimber for a corner, which Darryl Coakley whipped in. Dan Brown duly scampered to the near post to meet the ball, which he managed to glance across the face of goal and into the far corner.
It could have been 2-0 four minutes later when Matt Green's deep cross from the left picked out Sam Markwick, but the youngster – making his first start for Mildenhall – was always stretching and could only divert his half volley over the crossbar.
Green then had the chance to score himself with 34 minutes on the clock as he rose highest to meet Coakley's free kick, only for his downward header to bounce harmlessly wide.
Yet, within four minutes of the restart the second goal arrived. Green was again involved, crossing from deep on the right for Call, who was given the time and space to guide his header into the net from close range.
Haverhill – with one win from their seven outings going into the game – had enjoyed some decent spells in possession up to this point, but they rarely looked particularly threatening in the final third.
That changed though in the 73rd minute when they halved the deficit. Mildenhall failed to clear a corner and the ball crept over the line following a scramble, with Rovers' Efraim Romanos credited as having got the final touch.
Mildenhall really started to tire at this juncture, but with the centre-back pairing of Casey Phillips and Luke Butcher defending well, the majority of the attacks Haverhill looked to mount were kept at bay.
And with four minutes remaining the victory was sealed courtesy of the lively Ben Nolan, who made an intelligent run from outside to in, allowing him to meet substitute Charlie Hitch's inswinging right-wing cross with a powerful header that nestled in the bottom corner.
The victory has moved Mildenhall up to fourth place ahead of Saturday's trip to league-leading Wroxham, while on the same day Rovers (17th) will play host to Fakenham Town (both 3pm).
Mildenhall: Pope, Yallop (Hitch 69'), Phillips, Butcher, Coakley, Chaplin, Green, Markwick (Manels 79'), Nolan (Laker 90'), Brown, Call
Haverhill: Kimber, Davies, Oteng, Abbott (Weaver 72'), Carroll, O'Hara, Romanos, Williams, Lee, Stoker, Hussein
Suffolk News Man of the Match – Ben Nolan (Mildenhall): The winger has been a thorn in Haverhill's side before, having scored a hat-trick against them a couple of seasons back. Just the one goal on this occasion, but it was a crucial one that wrapped up the points. He had a good battle with Rovers' left-back Reiss Oteng, and was a lively presence throughout.