Haverhill Rovers manager adds a number of new faces following memorable comeback victory
The last few days have certainly been eventful for Haverhill Rovers player-manager Marc Abbott.
On Friday he saw his side retrieve a seemingly hopeless situation to advance in the Buildbase FA Vase, while also bolstering his injury-ravaged squad with six additions.
Four of those signings – Steven Smith (Cambridge City), Tommy Rigby (Cambridge City), Joe Osborn (Saffron Walden Town) and the returning Ryan Geoghegan – were part of the squad that headed to West Essex late last week, where they found themselves 3-1 down against 10 men with less than 20 minutes to play.
However, three goals, via Alfie Carroll, Reiss Oteng and Ben Bradley, within the space of four minutes turned the tie on its head and sent Rovers through to a first round proper tie at Wellingborough Town on October 31.
“It was a very eventful game,” said Abbott, who has also recruited defender Adrian O’Hara from his former club St Neots Town and sealed the return of Ryan Weaver from First Division North side Lakenheath.
“West Essex are a very good side. Going forward, they are one of the best I’ve seen at our level.
“Some people will look at it and see we’ve conceded three goals again, but they’ve got some real quality players. And we’ve managed to outscore them – that is reward for some of the tough weeks we’ve had.
“Even at 3-1 it felt like it wasn’t over. The lads have shown some great character.
“We would love to start doing it the easy way but we are pleased to still be in the competition – it doesn’t matter how we’ve done it.”
The three shipped against West Essex has taken Rovers’ goals against tally for the season to 32 in just 11 outings in all competitions.
But with the new faces on board and key players also returning to fitness, Abbott is confident his team will soon become a tougher nut to crack.
“We’ve spoken as a group about being harder to beat,” he added.
“It’s not like we are setting up to just got out there to try to outscore teams.
“Some of the goals we’ve been conceding have been preventable, but I am sure we’ll get there.
“The players we have got in, some of them can really defend, and crucially we are getting our key players back from injury.”
Next up for Rovers are Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division encounters at home against Swaffham Town on Saturday (3pm), followed by the short trip to neighbouring Newmarket Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Haverhill head into those fixtures having won just one of their opening seven league games in 2020/21, so Abbott is looking to build up some momentum over the coming week.
“We’ll plan for both of those games accordingly,” he said.
“Swaffham is going to be very tough. They’re a hard working team and we have struggled against those sides down the years.
“We know about Newmarket and have had plenty of good games with them down the years as well.
“We’ve wanted to have good runs in the cup competitions this season and we’ve done that, but hopefully we can start building some momentum in the league as well.
“We should have a decent-sized squad for both games and that is not something we’ve had recently.”