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Haverhill Rovers manager Marc Benterman on their injury-time equaliser against Long Melford and the story behind a lucky rucksack





Marc Benterman is hoping a stoppage-time equaliser along with a lucky rucksack can help to kick-start Haverhill Rovers in their bid to avoid relegation this season.

Nathan Scarborough’s 96th-minute strike rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Long Melford on Saturday, a result which put an end to a run of nine straight defeats in all competitions.

The gap to safety still stands at 12 points for Benterman’s side, who are also three points adrift at the bottom of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, but the Rovers boss believes their luck could now be turning.

Haverhill Rovers celebrate Saturday’s added-time equaliser against Long Melford Picture: Mecha Morton
Haverhill Rovers celebrate Saturday’s added-time equaliser against Long Melford Picture: Mecha Morton

“I’ve said before how we were unfortunate against Lakenheath, and against Long Melford away, and against Ipswich Wanderers, it’s always the same conversation about how unlucky we’ve been,” Benterman said.

“My brother’s a show jumper and he sent me a lucky horse shoe. My son gave me his lucky pair of pants and my daughter gave me her lucky string, and this is no exaggeration.

“Anyone that was there on Saturday would have seen this rucksack on the bench. Someone said to me: ‘why did you carry a rucksack?’

“It had inside it a lucky horse shoe, a pair of lucky pants and a lucky string from my daughter.

“I wore my wedding watch that I haven’t worn for 15 years. I wore a necklace that my nan gave me. I tried everything I possibly could on Saturday.

“The ball got stuck under Scarborough’s foot and I thought ‘this ain’t going to go in,’ but he dug it out and it found a way in.

“We had 11 boys running towards the bench and it shows you how much it means to everybody.

“I’m hoping now that’s a turning point and I’m hoping I can still carry that rucksack on the bench with me on Saturday.

“It’s a heavy rucksack. It’s got every lucky item in it! We’ve been knocking on that door and it’s only a point, but it’s a point that could really kick-start our season.”

Haverhill Rovers wheel away in celebration after Nathan Scarborough's injury-time goal Picture: Mecha Morton
Haverhill Rovers wheel away in celebration after Nathan Scarborough's injury-time goal Picture: Mecha Morton

After a goalless first half on Saturday, Melford took the lead through Josh Collins on 51 minutes, as the home side’s losing streak threatened to extend into double figures.

But in the sixth minute of added time, substitute Scarborough swept home from a scramble in the box to clinch Rovers a first point of 2023.

“We could have won it,” Benterman said. “We created a lot of chances. We’ve gone round the goalkeeper a couple of times, missed a chance from six yards out, and then we find an equaliser in the 96th minute.

“They deserved it. The boys dug in deep. Full credit to Long Melford, I thought they were a really hard-working side.

“I think if we can emulate them this season and next season then we’ll be a very successful side.

“I’m delighted for the group. To hear the roar in the 96th minute was a tremendous feeling.

“I’d like to dedicate that point, and it’s only a point, to the fans. They know how hard we’re working and hopefully we can start getting the rewards now.”

Recent signing Lewis Soraf in action for Haverhill Rovers Picture: Mecha Morton
Recent signing Lewis Soraf in action for Haverhill Rovers Picture: Mecha Morton

Rovers visit 11th-placed Mulbarton Wanderers on Saturday (3pm).

Haverhill Rovers Vets are into the Best Badges Ltd Suffolk Veterans’ Cup quarter-finals after a 6-1 win at home to Bury Town Reserves Vets on Sunday. Greg Strong (three), Charlie Hughes, Neil Cogger and Terry Eley were all on target for Rovers in the third-round tie.