Haverhill Rovers suffer hefty home loss to Stanway Rovers
Haverhill Rovers were on the receiving end of a heavy defeat on Tuesday night as they were put to the sword 4-0 at home by Stanway Rovers, writes Owen Mizon.
From start to finish, the visitors were in cruise control with a strong blend of flair and creativity, while a resolute rearguard ensured there was no way through for the hosts.
The damage was all but done by half-time, as Stanway Rovers capitalised on corners with well-taken goals from Craig Hughes and Daniel Gilchrist.
Further damage was inflicted in the second period via Alejandro Barber and a Hughes penalty, with Rhys Shulver sent off in the process, to wrap up an emphatic win.
The result consigned Haverhill Rovers to consecutive 4-0 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division defeats, having disappointingly fell by that scoreline away at Whitton United on Saturday. Altogether, they’ve now shipped 18 goals in six league games.
It has been a source of great frustration for player-manager Marc Abbott, whose side has been plagued with a plethora of injuries to key players of late.
Despite acknowledging that it’s a gruelling schedule, he’s determined his team will only improve as the season progresses.
He said: “We can’t defend as a team. However, I have to give credit to some of the players. You’ve got people playing out of position, especially in the backline where Rory Jebb, a centre-forward, has had to operate in defence.
“Make no mistake, we’re not happy with the performance. But also, we really are stretched at the minute.
“However, there’s still been some positive performances. Ben Bradley once again showed what he’s about, but there aren’t many players who have backed that up to be honest.”
Stanway applied heaps of pressure from the get-go, carving out three early corners which were dealt with well by defensive pairing Jebb and Reiss Oteng.
Haverhill goalkeeper James Philp was forced into a superb save from close rage in the 12th minute, keeping out a Barber attempt that had venom on it.
The resulting corner proved decisive as Hughes capitalised on a dipping ball into the far corner, turning his shot beyond a stranded Philp.
The tricky Gilchrist was causing havoc in the early stages, constantly finding himself in acres of space down the right side of the pitch as he looked to engineer Stanway to their first win of the season.
He increased the advantage on the half hour mark, when his attempt from outside of the box was expertly drilled into the far corner.
Ben Bradley and Callum Anderson attempted an immediate reply for the hosts with some pleasing passages of play, but Stanway’s defence were proving a tough nut to crack.
A big ask became a mammoth task for Abbott’s side in the 47th minute when an ambitious Barber strike from 30 yards proved worthwhile as it rocketed into the far left corner.
The referee had no choice but to send off full-back Rhys Shulver seven minutes later after he denied a certain goal with his hand. The resulting penalty was converted by captain Hughes, earning his brace and wrapping up a comprehensive away win at a fog-stricken New Croft.
Rovers: Philp, Shulver, Oteng, Jebb, Olive (Burns 55’), Toyer (Hudson 64’), Anderson (Scarlett 79’), Abbott, Haines, Bradley, Stoker. Subs not used: Bell. Attendance: 126.