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Haverhill Rovers pull off FA Cup upset against Wisbech Town




Haverhill Rovers put in a great performance to knock higher-league opposition Wisbech Town out of the Emirates FA Cup in a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at The New Croft on Saturday.

At times it was difficult to see who was the Step 4 Northern Premier League team and who ply their trade in the Thurlow Nunn League as the home side caused their higher-league opponents problems all afternoon in the preliminary round tie.

Although the Fenmen enjoyed the majority of possession, Haverhill were more organised, gelled better as a unit and thoroughly deserved the win. Twice pegged back after taking the lead, the home side never lost faith and were still on top at the final whistle.

Haverhill Rovers players celebrate Ben Bradley's first goal against Wisbech to put them 2-1 aheadPicture: Wisbech Town
Haverhill Rovers players celebrate Ben Bradley's first goal against Wisbech to put them 2-1 aheadPicture: Wisbech Town

They took the lead after 11 minutes when Dan Toyer – making his debut having joined on Thursday evening – found himself in space and fired home a tremendous effort from 15 yards. Wisbech quickly hit back through Liam Adams. But it was soon 2-1 when Ben Bradley fired home from just outside the box in the 23rd minute.

Three minutes later Ryan Gibbs was denied by a great save as Rovers pushed for a third, and his angled shot after 41 minutes broke the netting as they showed their superiority.

The visitors came out with intent after the break and only a great save from James Philp denied Liam Adams after 56 minutes.

Jonny Butler slides into a challenge for Haverhill Rovers against Wisbech TownPicture: Wisbech Town
Jonny Butler slides into a challenge for Haverhill Rovers against Wisbech TownPicture: Wisbech Town

Wisbech equalised in the 68th minute, when striker Dylan Edge poked the ball past Philps as he went to pick up a stray ball. The home defence appealed for a foul but the ref waved play on and Edge blasted home the equaliser.

Rovers were in no mood to feel sorry for themselves, however, and went straight up the other end. A superb 25-yard strike from Bradley hit the post, Luke Haines saw a stinging effort saved from the rebound and, from the resultant corner, Cambridge United loannee Joseph Rider made it 3-2 from close range.

There was no equaliser this time and, 11 minutes later the game was all but over when Bradley's bending free kick hit the top corner from 20 yard out to make it 4-2.

Visiting sub Avi Vieira did bundle home from a corner six minutes from time but it would have been a travesty had Wisbech equalised and it's Haverhill Rovers who progressed to the next round.

Haverhill: Philp, Joseph (Olive 60 mins), Oteng, Rider, Butler, Moody, Toyer (Stoker 60), Anderson, Gibbs, Bradley, Haines (Shulver 75). Subs (not used): Hudson, Jebb,Abbott, Bell.

Booked: Oteng.

Attendance: 170.

Free Press Man of the Match: Ben Bradley - gave the visitors a torrid time.

* Log back on to our website after lunch to see who Rovers and other Suffolk sides have drawn in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.