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Rovers show more progress in draw at eight-man Newmarket

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MAKING STRIDES: Prince Mutswunguma (far left) celebrates with the team after breaking the deadlock (Picture: Mark Westley)
MAKING STRIDES: Prince Mutswunguma (far left) celebrates with the team after breaking the deadlock (Picture: Mark Westley)

His side may not quite have done enough to earn all three points, but player-boss Marc Abbott was still pleased with the progress Haverhill Rovers showed during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Newmarket Town.

It proved to be a controversial evening at the Bloorie.com Stadium, where three former Rovers players in the Newmarket ranks were red carded.

Blake Kicks was given his marching orders early in the second half, before Joe Bennett and Tyrone Alleyne were both dismissed deep into stoppage time.

After an impressive opening 45 minutes, there was a tinge of disappointment that the visitors did not go on to post a third straight win, but Abbott believes there was further evidence of the improvement his team has made in recent weeks.

“On reflection we are quite disappointed not to have taken all three points,” said Abbott, who saw Rovers win 2-0 at Framlingham Town on Saturday (Ben Bradley and Mikey Davis).

“Did we do enough overall in the game to win? Probably not.

“We missed a good chance right at the end and they had some good chances, so a point for each is probably fair.

“Having said all of that, it was clear we have made rapid progress and great strides.

“You can see the quality we have got in has added a new dimension to us and we are a real threat in both boxes, which is pleasing.

“Some of our combinations in the first half were brilliant, we have been working on those a lot. In the second half we could not find a way to get out at speed – credit to them, they locked on to us.

“We lost our first two games against two very good sides. We have stablised since then, keeping two clean sheets along the way, and we are happy now we have settled down.”

It took the visitors just four minutes to string together their first impressive move of the game, which Luke Haines blazed over, before the lively Mikey Davis drew a save from Jockeys ‘keeper Alex Archer.

The neat passing moves continued and while some broke down, they got it right in the 30th minute.

Prince Mutswunguma exchanged a neat one-two with Ben Bradley and, after sharply turning away from two Newmarket defenders, the former Cambridge United trainee unleashed a shot from the edge of the box that gave Archer no chance.

Newmarket got themselves level in the 40th minute thanks to a smart free-kick from ex-Rovers boss Michael Shinn, before the drama ensued in the second half.

Kicks was sent off in the 52nd minute for a challenge on Jake Noble, while Bennett and Alleyne joined him for two bookable offences late on.

With a depleted Newmarket understandably shutting up shop and looking to contain, Rovers created few chances in the second half.

However, they did have a glorious opening to snatch victory in the 90th minute but, from six yards out, substitute Mark Lovell could not keep his header from Jemel Fox’s cross on target.

They are not in league action again until Saturday, September 8 with matches in the FA Cup and then FA Vase on successive weekends.

Haverhill: Philp, Carroll, Fox, Noble, Farrant, Geoghegan, Abbott, Haines, Bradley, Mutswunguma, Davis

Echo Man of the Match - Ben Bradley: Playing up front, he was involved in much of the neat play during the first half