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Newmarket Town live up to entertainers tag with victory in seven-goal derby against Haverhill Rovers

Newmarket Town have forged themselves a reputation of being one of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division’s most entertaining sides in recent seasons.

And they certainly lived up to that billing during Saturday’s derby at Haverhill Rovers, where they recovered from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to leave The New Croft with a 4-3 victory.

First-half goals from Jemel Fox and Henry Hall sent Haverhill into the break in the ascendancy. Newmarket’s Ross Paterson halved the deficit shortly after the restart, only for Rovers’ teenage sensation Tyger Smalls to restore the two-goal advantage from the penalty spot in the 61st minute.

Haverhill Rovers v Newmarket Town - Newmarket celebrate taking a late lead..Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789136)
Haverhill Rovers v Newmarket Town - Newmarket celebrate taking a late lead..Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789136)

However, the Jockeys – without their absent player-manager and leading goalscorer Michael Shinn – rallied with goals from James Seymour and Paterson again levelling up the scoreline, before substitute Scott Paterson completed the comeback seven minutes from time.

“We showed some proper character in that second half,” said assistant boss Stuart Wardley, who had a spell in charge of Haverhill last season.

“The first 15 minutes we were really at it and created two or three good chances, and on reflection their goal came against the run of play.

Haverhill Rovers v Newmarket Town - Newmarket celebrate a goal..Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789166)
Haverhill Rovers v Newmarket Town - Newmarket celebrate a goal..Pic - Richard Marsham. (21789166)

“But once they scored their tails were up and we went into our shell a little bit. To be fair to them they played some good stuff and were probably worth their two-goal lead.

“I said to the boys at half-time that we needed to press higher up the pitch because they like to play the ball out from the back.

“Then if we can nick it there and force mistakes, we are 20 yards from their goal rather than 40 or 50 – that is exactly what we did in the second half.

“Hats off to the boys because I did give them a bit of an ear bashing at half-time, but their reaction was top class.”

There was not even 60 seconds on the clock when Newmarket created their first chance of the afternoon with former Rovers forward Mark Lovell sending a header from Jack Watson’s delivery skidding just wide of the post.

Six minutes later Ross Paterson fired over when he might have done better before Lovell was once again involved, this time seeing his low shot smartly stopped by Haverhill goalkeeper Toby Egan.

All of that domination counted for very little, though, because in the 14th minute the home side broke the deadlock with their first meaningful attack.

Recent arrival Josh Lucraft spread the play out wide to the right for Sam Mills, whose dangerous cross was turned in at the back post by fellow full-back Jemel Fox.

The goal seemed to disrupt Newmarket’s rhythm, and when earlier they had been moving the ball around with authority, passes were now going astray.

A good save from Alex Archer thwarted Ben Tait from close range in the 24th minute, but Newmarket’s number one was beaten again on the stroke of half-time.

Henry Hall’s effort from 25 yards out did bounce just in front of Archer, but he is likely to be a bit disappointed to have not kept it out.

At the start of the second half Rovers’ Tomasz Siemienczuk spurned a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 when put through in the clear, but he curled his shot wide of the upright.

And soon after – in the 54th minute – Newmarket reduced the arrears thanks to Ross Paterson’s driven strike from 10 yards out.

Barely a minute later Jordan Foster should have drawn the away side level but with the Haverhill defence appealing for an offside flag that was not forthcoming, he lifted the ball over the top from close range.

And Newmarket were duly punished in the 61st minute by the lively Smalls, who after being fouled inside the box by Seymour dusted himself down to dispatch the resultant penalty.

At this point it was throw caution to the wind time for Newmarket, who got themselves to within a goal again in the 64th minute courtesy of Seymour.

Skipper Watson sent a right-wing corner towards the back post where the centre-back rose highest to head home.

Another Watson assist helped to get Newmarket level in the 74th minute as Paterson kept his volley down to get the better of Egan and restore parity.

Newmarket now looked the more likely side to win the contest and that proved to be the case in the 84th minute when substitute Scott Paterson’s shot appeared to take a deflection that diverted the ball into the bottom corner.

It was a big moment for the midfielder, who has been limited to just five appearances this term because of a knee injury.

“I am really pleased for him. It is tough when you have injuries and do not have much game time,” added Wardley. “It might not have been the prettiest of winners but they all count. It has been frustrating for him this season so for him to get the winner is fantastic.”

Next up for Newmarket, who have moved up to sixth in the Premier Division, is a home clash against Walsham-le-Willows on Saturday (3pm).

Walsham are 17th but are one of the division’s form sides having lost none of their eight games under new boss Fergus O’Callaghan.

Newmarket: Archer, Whiting, Kicks, Bennett, Seymour, B Robinson, Foster (S Paterson 69), R Paterson, Lovell (Peters 82), Watson, Chandler. Attendance: 189

Journal Man of the Match – Jack Watson: The skipper set up two goals and was a leader in the middle of the pitch before switching to right-back late on