Haverhill Borough 1 Bloaters 3
Youngsters Help to Secure A Fine Away Victory
The depleted Bloaters squad travelled to Suffolk to take on a Borough side who had been dropped a bombshell that they were to be relegated from the Premier division despite sitting above the relegation zone. The League have decided that the facilities at the ground do not meet the requirements for a Step 5 club and therefore the club will be demoted to the first division.
For the visitors Kyle Howell returned to the team as did young goalkeeper Connor Milligan along with fellow youth team players Ford, Urry, Palmer , Hagan ,Lopes and Gallant.
The Bloaters kicked off on the immaculate artificial surface with the rain steadily falling but the home side were first to show when Bone fired in a shot from 20 yards that went wide. Davis, again playing in an advanced role, fired a response from a quick free kick, which also went wide. The Bloaters settled well and were neat and tidy in possession without creating any clear cut opportunities. Josh Ford sent over a long cross shot that caught out Borough ‘keeper Conroy and smacked the bar, but the home side were breaking quickly and giving the Bloaters defence a few problems. On twenty minutes the visitors struck the first blow, Haydn Davis picked up the ball just outside the Borough penalty area and found himself a yard of space, before firing in a 20yard shot that went in off the post to give the visitors the lead. The hosts then had a good spell of play when Swallow was denied by Milligan with the follow up shot whistling wide of the upright and then Milligan was again called into action to make another fine save. The lead lasted for only six minutes as Staines finished well to put the hosts level. After a good start the Bloaters were now up against a determined home side who looked dangerous every time they ventured forward. Although the game lacked any real quality the entertainment continued as Ford cleared away a corner from underneath the bar as the home side threatened again. Holmes and Davis were getting little service but Davis again managed to fire in a powerful shot that Conroy pushed away. As the half-time break loomed the Bloaters mounted a swift attack that found Holmes in space and his powerful effort was parried back to the edge of the penalty area to Kieran Hagan whose firmly struck shot found the bottom corner of the net, to give the visitors the lead right on the stroke of half-time.
HT Haverhill Borough 1 Great Yarmouth Town 2
With the rain subsiding the home side started the brighter of the two with a series of attacks that were repelled by the visitors. Bloaters goalkeeper Connor Milligan, who only recently turned seventeen, was called upon to make a couple of vital saves to retain the lead. Youth player Tyler Lopes came on to replace Miles Palmer but most of the play was in the Bloaters half, as they continued to stubbornly defend their lead. Young striker Lopes had a glorious chance to make the game safe in the 75th minute when a quick counter-attack put the youngster through, but his shot was well saved by Conroy. A couple of minutes later the youngster had an identical chance, this time his touch eluded him and Conroy was able to smother the ball away to deny the youngster. Holmes and Howell made way for Gallant and Bishop as the visitors looked to secure their lead. Whilst the home side were on top they had committed players forward and the visitors were able to relieve the pressure with some swift counter-attack play. Milligan again made a great save before Davis fired in a powerful shot that whistled over the bar. Ben Lewis then took advantage of the gaps in the home defence, but his shot was deflected away for a corner. With five minutes left on the clock, and the home side committing players forwards, Milligan pulled off a superb save as a fierce drive from outside the area was tipped over the bar by the young ‘keeper. The killer goal for the Bloaters came with three minutes left on the clock, Davis made space in midfield and played a fine pass into Lewis who shrugged off a couple of defenders before firing over a dangerous cross which was met on the volley by Lopes who gleefully thumped in his first ever goal for the first team to the delight of the travelling faithfull. An entertaining and eventful game was brought to a close and a much needed away win for the Bloaters
Whilst the scoreline somewhat flattered the Bloaters, this was a determined performance from the young visitors who had responded well to a disappointing midweek performance against Saffron Walden.
Joint Manager Martin Sinclair added “ To come here with seven youth players and win against a wounded Borough side is a terrific boost for us, and puts to rest the disappointment of Tuesday night. Delighted to see two of our youngsters get on the scoresheet, and Connor Milligan’s performance today was outstanding. We had to defend for our lives at times against a lively Borough side, but we showed some real character today to come away with all three points”
FT Haverhill Borough 1 Great Yarmouth Town 3
Great Yarmouth Town : Milligan , Howell, Ford, Bartram, Ager ©, Urry, Palmer, Lewis, Holmes, Davis, Hagan. subs Lopes, Bishop, Gallant
The Bloaters reserves could only manage a draw against Gayton Reserves and therefore their promotion celebrations are on hold as they can mathematically be caught by fellow promotion hopefuls Heacham, although they will need to turn over a twenty goal difference. Lee Roots scored the all-important equaliser for the Bloaters.