Planters go 8 points clear
With a two one victory at the New Croft, the boys increased their lead at the top of the Premier Division.
The New Croft as always was a welcoming place for the boys and supporters, but the pitch was pretty poor, heavy and lumpy with a covering of long grass, not the sort of ground to encourage flowing football. The playing surface was a real leveller with the boys having to knuckle down and grind out a result. As the weather gets more wintery they'll have to get used to poorer surfaces, but I doubt we'll have to play on much worse.
The kick off saw the Planters strongest from the off, pressuring the Haverhill defence and midfield, Cornwell the big threat up front for the Rovers received a yellow card for a very poor tackle after just a minute, the ref making it very clear what he expected from the players. The team was the same that beat Walsham with the addition of Ben Thompson on the bench. Playing into the strong breeze the boys were taking total control, with Haverhill Rovers opting for long clearances and relying on Corwell and O'Brien to hold the ball up and keep the United back four on their toes.
After 14 minutes the boys were caught out at the back and went behind, what a shock, Dan Corwell battled for a long ball that dropped into the Yellows box, the ball fell kindly for him and his strike beat Duncan McAnally between the United sticks 1 - 0 a bit of a shocker as we've started to get used to clean sheets. Both sides were battling hard creating some reasonable half chances but nothing clear cut, the heavy ground was coming out on top holding the ball up and sapping both sides energy. After 35 minutes some real quality saw the boys get back on terms, a well delivered free kick was met beyond the back post by Steve Shipley who headed the ball back to Ross Durrant on the edge of the Haverhill box, Ross struck the ball on the half volley not an easy skill. which flew into the right corner past Cherry in the Rovers goal a really great strike 1 - 1.
With the wind behind them Haverhill started to take a bit more control, with the Planters giving up some silly free kicks on the edge of their own box, Rovers failed to take advantage of the set pieces and the half time whistle came at a good time for Damian to chew a few ears and get the boys back on track.
With the wind at their backs in the second half the boys came out strong, after just 5 minutes they took the lead Paul Cook and Matt Blake working well together Cooky slipped the ball through and Blakey did what he does best, finished neatly another goal to add to his growing tally and increasing his lead at the top of the Premier league scorers list. 1 - 2 Planters in the driving seat.
Ben Thompson replaced Cooky on the hour and gelled immediately with Blakey running the channels well keeping Haverhill penned back. On 74 minutes Ben Jones came on for Ross Durrant as the both sides began to tire. Adam Bennet had a couple of good chances to increase the lead, working hard down the left, his strike looked to be over the line before Cherry in the Rovers goal used his extremely long arms to claw it out. No goal line technology at this level I'm afraid.
On 85 minutes Ben Thompson was away on goal when on the edge of the box was taken out unceremoniously by Cherry, the ref took time to think about and went to the side line had a chat with his assistant and gave Cherry a yellow, good refereeing in my eyes although some in yellow were screaming red. Just a minute later Cherry again clattered Thommo outside the box again, testing the refs patience. Any other time would have been a yellow card but Thommo was going away from goal so Cherry can count himself very lucky. The boss's final move saw Josh Carus come on for Andy Cusack. The boys saw the game out well another good three points in the bag. My man of the match goes to Jamie Speller who was all over the park dealing best of all with the conditions and supporting the midfield and front men.
Next Saturday we entertain Ely at Plantation Park, it would be great to see you all there . The under 18's set the standard this week with an excellent two nil away win at second placed Wroxham, both sides top their respective leagues. Early days but I'm sure everyone would prefer to be on top of the table rather than chasing. Well done both sets of dirty Yellows