A game of one half!
On leaving the pitch at half time Ben Thompson said to me 'that was Scruffy' an understatement me thinks.
After a tough 100 plus minutes the previous Saturday and 120 plus minutes at Kirkley in the cup on Wednesday, we may be expecting too much from a stretched Planters squad. With Greg Crane out for an extended period, Ben Jones still recovering from injury, Matty Daniels out with a niggle who needed a match off to avoid further injury and Adam Bennett unavailable. Damian Hilton had to revamp the side for the visit of Haverhill. Josh Carus coming into the back four with Andy Eastaugh moving into midfield. The bench was a bit short, with Jamie George returning after a lengthy period out through injury, and Gavin Lemmon still doing his all for the team against doctors orders but that's Gav all over.
The first half looked to have started well when in the first minute Adam Hipperson got through down the left and drew an excellent goal saving stop from Cherry in the Haverhill nets the first of many on the day. The boys were not closing down quickly and allowing Haverhill to play football in the midfield up to the edge of Duncan McAnallys box. Rovers had a great chance to open the scoring on 10 minutes when a piece of extended pressure finished with a limp shot coming back off a post. This proved a kick up the backside for the lads and although the were more lively, they were still not stringing a series of passes together and there was no pace in the movement or football, which served to see Haverhill grow in confidence. Half time I'm sure saw Hilts get animated (nice word for something that probably wasn't too pretty in the dressing room) to get the boys up for the second period. 0 - 0 at half time would have seen Haverhill the happier.
The second half proved very open, Duncan had a couple of saves to make in the first ten minutes and Adam Hipperson skinned the right back and played a ball into the box 6 yards out Ben Thompson should have done better. The Planters were taking control Adam Hipperson was causing havoc down the left and Ross Durrant opening Haverhill up down the right, Lee Mason and Andy Eastaugh defensively stopped everything before it got through to the back line, but were not as creative as Matty Daniels going forward. On the hour mark, Hilts made his first change with Paul Cook coming on for Ross Durrant , Ben Thompson moving to the right side. Within five minutes Cooky had made the breakthrough with Mathew Blake turning provider, picking the ball up down the right channel he drove into the box with Thommo in support, Blakey dropped his shoulder and lifted the ball past two defenders. right onto Pauls head who powered it home. 1 - 0 Planters.
It took just a further three minutes for Ben Thompson to play in Blakey to double the lead with a good finish, the boys were rejuvenated and on top in all areas, Haverhill were chasing shadows. Jack Cherry between the sticks was still proving a hard nut to crack. Jamie Speller was starting to get into the game down the right leaving Haverhill struggling down both flanks, Jamie Speller put in a great cross on 74 minutes to the back post Cookies goal bound header came back off a post, Blakey was quickest to react and put it away for his brace. Cherry continued to keep the score down with a series of excellent blocks, from Blakey, Hippo and Cooky.
Jamie George came on for Adam Hipperson, and as the final whistle approached Gavin Lemmon came on for Andy Eastaugh great to see both Gavin and Jamie back on the park!
Just before the final whistle Blakey got away one on one with Cherry, again Cherry came out on top stopping Blakeys hat trick. A three nil victory turned out to be a good result, made even more important with Gorleston beating Godmanchester putting us 13 points clear at the top of the pile. Adam Hipperson gets my man of the match, a constant threat going forward and closing down well at the back. Come on you Dirty Yellows..
Two big away games coming up, Godmanchester a proper six pointer on Saturday followed on Tuesday by Wroxham in the Norfolk Senior cup we really are at the business end of the season now.