Haverhill Boro' 0 Seasiders 3

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Saturday 11th November 2017

Pictures: Stan Baston, Story: Phil Griffiths.






When I sit at my computer around 6:30am on a Sunday morning, cup of tea ready, mind fresh, fingers flexed, I wonder what my theme will be for the match report I am about to write. Yes, it’s true, up to that point, I have no idea! I have my notes of the match and recollections of the day, and hope that will see me through!

Question 1: Have we met before? Yes was the quick answer - 22nd October 2016, FA Vase 1st Round at the Goldstar Ground in front of 115 spectators. We won 4-0 with goals from Scott Chaplin, Miles Powell, Craig Jennings & Kyron Andrews (Now Hadleigh Utd) but never in a league game, and never at The New Croft, where we normally play Rovers in league games.

It’s a strange set up at The New Croft, with Borough playing on a 3G pitch while Rovers play on the original grass surface laid down when they moved from Hamlet Croft. They share the same facilities (sort of) with separate food bars, but joint hospitality room, (and excellent hospitality) yet independent clubs in their own right!

A couple of stands, one standing only, one seated holding about 70 watchers. I liked the standing stand and thought a similar construction would fit and look good between the two dugouts at the Goldstar Ground.

Oddly, there appeared to be no access to three sides of the ground, and one wondered how come! I thought it a league rule there had to be hard standing on all four sides, unless special permission was granted i.e. shared cricket outfield as at Walsham Le Willows & Brantham.

Again, the Seasider massif were out in force, outnumbering the home support significantly. The attendance was advised as 67? Which I thought rather odd as there looked more than that inside at the start, and close to 50 Seasiders decked out in red & white! We were advised only those who have paid are counted, which doesn’t make for accurate figures. There were two alongside myself with Suffolk County FA passes and half a dozen from Felixstowe with Thurlow Nunn passes that were not counted in the figures, plus others probably that I wasn’t aware of!

I think it’s fair to say that no-one on the club’s football management side, or club committee and certainly not I, who think there are games where we have just got to turn up to win… the wrong attitude has a strange way of coming along and biting you in the **** and to their credit, the side have taken it one game at a time, with every opposition side treated with the same respect. I think we spent too many years as the underdogs trying to bite the top sides *****, sometimes with spectacular results!

The match itself, to be honest it wasn’t a thriller! The surface clearly suited our style of play and the home side found it difficult in the first half to get the ball and keep possession for any extended period of time. Joe Francis fired us into a third minute lead from the penalty spot after Scott Chaplin had been tripped in the Borough area. The goal put the home side on the back foot and the Seasiders grabbed control of the game, moving the ball from side to side. Stuart Boardley fired over Smith’s bar and Dan Davis had the ball in the Haverhill net at the far post as he met Scott Chaplin’s corner, but the Assistant’s flag was up for offside.

There was a string of free kicks, shared pretty evenly between the two sides as the half progressed without too much threat on either goal, and just before the half hour the home side did manage to build a decent attack but Sam Hawley’s shot from 20 yards out lacked any power, and Crump was comfortably behind the ball as he gathered it low down.

It was just past the half hour that the Seasiders doubled the score when another Chaplin corner, his fifth of the half, curled in at the back post and Rhys Barber connected with the ball only for Ryan Swallow to clear off the line, although only as far as Davis, who lashed it home from fully three yards out as Barber crashed into Swallow from the momentum of his initial effort.

Graham Smith in the home side’s goal then produced a superb save to deny Jordan Matthews two minutes later. That effort, had it gone in, would probably have taken the fire out of Borough, but instead it inspired them and Swallow ended a good build up with a fierce shot that was unfortunately high, wide and handsome.

Haverhill had a good spell in the opening 15 minutes of the second period without really carving out an opening, the best of their opportunities falling to Charlie Holmes, who blasted over Crump’s bar when well placed.

Matthews ended a mazy run by rattling the Haverhill bar with a rising shot and Barber headed over from a Stuart Boardley free kick as the Seasiders once more took a firm hold on the game. Both sides made their substitutions using all six players available, which broke up the play, and it was from the last of them the third goal came. Kye Ruel replaced Joe Francis with15 minutes left, and he finished off a good build up from the Seasiders with a crisp finish from 15 yards that took a slight deflection on its way in, but not enough to aid or hinder Smith’s chances of saving the effort.

It was Ruel’s first goal for the club, but hopefully not his last, as he regains fitness after suffering a broken leg at the end of last season while playing for East Thurrock.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning.
We will remember them.