FA CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND Needham Market 3
Haverhill Rovers 2
Needham Market’s Ollie Brown has set his sights on a memorable cup run after steering the club through the preliminary round.
The Marketmen ultimately came out on top of a thrilling five-goal encounter at Bloomfields to progress through to the first round qualifying stage and scoop the £1,925 windfall.
Brown proved the hosts’ match-winner with a well-struck volley, after Marcus Hunt and Ian Westlake had given either side the lead in between equalising strikes from Needham’s Sam Newson and Rovers’ Dan Cornwell, respectively, while Kieron Leabon also missed a 72nd-minute penalty in an eventful tie.
And with progression sealed, the adventurous full-back is confident of maintaining an early-season unbeaten run, starting with tomorrow’s visit of Erith and Belvedere (3pm) before travelling to Witham Town on Tuesday (7.45pm)
“I was delighted with the goal, it was a good strike and to be fair it is the first I’ve scored in a while.
“I doubt I’ll score a goal like that again to be honest, I could see it ending up over the bar and in the field behind the goal but luckily it flew in.
“Hopefully we can go far in this competition, we have a good group of lads and so we should go far.
“The FA Cup is a very special competition, everyone watches it every year on television and you never know what might happen if you can keep getting good draws.
“We know we aren’t realistically ever going to win it but to enjoy a good run is still very special.
“We are still unbeaten at the moment and results like us can only help us to keep the momentum going.
“The manager is ambitious here and I think we can look to a good run in the competition to also help in the league as we try to get promoted.”
After a dominant start to the tie by the hosts, in which Sam Nunn and Jamie Guy both spurned good opportunities, it was Haverhill who broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 27th minute, as Hunt rose highest to head home Wilkinson’s inch-perfect cross.
However, they were unable to take the goal advantage into the interval as in the 46th minute Westlake’s delivery into the box from the right was glanced perfectly beyond the outstretched reach of Jamie Greygoose and into the bottom left corner by Newson, to send the sides in level.
The second half started at a frantic pace with both sides trading blows at either end.
First Rovers’ Ben Robinson saw a stinging strike palmed away by Andrew Plummer, while at the other end Brown called Greygoose into action to keep out a speculative low 30-yard strike.
Newson flashed a shot across the face of the visitors’ goalmouth and narrowly wide, before the Marketmen took the lead for the first time in the 61st minute as Westlake rose to loop a header over the stranded Greygoose and into the far right corner.
However, they were ahead for no more than a minute as Cornwell restored parity, ghosting in at the back post to prod home Wilkinson’s driven ball across the goalmouth from the left-hand side.
The hosts were gifted the chance to restore their lead from the spot as Greg Strong brought the lively Brown crashing down inside the area.
Leabon took responsibility from 12 yards, but could not capitalise, screwing his effort wide of the upright.
However, any Haverhill hopes of forcing a replay at the New Croft were sadly dashed with 15 minutes remaining as Brown showed his class to send a perfectly executed volley from the right-hand corner of the area past Greygoose and into the far corner to finally settle the tie.