Haughley boss Phil Fairbrother praises goalscorer and goalkeeper

HAUGHLEY United manager Phil Fairbrother reserved special praise for his goalscorer and goalkeeper after his side extended champions-elect Woodbridge Athletic’s wait to collect the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division title.

Arron Mayhew kept the home team in the match with some fine saves either side of striker Nathan Smith’s solo strike handed Haughley a 1-0 victory on Saturday.

Fairbrother said: “Nathan was our Player of the Year last season, but he has missed 17 or 18 games this season with a broken wrist. He is a superb player and a lovely lad too.

“He has natural ability and is very spontaneous. You have to foul him to get the ball off him because he is all arms and legs and is an awkward player to play against.

“Arron has been superb in the last four or five weeks, even though he had conceded eight goals in our last two games, and he made some vital saves today.”

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Fairbrother said he knew Woodbridge would come out strongly, and so tried to contain them by switching from Haughley’s normal 4-4-2 formation to playing three in the middle of midfield.

“We eventually wore them down and got stronger as the game went on. We have conceded a few this season, but we have not been able to field the same back four.”

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Saturday’s success was the second time that Haughley have beaten Woodbridge this season, after they won 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Touchline Sports Cup a month ago.

Fairbrother, whose side have since reached the final, where they will face Achilles on May 9, added: “Woodbridge Athletic are not top of the league for nothing, but we have now beaten them twice this season.

“We were diabolical in midweek against Felixstowe United when we had only one of our regular back four available and lost 4-0.

“We are so Jekyll and Hyde at the moment. We have got to the cup final and I think it is playing on the minds of our flair players who have not played as well as they should have done recently.

“Some people say we had nothing to play for except pride, but my selection for the cup final started today and will continue over the next two weeks.”

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