IT’S DAVID V GOLIATH in Suffolk today as Step 6 giantkillers Haverhill Borough play host to Step 3 Ryman outfit Leiston in the FA Cup

Haverhill Borough's Owen Longley skips past his marker - something he'll be looking to to day agains

Haverhill Borough's Owen Longley skips past his marker - something he'll be looking to to day against Leiston - Credit: Archant

Today sees the ultimate David v Goliath tie occur in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round at the New Croft as Step 6 Thurlow Nunn First Division side Haverhill Borough host Step 3 Ryman Premier Division side Leiston.

Borough boss Ben Cowling cannot wait for what is undoubtedly the biggest game in his side’s short history - since forming in 2011.

“Games like this one are why you enter the FA Cup,” claimed Cowling.

“To pit our wits against a Ryman club, and to host them as well, is excellent for us.

“To be just four-years-old and competing in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup is just phenomenal.”


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Successive promotions from the Essex and Suffolk Border League since their inception leave Borough competing in the Eastern Counties second tier as things stand.

Having already beaten higher-ranked opposition Barking (1-0), and Whitton United (2-0) in this competition earlier this season, as well as defeating Step 5 Basildon United in FA Vase action recently, Cowling’s men are quickly becoming this year’s giantkillers.

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“We like being the underdogs - it suits us,” added Cowling, whose side went mightily close to sealing a third-straight promotion last season.

“Before we played Whitton, I think Paul Bugg mentioned about playing against his former side - we thrive off that sort of stuff and used that as motivation to beat them.”

However, beating Step 5 Whitton and beating Leiston are two completely different tasks - something Cowling appreciates.

“We’re aware of how good Leiston are but we’ll just simply do what we do,” added the Borough boss, who watched Leiston’s 2-1 defeat to East Thurrock recently.

“We’ll work hard, and try our best to deny Leiston time and space on the ball - then if we get a break, hopefully it’ll hit one of their bottoms and go in!

“I’m hoping we will take the game to them as much as we can - without exposing ourselves too much.

“It’s also important that whatever the result in this game - there is no hangover from it. In the context of things, we have two league games shortly afterwards and we want to be up the top end of the league this year - we’re strong enough to go up, we have a good a side as anyone in the league, and I want us to be there or thereabouts in the top four competing.”

Although the odds will be stacked against Cowling’s men this afternoon, Borough can draw confidence from Leiston conceding four goals in mid-week to Hampton & Richmond Borough.

The pace of attacking duo Ryan Weaver and Owen Longley serve as Borough’s biggest threat today in a match the club are hoping to attract more local support through the gate as ground-sharers Rovers are not in action.

Can Borough slay the giant? Get yourself along to the New Croft to find out. Kick-off is at 3pm today - with admission prices of £5 for adults, £3 for concessions, while under 16’s go free.

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