Boss wants Town to bounce back
Kevin Grainger has called on his Newmarket Town players to produce a swift response after they crashed out of the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday.
Leading 2-1 with five minutes to go, it seemed that the Jockeys were heading into Monday’s second-round draw.
However, hosting Enfield Borough equalised to force extra-time and followed that up by scoring two further unanswered goals in the added 30 minutes to seal a 4-2 victory.
On Saturday, Newmarket switch their attention back to league matters when fellow promotion Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division candidates Stowmarket Town will be their visitors (3pm).
And with an important three points at stake, Grainger is eager for his side to bounce back from their disappointing Enfield outing.
“The weather was horrendous for football but when you are leading 2-1 with five minutes left, you have to see the game out,” said Grainger.
“The lads know they have not played well and we need a reaction against Stowmarket.
“Our number one aim at the start of the season was promotion and that is looking really tough — it looks like being Felixstowe and then one of four or five other teams.
“It means a draw on Saturday is not good enough — we need to win the game.
“For whatever reason it is not clicking at the moment, but hopefully that changes soon.”
Hosting Enfield took the lead in the 10th minute at Donkey Lane through Tage Kennedy.
Nevertheless, Newmarket were level with 27 minutes on the clock when the former Mildenhall duo of Chris Bacon and Stephen Spriggs combined for the latter to fire in.
Newmarket got their noses in front during the second half courtesy of centre-back Charlie Bowen, who rose highest to head home a floated Jamie Thurlbourne corner.
But Enfield levelled in the closing stages from the penalty spot after Newmarket goalkeeper Alex Archer had been penalised for a foul and the home side grabbed the initiative thereafter.
They scored twice during the extra time period that followed, shutting the road to Wembley for Newmarket for another campaign.
On a more positive note, Grainger is hopeful he will have two key players fit for the upcoming Stowmarket clash, followed by Tuesday’s trip to Haverhill Rovers in the League Challenge Cup (7.45pm).
Last season’s leading goalscorer Lewis Whitehead has been sidelined for a number of matches with an ankle injury, while the versatile Scott Paterson limped out of the recent 1-1 draw at Ely City.
However, with both set to train this week, Grainger is anticipating they will be available for selection.
“We miss Scott when he is not playing. He provides so much energy to the team,” added the Newmarket boss.
“And Lewis showed his quality last year with the amount of goals he scored. It will be a big positive to have those two back.”
Austen Diaper, who has found the net eight times this term, will also return to the fold after missing the defeat at Enfield.’