MALDON and Tiptree were saluted by Haverhill Rovers for keeping the Emirates FA Cup dream alive, writes JON LONGMAN.

Rovers chairman Ali Shulver wished the Jammers another successful cup run but lamented the downgrading of the FA Cup by top flight clubs on a night when his team did their utmost to match the polished performance of the visitors but lost 3-0.

Shulver said: “The famous old competition is most certainly still a magical thing for the non-league clubs involved as we all know the financial rewards at stake with every game won.

“Top flight football is bigger than ever but I do feel that the FA Cup has lost its magic in the latter stages and that is down to many factors including money an football politics."

The Jammers' rebuilt squad might have only played a handful of games together but they snuffed out Rovers hopes of repeating their 2018 giant-killing of the Wayne Brown’s team.

Brown was away scouting for players to strengthen his squad for another tilt at the Isthmian North title but the Jammers certainly did his bidding.

They weathered a remarkable storming display by Rovers whose confidence was probably at an all-time high after last Saturday’s remarkable comeback from 3-0 down to beat Woodbridge 4-3.

Rovers were certainly urged on by most of a partisan all-ticket crowd of 298 when they went 3-0 behind.

The locals believed their Lazarus side could come back from the dead for the second time in four days.

Rovers tested the Jammers patient building from the back and the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time when livewire midfielder Aaron William-Bushall’s low drive took a deflection to wrong foot Rovers keeper James Philp.

The goal only rattled Rovers self-belief but the Jammers began their command performance five minutes after the break when Bushall’s corner was met by a thumping header from Billy Cracknell.

Rovers huffed and puffed and gave an impressive account of themselves until they went 3-0 behind in the 65th minute when Cracknell’s effort bounced off the bar leaving Scott Kemp with the simplest of chances to complete the scoring.

Jammers keeper Ben McNamara cut a lonely figure for long periods after the third goal and was only seriously tested once in the entire game when he made a flying save to deny Ben Bradley.

The Jammers now go into Friday’s second qualifying round draw with the National League North and South clubs, including Chelmsford City, hoping for a change of fortune and a home draw after winning 1-0 at Hertford Town in the previous round.