Stowmarket 4 Seasiders 2

Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division
Saturday 16th December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first trip to Greens Meadow for a competitive league fixture since 2005/06 season, they had been relegated to Division one at the end of the previous season while we were on the up, regaining our Premier Division status that season while the old goal and blacks had to wait another 11 years to climb out of the First Division. But it’s good to have them back, one of the back bones of the league for more than half a century and always a game to look forward too.

A good sized crowd, many supporting the visitors, were entertained on a cold pre-Christmas afternoon with a competitive and fast paced game.

Stowmarket raised their game for the visit of the league leaders and were twice ahead in the first half before being pegged back each time to see the sides level at the break. The second half saw the home side open up a two goal lead and striking the woodwork was the nearest Felixstowe came to responding with Stowmarket deservedly claiming maximum points.

Callum Bennett replaced Taylor Hastings in the only change to the starting line-up that defeated Long Melford the Previous Saturday with Driver, Ainsley and Powell returning from injury with a seat on the bench.

Danny Crump was quickly into action as Stowmarket showed their attacking intentions from the start with Cowley and Lewis using their pace to good effect and Crump saving an early strike from Lewis. The Cowley Lewis combination opened up the visiting defence on five minutes creating the space for Ace Howell to drill a low ball past the diving Crump to open the scoring.

The lead was short lived when three minutes later Stuart Boardley stood over a free kick 25 yards from the home goal. With most expecting a trademark dipping free kick under the bar he cut the ball square to the unmarked Scott Chaplin who advanced and drilled the ball inside Bradbrook's right hand post.

Stow regained the lead on 14 minutes with an excellent shot from 22yards across the visitors goal into the angle of post and bar. Back came the Seasiders in response with a Ruel shot blocked by Weavers and Ford's shot on the turn saved by home keeper Bradbrook. On 27 minutes it was all square yet again when Ford brushed of Read's challenge on the edge of the area to cross for Joe Francis to volley home.

The game continued to flow end to end with Crump saving from Clarke and Clarke and Mayhew just failing to connect with a whipped in cross from Kempson that flew across the Felixstowe goal line and away to safety. Bradbrook produced an excellent double save to deny Ford and Francis on the stroke of half time to ensure parity at the break.

Chaplin saw his shot fly just past Bradbrook's left hand post as the visitors applied pressure after the interval before the decisive goal came on the hour for the home side when Howell's pass found Josh Mayhew who doubled his personal tally with a low shot. 

Read produced a timely tackle in the home area to deny Francis and on 66 minutes they made the game safe when Anton Clarke was allowed time to fire a shot through a crowded penalty area to open up a two goal cushion which was not seriously threatened.

Substitutions followed with Powell making a welcome return and his volley against the home cross- bar was the nearest the Seasiders came to a reply in a closing period that saw the visitors working hard to open up a resolute home defence that protected their keeper from any further serious threat to see the game out as deserved winners.

In the end we had no complaints over the result, on the day Stow’ were the better side and took the points, it thinned our points cushion at the top, but it remains healthy and it’s now a case of refocusing on our prime objective of getting one of the promotion spots and winning the next game!

 


 One real positive of the game was seeing three of our injured list making second half appearances, with hopefully more coming back over the Christmas period. It certainly emphasises the need for a strong squad over the course of 46 games, which we are only just over half way through.

It’s Haverhill Rovers this Saturday at the Goldstar Ground, never an easy game for us, and now under new management in Marc Abbott who has given them a lift with some excellent results in the last month.

Huge thanks to Stan Baston for providing the colour and Chris Ryan for his excellent unbiased match report!