Ex-Town star Bowditch impresses on debut as Stowmarket keep rolling
- Credit: Archant
Thurlow Premier Stowmarket Town 2 Mildenhall Town 1 Stowmarket’s relentless pursuit of the league title showed no sign of abating in this win over Mildenhall Town at Greens Meadows, in front of an impressive 347 spectators.
The win maintains the 15 point margin over second-placed Wroxham, but the visitors gave a good account of themselves, showing plenty of resilience and good organisation and threatened to snatch a point with a late rally.
Mid-week signing Dean Bowditch, the 33 year old ex-Ipswich Town star, made his debut from the bench on the hour, and showed the immediate quality touches that will ensure extra competition within Rick Andrews' squad in the weeks ahead.
The home side were the more dominant force, but the juggernaut was often thwarted by a defence spearheaded by the central duo of Luke Butcher and Rob Ruddy, who were both excellent with good all round support.
However, Stowmarket went in front on eight minutes with a sublime left foot strike by Robbie Sweeney from 25 yards that skimmed the wet surface and beat the full-length dive of Jake Hayhoe.
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Stow continued the offensive with efforts from Matt Blake, Jack Ainsley and Christie Finch, but rather lacked some of the usual clinical finishing they have become renowned for this season.
Mildenhall were well in touch, growing in confidence, and very nearly equalised on the half hour. A cross field pass played in full back Joseph Asensi who struck a terrific shot from 28 yards that narrowly whistled by the woodwork.
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The home side were stunned when the excellent referee Jack Wilmore awarded a penalty in the 48th minute for handball and the tireless Oliver Canfer slotted home, sending James Bradbrook the wrong way.
Both sides continued to play entertaining football, but only six minutes later Stowmarket regained the lead following a great advantage played by the referee, with a brilliant goal.
Some intricate passing culminated with the ball being played out to Seb Dunbar, who delivered a fine cross with pace and Josh Mayhew, roaring in beyond the far post, spectacularly dived full length to power home a superb header.
Ricky Cornish's side showed character and put in a strong finish but Jack Ainsley, Joe Jefford and Tom Bullard withstood the late rally enabling Stow to claim their 15th league triumph.