Bullard and Cowley net for Stow in a hard-earned win over Stanway
- Credit: Archant
Stowmarket Town 2 Stanway Rovers 1
First-half goals by Tom Bullard and David Cowley proved sufficient to guide Stowmarket Town to an eighth win from 10 league starts this season.
The league leaders completely bossed the first half, leaving Stanway chasing shadows, and were good value for the goals netter by Bullard on 18 minutes and Cowley on the half-hour mark.
However, Andrew Wood's 51st minute penalty set up an intriguing second period, ensuing that Stow had to work hard for another three points. They remain unbeaten in the league.
Stanway were on the back foot for virtually the whole of the first half, although ironically they did register the first goal-attempt when striker Wood's snap shot flew over the bar on three minutes.
Otherwise, Stow were in complete control, showing good patience with their passing moves and biding their time to strike.
Cowley smashed a 20-yarder over the bar from Dom Doherty's lay-off on the quarter-hour mark, but the hosts did get reward for their pressure with an opener in the 18th minute.
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Cowley was tripped outside the box, and it was he who took the ensuing free-kick. Although frustrated to see his curling shot bounce back off the bar, having beaten keeper Daniel Wheeler, centre-half Bullard reacted quickly to bury the rebound with a pinpoint header into an unguarded net.
After that, Stanway struggled to even get out of their own half, or retain possession for any amount of time, and it was no real surprise when Stow doubled their lead on the half-hour.
A delightful through ball by midfielder George Quantrell cut open the Rovers rearguard and enabled Cowley to burst clear and direct an angled shot low beyond the reach of keeper Wheeler and in at the far corner of the net.
Remarkably, Cowley's effort was the 24th goal scored by Stow on home turf this season, with none conceded at the other end.
Stanway finally threatened in the 39th minute, Remi Garrett cutting inside before firing in a shot which keeper James Bradbrook gobbled up with ease. That was Rovers' only effort on target of the first period.
The visitors were relieved to be just 2-0 down at the break, before Josh Mayhew headed straight at Wheeler from point blank range in the 43rd minute.
Yet Stanway were level, just six minutes into the second half, from what appeared to be a rather soft-looking penalty decision.
Wood made no mistake from the spot, sliding his penalty low past Bradbook to halve the deficit, and so see Stow concede their first home league goal of the campaign.
Rovers had shouts for another penalty, just two minutes later on 53 minutes, claiming that Wood's ferocious shot struck the arm of Jack Ainsley, but referee Jordan Marin was not convinced.
In a reversal of the first half, it was Stow forced to do a lot of the defending, as Rovers searched in vain for an equaliser. They pressed but never really had a clear sight of goal.
STOWMARKET TOWN: Bradbrook, Brown, A Clarke, Jefford, Bullard, Ainsley, Doherty (sub Read, 67), Quantrell, Mayhew, Cawley (sub G Clarke, 65), Sweeney (sub Williams, 74). Unused subs: Murrall, Finch.
STANWAY ROVERS: Wheeler, Andrews, Barber, Garrett (sub Nydam, 82), Carver, Grimes, Maybanks (sub Phillips, 90), Baker, Wood, Shaw, Holdstock. Unused subs: Sherlock, Slater, Skinner.
Meanwhile, Cemal Ramadan scored a brace as Bury Town came from 2-0 down to claim a superb 3-2 win away at Dereham Town in the Isthmian League North this afternoon.
The Norfolk hosts went 2-0 up, thanks to Adam Hipperson's 15th minute penalty and then a goal from Ryan Hawkins just three minutes later.
But a goal either side of half-time, by livewire Ramadan on 43 and 46 minutes, put Bury back on level terms, and Ollie Hughes then came up trumps with a 69th minute winner in front of a crowd of 204 as Ben Chenery's men moved up to second in the league.
- Lowestoft Town won the all-Suffolk FA Cup tie at Crown Meadow, comfortably defeating Needham Market 4-0 in front of a crowd of 495.
It was fairly even early on, but Lowestoft never looked back from the moment that Shaun Bammant gave them the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Two goals from Jake Read, in the 57th and 80th minutes, sandwiched a goal from skipper Travis Cole as Lowestoft won this second qualifying round tie.