Finch and Mayhew on target as Stowmarket start with a draw at Clacton
- Credit: Archant
Thurlow Nunn Premier FC Clacton 2 Stowmarket Town 2 Stowmarket Town came from behind twice to earn a share of the points from their opening weekend trip to FC Clacton, writes Alex Moss.
Christy Finch got the Old Gold and Blacks back on level terms on the hour mark, after Brad Westley had put the Essex hosts in front just before the break.
And Josh Mayhew scored from the penalty spot nine minutes from time, cancelling out Mekhi McKenzie's 73rd-minute strike, to earn Stow a point from their first game of the new Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division season.
Stow manager Rick Andrews handed starts to seven of his 10 summer signings at the Austin Arena, as Finch, Joe Jefford, Curtley Williams, Tom Bullard, Jack Ainsley and the returning duo of Dave Cowley and James Bradbrook were all named in the visitors' starting line-up.
A keenly-fought contest, between the sides who finished fourth and sixth in the Premier Division last season, was played out, with chances coming at both ends before Westley's opener two minutes before half time.
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Mayhew twice came close to a breakthrough for Stow, as one header from an Anton Clarke cross drew a fine save from Clacton goalkeeper Joe Fowler.
A neat flick on from Finch then sent Mayhew through on goal moments later, but again Fowler denied the Stow striker the game's first goal.
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The hosts were presented with a golden opportunity to strike first on 38 minutes when Williams gave away a penalty, but Bradbrook guessed correctly to keep out McKenzie's penalty.
The Stow goalkeeper went from hero to villain five minutes later, though, as a mix-up at the back allowed Westley a simple chance to put Clacton in front.
A positive start to the second half from Andrews' side yielded an equaliser on 60 minutes, as captain Ollie Brown's through ball sent Clarke through down the left, and his ball into the box was parried by Fowler and fell nicely for Finch to draw the visitors level.
McKenzie atoned for his earlier miss from the spot to regain Clacton's lead from close range in the 73rd minute, before Mayhew's penalty made it 2-2 in the final stages.