Frenetic local derby ends with Stowmarket grabbing all three points
- Credit: Archant
Walsham-le-Willows 2 Stowmarket Town 3
Stowmarket Town moved back up to third in the Premier Division table after edging past Walsham-le-Willows 3-2 in an entertaining derby at the Morrish Sports Ground, writes Alex Moss.
Ryan Clark headed home the winner for the Old Gold and Blacks in the 77th minute, after the two rivals had shared four goals in the first half.
Robbie Sweeney and Sam Nunn opened up a 2-0 lead for Stow, in between the visitors being reduced to 10 men after Robbie Linford received a straight red card.
The Willows replied by scoring two penalties in three minutes, both converted by Jack Brame, who was then himself given his marching orders to bring an end to a chaotic first half.
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After tasting back-to-back defeats for the first time since November 2017, Stow manager Rick Andrews took his side to close neighbours Walsham, who had climbed above them in the table after starting 2019 with consecutive wins.
The reverse meeting at Greens Meadow back in August had seen the Willows prevail 3-2, with an own goal inside the first minute giving them an early advantage.
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This time it was Stow’s turn to strike first, as Sweeney’s teasing cross found the far corner with less than a minute on the clock.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men on 24 minutes, as Linford was shown a red card for a foul. But despite being a man down, it was the 10-men of Stow who would double their lead 11 minutes later when Nunn headed into the corner.
A frenetic end to the first half saw Walsham get back on level terms via two penalties, as the momentum looked to be swinging back in the home side’s favour.
However, just moments after scoring the second of his two penalties to make it 2-2, Brame was dismissed by referee Jordan Marin, leaving both teams to play with 10 men each for the second half.
After seeing the Willows go agonisingly close to taking the lead following a scramble from a corner, Stow grabbed the winner 13 minutes from time when substitute David Kempson’s cross was headed in by Clark from close range.