Stowmarket’s Town long winning run ended by Saffron Walden
- Credit: Archant
Thurlow Nunn Premier Stowmarket Town 2 Saffron Walden Town 3 Stowmarket Town saw their winning start to 2018 come to an end after a late Joe Murphy goal helped Saffron Walden Town take all the points, writes Alex Moss.
The Old Gold and Blacks were bidding for a ninth straight win to equal their best run in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division this season, but Murphy’s strike three minutes from time ensured it was a first defeat in nine for Rick Andrews’ men.
It was the first meeting between these two sides in just over three years, with the visitors having gained promotion to the Premier Division two years earlier, but it was Stow who made all the early running, with Josh Mayhew breaking the deadlock after just four minutes.
After captain Ollie Brown was hauled down in the box, Mayhew buried the spot kick into the corner, beyond the reach of Neil O’Sullivan, for his 43rd goal of the season.
Despite conceding an early goal, Walden were beginning to settle into the contest and were back on level terms on 27 minutes, as Charlie Portway fired home the rebound from a shot which had come back off the post.
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Walden then delivered a sucker punch on the stroke of half time, as Lewis Francis swung a cross in for the clinical Portway to head home to give his side the lead.
After the break Stow found it difficult to break through a resolute Walden defence, until the 64th minute when substitute Angelo Harrop’s free kick found Leon Ottley-Gooch and his header was tipped over the bar by O’Sullivan.
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Stow’s bright spell was rewarded with an equaliser on 73 minutes, as Ottley-Gooch converted from Dave Cowley’s corner to make it 2-2.
It set up an exciting finale as a resurgent Stow pushed for a winner, while the visitors also threatened to strike again when Murphy almost caught out Craig Brand, who had raced out of his goal, but his lob went inches wide of the top corner.
Walden struck with the winner with three minutes to go as Murphy steered the ball past Brand to secure all the points for the visitors.