Paine and Garrett strike as Stowmarket beat Hadleigh
- Credit: Archant
Hadleigh United 0 Stowmarket Town 2
Early and late goals helped Stowmarket Town to a 2-0 win away at Suffolk rivals Hadleigh United on Boxing Day, writes Alex Moss.
Matt Paine opened the scoring for the Old Gold and Blacks in the ninth minute, before Remi Garrett struck six minutes from time to wrap up the points.
The victory keeps Stow in third place in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table and extends their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions.
Both Suffolk sides tested the opposing goalkeeper in the opening minutes, with Hadleigh’s shot stopper Nick Punter keeping out a Scott Chaplin effort, while Callum Robinson, in the Stow goal, denied Kieran Turner at the other end.
The deadlock was broken on nine minutes when Punter parried Max Melanson’s low drive and Paine kept his cool to fire home the rebound.
Fifteen places separated the two county rivals before kick off, but you would not have guessed it based on how the first half played out, with hosts Hadleigh, in 18th, creating chances to equalise.
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The most inviting of those opportunities came on 25 minutes, when Dan Knight’s cross fell to Kyle Ferguson in the box, but he somehow blazed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Stow rallied after the break and Garrett was denied at close range by Punter, before the visitors had three corners in quick succession, two of which saw recent signing Robbie Linford come close to getting his first goal for his new club.
The visitors continued to be a threat at set pieces, with defender Sam Nunn seeing a header blocked short of the line by the Hadleigh defence, and moments later Chaplin was thwarted again by Punter.
With Stow’s lead still only by the single goal, any nerves were settled for Rick Andrews’ men five minutes from time when Garrett struck for the second time in as many games.
The visitors had been frustrated by being caught offside on numerous occasions, but the Stow striker timed his run to perfection and coolly finished past Punter to make it 2-0 on 85 minutes.
The Old Gold and Blacks host Newmarket Town at Greens Meadow on Saturday (3pm). Hadleigh travel to Long Melford.