Unbeaten Stow overturn 2-0 deficit to beat Long Melford 4-2 in a thriller
- Credit: Archant
Stowmarket Town 4 Long Melford 2
Stowmarket Town produced a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to beat Long Melford 4-2 with 10 men, and so continue their unbeaten league record this season.
Goals from Nathan Rowe, from the penalty spot, and Jamie Griffiths, either side of the break, had given Melford a 2-0 lead against the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division leaders at Greens Meadow.
Stow, who were a man down after Anton Clarke was shown a straight red card for handball, pulled one back through top goalscorer Josh Mayhew on 55 minutes, but as time ticked away they looked to be heading for their first league defeat of the season, and first since April last year.
But a memorable finish saw Rick Andrews' 10-men equalise on 77 minutes through the impressive Jack Ainsley, and Christy Finch and substitute Matt Blake both struck in the final minutes to complete a thrilling comeback for the Old Gold and Blacks.
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Mayhew was thwarted several times during the first half, as the Melford defence blocked two strikes and keeper Matt Walker kept out another effort, but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute.
After Clarke handled Steve Adams' goal-bound effort, and was given his marching orders, Rowe scored from the spot to put Melford in front. Griffiths then doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half, as Stow's 31-game unbeaten league run looked in real jeopardy.
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Mayhew provided a quick response for Stow, scoring his 32nd goal of the season moments later, and what followed was a siege on the Melford goal.
Stow twice struck the bar, and had two efforts cleared off the line, before the breakthrough came on 77 minutes, Ainsley firing past Walker to make it 2-2.
A remarkable turnaround was complete on 89 minutes as Finch drilled home, and Blake's strike in added time capped a fine second-half fightback. The win extends Stow's lead at the top to 18 points, and moves their unbeaten league run to 32, five short of Wisbech Town's league record of 37 games.