Stowmarket Town enjoy pre-season victory over Ipswich Wanderers
- Credit: Archant
Stowmarket Town secured their first win of pre-season with a 4-1 victory over Ipswich Valley Rangers.
Captain Nathan Birch returned for the first time this summer, while under-18s duo Tom Walker and Danny Lines also featured as the number of players used so far in pre-season ticked over the 30 mark.
Chances were few and far between in the opening third of the contest, as neither side was able to test the opposing goalkeeper before the first drinks break on the half hour.
Stow boss Rick Andrews made several changes at the interval, and it was two of those substitutes who combined to break the deadlock.
A cross from Josh Folkes found Lee Gaught at the far post, who headed past the Rangers goalkeeper to give the home side the lead.
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There was another break in play midway through the second third when Callum Minns’ debut for the Old Gold and Blacks ended with him being carried off on a stretcher.
However the early diagnosis is that the former AFC Sudbury Reserves defender will only be out of action for a week.
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With the second drinks break looming, Stow struck twice in five minutes to move 3-0 up and all but seal their first win of pre-season.
Ryan Rampling saw his shot trickle into the corner on 55 minutes before Dean Pleasance headed home on the hour mark, as Andrews’ side found clear daylight from their Suffolk and Ipswich League opponents.
Josh Cheetham added a fourth for Stow in the final third, running onto a through ball and calmly slotting past the Ipswich keeper in the 77th minute to put his team 4-0 in front.
Stow’s under-18s goalkeeper Walker was then denied a clean sheet on his debut for the first team, as Jorge Fernandez struck a consolation for the visitors six minutes from time.
The Old Gold and Blacks now take their pre-season preparations away from Greens Meadow, with trips to Framlingham Town on Saturday (2.30pm) and Haughley United on Wednesday (6.45pm).