Stowmarket in cruise control during big away win at Stanway
- Credit: Archant
Stanway Rovers 0 Stowmarket Town 3
Runaway leaders Stowmarket Town cruised to another victory, against 10-man Stanway Rovers at The Hawthorns this afternoon.
Dominant Stow are unbeaten in the league this season, with 16 wins and three draws from 19 matches, to open a huge lead at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier.
Stanway were one of their closest rivals, even though they started the day 19 points adrift with five games in hand, but they could not live with Rick Andrews' men.
An own goal by Milo Grimes, after just two minutes, put Stow in the driving seat, and Christy Finch doubled the lead a clinical header in the 38th minute.
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Rovers were reduced to 10 men by striker Tom Holdstock's 54th minute red card - he picked up two yellows in the space of just 60 seconds, having also been dismissed in the midweek 4-0 home defeat by Woodbridge Town in the FA Vase.
Substitute Dominic Docherty headed home the third, in the 75th minute, to seal a very comfortable victory.
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Stowmarket enjoyed the perfect start, going ahead inside the first two minutes when Josh Mayhew's teasing cross was diverted into his net by centre-half Grimes, who was under pressure from Finch.
That set the tone for the rest of the half, with the visitors in the ascendancy.
Luke Reed glanced a header wide of the far post, from Seb Dunbar's 13th minute cross, while a low angled drive by Mayhew skidded just wide of the far post.
At the other end, Stanway had appeals for a penalty turned down after Tom Holdstock went down under a challenge by Tom Bullard, but otherwise Rovers hardly threatened.
Right-back Finn O'Reilly did well to clear a cross by Dean Bowditch, deep inside the six-yard box, following a terrific sweeping move from the Suffolk side, which had all stemmed from a Rovers corner in the 32nd minute.
Stow had their own appeals for a penalty waved away, for four minutes later, as skipper Ollie Brown appeared to be clipped by Remi Garrett inside the box.
However, the visitors did double their lead in the 38th minute, thanks to a bullet headed by Finch from Robbie Sweeney's inch-perfect cross.
The lead could have been increased still further before the break, keeper Luke Skinner diving low to his left to divert a free-kick by Sweeney around his near post.
And in first-half stoppage time, a goalbound header from Mayhew, from Dunbar's cross, was cleared off the goal-line in the nick of time by defender Grimes.
Rovers' chances of plotting a way back into the game were all but ended by Holdstock's dismissal, in the 53rd minute.
Holdstock and Dunbar had both been booked for clashing an off-the-ball, on 52 minutes, and just 60 seconds later the Rovers striker earned himself a second yellow and ensuing red for another off-the-ball incident.
Stow came close to adding a third goal, on the hour mark, only for Skinner to save from substitute Dave Cowley at point blank range.
And they went even closer when centre-half Leon Ottley-Gooch headed over the bar from close-in, on 74 minutes.
However, just two minutes later and Stow did get their third goal, substitute Docherty ghosting in at the near post to send a deft header flying into the net, from Sweeney's delivery.
STANWAY: Skinner, O'Reilly, Seoane-Barber, Grimes, Carver, Dutch, Nydam (sub Gilbert, 73), Baker (sub Phillips, 69), Holdstock, Garrett, Andrews (sub Blackwell). Unused subs: Slatter, Sherlock.
STOWMARKET: Bradbrook, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Bullard, Ottley-Gooch, Sweeney, Reed (sub Clark, 67), Finch, Mayhew (sub Docherty, 67), Bowditch (sub Cowley, 46). Unused subs: Potter, Jefford.