Ruthless Stow plunder seven goals to overpower Ely
- Credit: Archant
Stowmarket Town 7 Ely City 1
Josh Mayhew scored a first-half hat-trick as Stowmarket Town eased past Ely City 7-1 at Greens Meadow on Saturday.
The Old Gold and Blacks scored five unanswered goals in the first half, as they continued their unbeaten record in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division and stretched their lead at the top to 13 points.
Christy Finch opened the scoring inside the first 15 seconds, before a Mayhew treble and a Jack Ainsley penalty put Stow 5-0 up at the break.
Harry McGregor pulled one back for Ely in the second half, but the home side finished on top with Finch grabbing his second goal of the afternoon and Leon Ottley-Gooch then completing the scoring off the bench.
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After making club history by reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time, in front of a record crowd at Greens Meadow, seven days earlier, Rick Andrews' men were back in league action and were in a ruthless mood as they took another step towards the title.
Finch broke the deadlock almost instantly, finishing past Harry Reynolds, in the Ely goal, with barely 15 seconds on the clock, before a fine through ball from Ainsley set Mayhew on his way to score Stow's second and his 26th goal of the campaign.
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At the other end, James Bradbrook made a vital block to deny Harry French, after a slip in the Stow defence had gifted Ely a sight at goal, but the Premier Division front runners were soon back in the ascendancy, as Mayhew headed home from close range to make it 3-0 on 20 minutes.
Mayhew completed his hat-trick, and took his goal tally to 28 for the season, six minutes later, but was taken off before the interval with a knock, and George Quantrell, back from his trial with Peterborough United, returned for his first appearance since late October.
Ely were penalised for handball in the box moments before the break, and Ainsley, in Mayhew's absence, netted from the spot for 5-0.
McGregor's fine strike got the visitors on the scoresheet just after the hour mark, but goals from Finch and Ottley-Gooch ensured Stow finished well in front, to continue their march towards promotion.