Stowmarket need to ‘toughten up mentally’ says boss Andrews ahead of Brantham visit

Stowmarket manager, Rick Andrews

Stowmarket manager, Rick Andrews Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Rick Andrews says his Stowmarket Town side need to ‘toughen up mentally’ ahead of hosting Brantham Athletic tomorrow afternoon (3pm), writes Alex Moss.

The Old Gold and Blacks have enjoyed great success in cup competitions over the last month, securing progress in the Buildbase FA Vase, Suffolk Premier Cup and Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup.

But Stow’s recent form in the Premier Division has stuttered, with only five points picked up in their last six league outings, a run which has seen them drop from first to fifth in the table.

Andrews was delighted with how his side dug in during extra-time to see off Baldock Town 3-1 in last weekend’s FA Vase second-round tie, the reward being a trip to Swaffham Town in the last 64 next month.

“We stood up to Baldock, got good headers in, great second balls and we won,” he said. “The team is capable of a gritty side.

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“I just think, if I’ve got a criticism, mentally we have to toughen up. When they scored their goal, mentally it hit us for five minutes.

“That’s what we said at half-time. We had the first 35 minutes where we should have been 3-0 up.

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“We got caught out, but there was no need to panic. You’ve just got to relax and keep believing in what you’re doing.

“We had to show that determined side and I thought we saw the game out quite comfortably in the end.”

Stow’s five-match home run comes to an end next Tuesday when they host higher league AFC Sudbury in the second round of the Suffolk Premier Cup.

The crowds continue to flock in at Greens Meadow, with an average a shade under 250 during the first three games of that run of home fixtures.

“I would like to thank the supporters again,” Andrews said. “The atmosphere is getting better and better every game and I was pleased to send them away with a win last week.

“Hopefully we’ll see another big crowd this weekend for what will be another tough game against Brantham in the league.”

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