THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Stowmarket Town 2
Leiston Reserves 2
Rick Andrews admitted his new-look Stowmarket Town side had ‘a lot of nervous energy’ in their first game of the season on Tuesday night.
The Old Gold and Blacks handed competitive debuts to nine players during their 2-2 draw with Leiston Reserves at Greens Meadow, including ex-Bury Town attacker Danny Cunningham and Hadleigh title winner Duane Wright.
But it was two familiar faces in the gold shirt who found the target, as goals from Ben Licence and the returning Tom Bradlaugh helped Stow come from a goal behind to lead 2-1 at half-time.
Andrews’ men created several chances to increase their lead after the break, but crucially it was Leiston who struck next, as James Baker’s header 12 minutes from time secured a share of the spoils.
Stow boss Andrews, now in his fourth full season in charge, believes there was plenty of positives to take from the draw as they head into trips to Dereham Town Reserves tomorrow (3pm), and then Halstead Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“We’re up and running and although it’s not the result we were hoping for, it’s a point on the board,” he said. “The early part of the game was like a cup tie and I told the boys at half-time to relax a bit more. There was a lot of nervous energy.
“We’ve created a lot of chances and met a goalkeeper in good form.
“Goals change games and if we’d have scored a third I think we’d have gone on to score a couple more.
“But Leiston did what I want my team to do and that’s to dig in. We were disappointed not to get all three points.
“But I think the people watching will see we’ve got a team with the potential of doing well, if we can keep everyone fit.”
John Carver, one of the nine players who made their debuts on Tuesday, will miss the next two games, while his fellow defender Dean Pleasance is unavailable for the trip to Halstead on Tuesday.
n Team Bury succumbed to a 5-1 defeat away at Woodbridge in their first game of the new Thurlow Nunn League First Division season on Saturday.
New boss Guy Hayes was then able to field Bury Town’s Darcy De’ath, Phil Weavers and Ollie Canfer in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at King’s Lynn Reserves.
Bury will look to get their first points on the board when they visit Braintree Town Reserves tomorrow (3pm) and then Needham Market Reserves on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Needham, who lost 3-1 at Wisbech St Mary on Saturday and then 3-0 at home to Braintree’s Reserves on Tuesday, travel to King’s Lynn Reserves tomorrow (3pm).
Stowmarket Town: Higgins, Licence, Cheetham (Wright 60), Pleasance, Marjoram, Carver, Clarke (c), Moore (McPhillips 65), Bugg, Bradlaugh, Cunningham (Codrington 74). Sub not used: Joyce. Referee: D Priest. Attendance: 58. Free Press MOTM: Licence.