BUILDBASE FA VASE
Stowmarket Town 4
Enfield 1893 5
Rick Andrews said Stowmarket got exactly what they deserved from Saturday’s pulsating FA Vase tie — absolutely nothing.
The Old Gold & Blacks were playing at Greens Meadow for the first time since they lifted the Thurlow Nunn League First Division title on the last day of last season, with the pitch having undergone extensive renovation works to solve a hump down the middle and drainage issues.
The ground could not have hosted a more entertaining cup tie than this one, but after Stowmarket recovered from 2-0 down to lead 4-2, they conceded twice inside the final eight minutes.
There were plenty of chances for both sides to avoid a replay in the additional 30 minutes, but it was Stow’s haphazard defending which saw them punished in the final seconds.
And with his side — boosted by a host of big name players from higher leagues — languishing in the bottom third of the table after eight games, Andrews has warned they must get their act together before their season becomes one of massive under-achievement.
“At 4-2 up the game should be dead and buried,” he said.
“But at this moment in time, when we are a little bit under the cosh, they are panicking.
“They then got the third and the fourth, and they haven’t had to work for any of their goals; that is the frustrating thing from our point-of-view. It is criminal at this level.
“They have only scored seven goals all season, but have come and put five past us. That tells you a lot about what we need to do.
“But it is not just one end. Obviously we had opportunities at the other. And if you don’t put them away you get what you deserve and we did: nothing.”
With Stow having passed up a golden opportunity to make the FA Vase’s First Round Proper for the first time in 14 years, he added: “They have got to learn as a group or the season is not going to be what we would hope it would be.
“We can’t keep defending them.
“Most people would say at the start of the season the squad I have managed to assemble should be doing far better than what they are.”
Stow looked good with the ball but terrible without it and fell 2-0 behind to their 18th place Essex Premier Division opponents Enfield 1893, with Luke Thomas able to skip inside Anton Clarke to fire in the first after 14 minutes and a simple through ball put Carl Mullings in after 24 to slot in the second.
The hosts got an important goal back before the break when lively winger Amar Lewis ran onto Billy Clarke’s cross to glance in.
A blistering start to the second half from Andrews’ side saw them gain the lead with two goals inside three minutes with Ollie Brown’s shot fortunate to slip under the ‘keeper’s legs in the 51st minute, and Josh Mayhew lashing home after the ball broke loose.
Mayhew added his ninth goal in 11 games since a summer move from Bury Town in the 67th minute with a rifled finish after a one-two down the right-wing with Lewis.
But, with the clock ticking down, Josh Sykes’ volley at the far post set up a grandstand finish before an error from Josh Baker, sending a looping header across his own goalmouth, saw Staunton apply the finish.
Before extra-time was signalled lively substitute George Bugg had an effort headed off the line, as did Mayhew, while the latter also dragged his shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Both goalkeepers came to the fore in extra-time while Stow’s sub Correy Gittens somehow headed over with the goal gaping.
But with Enfield monopolising the chances in the second period of extra-time, their reward came in the dying seconds when replacement striker Abiola Balogun nodded in at the far post.
Stowmarket: Brand, Yallop, A Clarke, Harrop (Gittens 77’), Carver, Baker (Mitchell 74’), Cunningham, Lewis, B Clarke (Bugg 73), Mayhew, Brown. Unused subs: Garrett, Musgrove.
Free Press Man of The Match: Josh Mayhew.