Stow boss expecting a seven-way promotion scuffle for his players

HEADS UP: Stowmarket Towns Mical Moore beats Halstead Towns James Murray to a header on Saturday
HEADS UP: Stowmarket Towns Mical Moore beats Halstead Towns James Murray to a header on Saturday
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Stowmarket Town 2

Halstead Town 1

Rick Andrews believes his Stowmarket Town side are one of seven teams battling for promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League First Division this season.

The Old Gold and Blacks, currently second in the table, ended Halstead Town’s unbeaten league record with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Greens Meadow on Saturday.

Stow manager Andrews said in the lead up to the game that he was looking for more self belief from his players, after seeing his side lose their own unbeaten league record the previous weekend.

Steve Holder and Duane Wright both found the target inside the opening 15 minutes to give Andrews’ men a 2-0 lead, before seeing off a brave fight back from the visitors who, reduced to 10 men, had pulled a goal back midway through the second half.

“I’m more pleased for the players than myself,” said Andrews, whose side travel to Team Bury tomorrow (3pm) and then Diss Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

“We knew it was going to be a battle. Halstead are a good side and I think it will be them, Coggeshall, ourselves, Haverhill, Woodbridge, Diss and Holland the ones challenging (for promotion).

“We scored the goals at the right time. We started well, which we haven’t done for a while, and I thought we worked really hard and battled.

“Maybe the players will start getting some belief back.”

Stow were without suspended captain Danny Cunningham for the visit of in-form Halstead, but among the three changes to the starting line-up, joint-top goalscorer Ace Howell was recalled.

Howell was influential in the first goal, his mazy run into the Halstead box resulted in his deflected shot being palmed away by visiting goalkeeper Joe Fowler, with the rebound converted by Holder.

Wright doubled Stow’s lead after heading home from a Jack Baker free-kick, and it proved to be the winning goal.

Stowmarket Town: Higgins, L Clarke, L Howell (Licence 61), Marjoram, Wright (Carver 63), Hastings, A Clarke (c), Moore, Holder, Baker, A Howell (Bugg 61). Subs not used: Leszczynski, Bradlaugh. MOTM: Holder.