Stow ready to face ‘bogey team’ after making a winning return to action

BIG WIN: Stowmarket celebrate one of their five goals against Thetford on Saturday
BIG WIN: Stowmarket celebrate one of their five goals against Thetford on Saturday
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THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Stowmarket Town 5

Thetford Town 1

Rick Andrews believes his Stowmarket Town side should thrive on playing on a 3G surface at Haverhill Borough this weekend.

The Old Gold and Blacks returned to action after a three-week break with a 5-1 win at home to Thetford Town last Saturday, a victory which extended their winning run to seven games.

Andrews’ side moved back up to third in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table, two points behind Coggeshall Town, in second, and have not lost away in the league since mid-September.

But although the Stow boss is looking forward to seeing how his players can perform on Borough’s 3G pitch, he is also wary of facing what he calls his ‘bogey team’ at The New Croft tomorrow (3pm).

Andrews has never beaten Borough in a league encounter in nine previous attempts, and also lost 5-0 to their Suffolk rivals in the First Division Knockout Cup final two years ago.

“Bogey team,” the Stow boss joked when talk moved to tomorrow’s 34-mile trip across Suffolk. “With the players we have we should thrive on the 3G surface.

“One of our best performances of the season was away to Newmarket (who also have a 3G pitch). But saying that, Haverhill are a dogged side.

“They struggled early on adapting to the league but seem to have adapted far better now and are picking up some great results.

“They’re our bogey side. They drew with us down here 2-2, which they deserved. It’s another week closer to the season finishing, so we’ll go there looking forward to it.”

After having the two previous Saturdays off, Stow took time to find their stride against a determined Thetford side at Greens Meadow last weekend.

Max Melanson put the visitors in front from the penalty spot on 33 minutes, taking his tally for the season to 22 goals, before Danny White’s side had a second goal ruled out for a foul on Stow goalkeeper Craig Brand.

Dave Cowley fired into the corner two minutes before the break to make it 1-1, with Josh Mayhew then striking the outside of the post as the hosts finished the first half strongly.

Robbie Priddle spurned a glorious chance to put Thetford back in front in the 61st minute, the striker coming agonisingly close to his 20th goal of the campaign as his sliced shot went just wide of the target.

Stow then found the net four times in the last half an hour to give the final scoreline a one-sided look, with Ace Howell benefitting twice from crosses from Mayhew, before the returning Remi Garrett made it 4-1 a minute after coming on for Howell.

Mayhew finished the scoring three minutes from time to bring up his 40th goal of the campaign, and move to within 10 goals of equalling the Thurlow Nunn League record for most goals scored in a season.

Stow: Brand, Brown (c), Kempson (A Clarke 77), Saker (Murrell 68), Carver, Weavers, Read, Lewis, Howell (Garrett 82), Mayhew, Cowley.

Thetford: Viner, Tavares (Snow 76), Bond (c), White (Bailey 60), Coomber-Willis, Smith, Anderson, Melanson, Wood, Priddle, Rocha (Castro 77)

Referee: C Horsman. Attendance: 188. Free Press man of the match: Howell

Thetford, meanwhile, bounced back in style on Tuesday night to book their place in the semi-finals of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup.

A Valter Rocha hat-trick and a brace from Robbie Priddle sealed the 5-1 home win over Godmanchester Rovers.

The 13th-placed Brecklanders host struggling Ipswich Wanderers in the league tomorrow (3pm).