Stowmarket become only second side to see off league leaders Felixstowe

WELCOME RETURN: Ace Howell struck his second goal in as many games
WELCOME RETURN: Ace Howell struck his second goal in as many games

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

MEMORABLE DAY: Stowmarket Towns players celebrate Anton Clarkes fourth goal to seal a fine home win

MEMORABLE DAY: Stowmarket Towns players celebrate Anton Clarkes fourth goal to seal a fine home win

Stowmarket Town 4

Felixstowe & Walton 
United 2

Rick Andrews says Stowmarket Town’s win against runaway leaders Felixstowe & Walton United has given his players the belief of what they can achieve.

Stow head into the final weeks of a memorable 2017 in third place in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table, and with plenty of confidence having handed Felixstowe only their second league defeat of the season last weekend.

Andrews’ side will be aiming to cement third spot, and keep pressure on the top two, with victories away at Stanway Rovers tomorrow (3pm), and then at home to Walsham-le-Willows on Boxing Day (11am).

And the Stow boss believes the bar has been set for the performance levels of his players after Saturday’s memorable 4-2 triumph against Felixstowe.

“The last few games have given the players massive belief,” Andrews said. “Both myself and Muzzy (Paul Musgrove, assistant manager) have always believed in what the players are capable of.

“Some have said ‘there’s no excuses now.’ We’ve shown in the last two games that we’re good enough.

“The work ethic was tremendous and it was a great performance that has set the bar.

“We’re going to have games when we’re not as good for whatever reason. But they’ve got to try and maintain a consistency, which to be fair to them they have over the last 18 or 19 games.”

Stow got off to a dream start on Saturday with Amar Lewis’ clever through-ball sending Ace Howell through on goal and the recently-returned striker, who scored his first goal for the club in almost a year in the 4-2 win at Brantham seven days earlier, made it two goals in as many games in the seventh minute.

Felixstowe equalised just two minutes later when Scott Chaplin squeezed the ball past James Bradbrook at his near post, after Stuart Boardley’s short free-kick had caught the home defence off guard.

The goals continued to fly in as the Premier Division’s leading goalscorer, Josh Mayhew, sent a fine effort from outside the box past Felixstowe goalkeeper Daniel Crump on 14 minutes.

A first-time shot from Joe Francis in the box levelled the tie for the second time 12 minutes later, before Stow struck two unanswered goals in the second half to secure all the points.

Howell fed the ball to Mayhew in the Felixstowe box just after the hour mark, and the striker turned and shot past Crump for his 33rd goal of the season, before Anton Clarke’s deflected effort found the net moments later to give Andrews’ side enough breathing space to see out the remainder of the game.

Stowmarket Town: Bradbrook 7, Brown 8, Kempson 8, Read 8, Ottley-Gooch 8, Weavers 8, Cowley 9, Clarke 8 (Murrell 81, 6), Howell 8 (Carver 83, 6), Mayhew 9, Lewis 8 (G Bugg 90, 6). Substitutes not used: Musgrove, Brand. Booked: Cowley, Read.Referee: C Pearse.

Attendance 300

Free Press Man of The Match: Dave Cowley