Ottley-Gooch arrives at Stow as injuries begin to mount up for Rick Andrews’ in-form team
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Stowmarket Town 1
Great Yarmouth Town 0
Stowmarket Town manager Rick Andrews believes the arrival of Leon Ottley-Gooch may have come at just the right time as a growing injury list continues to stretch his squad.
The Old Gold and Blacks continued their impressive rise up the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table on Tuesday night, narrowly beating Great Yarmouth Town 1-0 at Greens Meadow, to move up to second on goal difference.
With seven players missing through injury or unavailability, Ottley-Gooch was a surprise inclusion in Andrews’ starting line-up, making his debut after completing a much-publicised move from Bury Town earlier that day.
“There’s been a lot of stuff in the press which I don’t really want to comment on, but at the end of the day we’re all about players wanting to play football,” said Andrews, who takes his Stow side to Fakenham Town tomorrow (3pm), before welcoming Stanway Rovers to Greens Meadow on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“I think us as managers, us as clubs, have to realise it’s just a game. If a player wants to leave a club, and I’ve had several players want to leave Stow in the past, it’s never personal and I don’t think anyone should treat it as personal.
“The lad (Leon) wanted to play football, it’s as simple as that. He’ll be a great addition for us. He hasn’t played for a few weeks and I think that showed at times (tonight), but he’ll just get better for us.
“It looked like we had 18 (players available) and a few decisions had to be made, then Angelo (Harrop) suffered a concussion, Clarkey (Nathan Clarke) picked up an injury on Saturday, Mitch (Scott Mitchell) is struggling at the moment and then Remi Garrett pulled his hamstring warming up, so we’ve gone from turning up with four subs to two plus Muzzy (Paul Musgrove, assistant manager).”
Ottley-Gooch, who can play in a variety of positions, slotted into a three-man defence, in place of the injured Nathan Clarke, on Tuesday and helped Stow to record back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season.
Josh Mayhew, who scored and set up one in the 2-0 win at Newmarket Town on Saturday, scored the only goal of the game late in the first half to take his tally for the season to 25 goals in all competitions, as Stow stretched their unbeaten league run to 11 games.
Stowmarket: Bradbrook, Brown (c), E Clarke, Ottley-Gooch, Carver, Weavers, Cowley (Clark 74), Baker (A Clarke 66), Read, Mayhew, Lewis. Sub not used: Musgrove. Booked: Baker. Attendance: 119.
Free Press man of the match: Ollie Brown.
n Following last week’s Free Press back page story, Stowmarket learned this week they will be investigated by Suffolk FA over their approach to take Ottley-Gooch from Bury.
nMeanwhile, ex-Cambridge United goalkeeper Danny Potter has left his position at higher-league AFC Sudbury to join Stowmarket as a goalkeeping coach.