Match Preview: Gorleston (H)
Stowmarket Town kick off their 2020-21 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign at home to Gorleston this weekend.
After six months without competitive action, due to the curtailed 2019-20 season and delayed start to the new campaign, Rick Andrews’ men marked their return with a comeback 2-1 win against Rothwell Corinthians in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night.
The Old Gold and Blacks looked to be on course for an historic title and promotion last term, before the season was declared null and void, and will now aim to reignite their bid for Step 4 football over these next eight months.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of our league season opener…
Stowmarket Town v Gorleston / Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division / Greens Meadow / Saturday 5th September 2020 / 3pm kick-off – Gates open at 1pm
Setting the scene: 175 days will have passed since Stow’s last league outing when they take to the pitch at Greens Meadow for their first Premier Division fixture of the new season on Saturday. Rick’s men produced an incredible fightback from 2-0 down to beat Long Melford 4-2, and preserve their unbeaten league record in 2019-20, before the season was halted, and ultimately cancelled, due to the Coronavirus. At the other end, Gorleston were bottom of the table on goal difference, but with a long break will hope to push up the table and avoid another relegation battle in 2020-21.
What’s the team news? Stow were missing four players due to injury and suspension for their season opener against Rothwell during the week. Summer signing Charlie Clarke has served his suspension and will be available, while Tom Bullard and Anton Clarke still miss out due to cautions from the previous season. Robbie Sweeney was absent on Tuesday through injury, and this weekend may come too soon for him. The suspension for Luke Read’s late red card against Rothwell will start for next Tuesday’s trip to Norwich United.
How are Gorleston doing? Before last season was cut short, the Greens were embroiled in a battle to avoid finishing in the sole relegation place in the Premier Division. Gorleston were bottom of the table on goal difference, behind Hadleigh United. Gorleston were also in FA Cup action during the week and recorded an eye-catching 5-0 win at home to Norfolk rivals Swaffham Town.
What happened last time we met? The two sides did not meet in 2019-20, with Stow’s trip to Emerald Park (March 14) the first fixture to be postponed, and then cancelled, while the Greens were due to visit Greens Meadow on the final day of the season (April 25). Stow’s last clash with Gorleston was back in December 2018, when second-half goals from Sam Nunn and Max Melanson meant the points went back to Suffolk.
One to watch: Based on their game during the week, Connor Ingram certainly looks to be one to keep an eye out for. The young striker netted four of Gorleston’s goals in Tuesday night’s win against Swaffham, picking up where he left off in the previous season. In 2019-20, Ingram topped the scoring charts at Emerald Park with 20 goals in 30 appearances for the Greens.
Not a full programme on opening weekend? Two of the 10 ties for the opening weekend of the Premier Division have been postponed over the last couple of days. Walsham-le-Willows, who had to withdraw from their FA Cup clash with Newmarket Town due to one of their players testing positive for the Coronavirus, have postponed their trip to Godmanchester Rovers on Saturday. Mildenhall Town’s home game with Wroxham has also been postponed owing to Coronavirus concerns.
Saturday 5th September
FC Clacton v Haverhill Rovers
Hadleigh United v Kirkley & Pakefield
Long Melford v Norwich United
Stanway Rovers v Ely City
Stowmarket Town v Gorleston
Swaffham Town v Brantham Athletic
Whitton United v Thetford Town
Woodbridge Town v Newmarket Town
All games kick-off at 3pm
Coming to the game tomorrow? Please note under current guidelines we are allowed up to 300 paying spectators into Greens Meadow. Once we have reached 300, no more supporters will be allowed entry. We advise supporters to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
When in the ground please adhere to social distancing and make use of the entire pitch perimeter. Face masks are to be worn whilst moving around inside or outside (no mask, no entry).