Stow Get Back To Winning Ways
Stowmarket Town put Tuesday’s cup disappointment behind them with a 2-0 win against Thetford Town at Mundford Road.
Two goals early in the second half from Jack Ainsley proved the difference, as Stow took home all three points and moved up to fifth place in the early Premier Division table.
The win also stretches Stow’s unbeaten league run to 34 games, three short of the Thurlow Nunn League record of 37 games, set by Wisbech Town in the 1980s.
Stow manager Rick Andrews made one change to his side which started in Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat to Needham Market, in the 2019-20 Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup semi-finals.
Craig Parker, who was cup tied during the week, returned to the line up, with Charlie Clarke absent from the squad, but Stow were boosted by the returns of Luke Read, Danny Cunningham and Jamie Shaw to the bench.
Parker curled a free kick wide in a quiet opening 10 minutes, before being forced off with injury only a few minutes later, and Read, back after serving a three-game suspension, was brought on in his place for his 100th appearance for the club.
The game sparked into life towards the end of the first half, as both sides created a chance each to break the deadlock.
Robbie Sweeney intercepted a loose Thetford pass and raced towards goal and fired wide, while at the other end the ball fell to Johnny Conroy in front of goal, but he blazed over the target.
Much like Tuesday night, Stow came out of the blocks quickly after the interval, with Ainsley played through and shooting wide, although the Stow midfielder appealed that a Thetford defender had the last touch.
A minute after that miss Ainsley was celebrating the game’s first goal, as he turned home a low cross for his first goal of the new season.
That opener, just three minutes into the second half, was followed by a second shortly after, as Ainsley, who turned 30 on Thursday this week, pounced on a poor headed clearance to head past Frank Gammon to make it 2-0 on 54 minutes.
Sweeney saw another shot whistle past the post on the hour mark, while Thetford almost got themselves back into the game, but Joao Varela’s shot at the end of a fine move came back off the post.
Andrews’ men saw out the final minutes to pick up a third clean sheet in as many league games this season, and climb three places from eighth to fifth in the table.
The Old Gold and Blacks switch their attention back to the Emirates FA Cup, with a trip to higher league Cambridge City coming up on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
It will be Stow’s first appearance in the first qualifying round of the famous cup competition for 19 years.
Stow then resume their Premier Division campaign at home to Godmanchester Rovers at Greens Meadow next Saturday (3pm).
Stowmarket Town: Bradbrook, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Docherty, Parker (Read 15), Sweeney, Mayhew, An Clarke (Cunningham 55).
Subs not used: Shaw, Potter.