THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Cornard United 0
Stowmarket Town 2
Two second-half goals from substitute Duane Wright extended Stowmarket’s unbeaten league run to 11 games as they earned a deserved victory over a determined and battling Cornard.
“Credit to Cornard,” said Stowmarket manager Rick Andrews. “They made it difficult for us, but overall I thought it was a matter of time before we broke them down.
“In the first half we had 12 corners and six or seven good chances, and we should have been comfortably three or four up at half-time. But we’ve found that throughout the season, and once we get a goal we start to relax and play our football.
“This hasn’t been our favourite ground, and we’ve struggled here before. But that’s clean sheet 17 out of 26 games, which is something I’m really pleased with.”
Andrews has switched to a 3-5-2 formation this season, and recruited players who are comfortable with it.
“I think we’ve shown this season that we can play it effectively,” he added.
He was also quick to pay tribute to much-travelled Wright. “He’s come with bags of experience, and been our best player this season. He was on the bench last week, came on and scored two goals. And he’s done it again this week.”
Stowmarket dominated the first half, with Cornard keeper Daniel Joyce producing several excellent saves to keep them out. Remell Davis, Jonathan Carver and Danny Cunningham all had efforts denied by the athletic keeper.
Philip Weavers saw a powerful strike come back of the angle in the 29th minute as Stowmarket kept the pressure on.
Yet Cornard might have gone in with an interval lead. A swift break in the last minute of the half ended with Jake Buckland heading their only real chance over the bar.
The second half was more even. Wright came on in the 61st minute, and two minutes later drove home a cross from Ben Licence to put the visitors ahead.
And 20 minutes later he struck again when the ball fell perfectly to him after a scramble in the box, volleying home powerfully. His bid for a hat-trick was denied by Joyce in the 91st minute.
Cornard’s only clear chance of the half came in the 85th minute, Ezra Drann heading inches wide.
It was certainly a combative game, with seven players booked – Wright, Davis, Mical Moore and Scott Marjoram from the visitors and Buckland, Moses Carvalho and Ben Madden from the home side.
Stowmarket: Higgins; Licence (L Clarke 73), Carver, Moore, Marjoram, Weavers, Cunningham, Murray, Davis (Wright 61), Bugg (Gould 78), A Clarke
Free Press Man of the Match: Duane Wright. Super sub who added instant punch up front
n Stow now have back-to-back away games at Haverhill Borough on Saturday (3pm) and Needham Market Reserves on Tuesday (7.45pm).
n Fifteenth-placed Team Bury, who held Framlingham Town to a 0-0 draw last weekend, travel to Wisbech St Mary tomorrow (3pm).
That is followed on Tuesday evening by a First Division Knockout Cup tie at home to Debenham LC (7.45pm).
On the transfer front, Sporting 87 striker Olie Selfe has signed for Bury Town’s Under-16s, but it is hoped the 16-year-old will eventually progress into the Team Bury squad.
n Needham Market Reserves suffered a 3-0 reverse at home to King’s Lynn Town’s second string on Saturday.
The Marketmen’s youngsters have no game this weekend, but return to action on Tuesday against Stowmarket (7.45pm).