Stow returned to winning ways with a dominant performance against Clapton at the Spotted Dog.
The game started evenly enough, with Clapton looking pacey up front. They carved out the first half-chance of the game, but Harry Girling made a comfortable save. At the other end, Craig Pope got his head to a free kick, but he was denied by the home keeper.
Stow’s front three of Samrai Gebrai, Dwade James and Christian Owusu were causing problems for a Clapton defence who often dawdled on the ball too much, and it was Owusu who had Stow’s next best chance, charging down a defender but shooting just over from a tight angle when through on goal.
Owusu went closer still, cutting in from the left-hand side and shooting low, but his shot somehow hit the inside of the post and bounced clear.
After three more missed chances, Stow finally took the lead, though there was an air of controversy about the goal. Everyone seemed to stop for offside when Elias Siligato’s ball over the top found James, but when the forward realised the linesman kept his flag down he turned and unleashed a thunderbolt into the near top corner from a tight angle.
Stow couldn’t hold onto the lead for the rest of the half though, and in first half injury time a defensive clearance was charged down, allowing the forward to slot home coolly.
Ryan Maxwell’s men came out for the second half even more in control, and were rewarded when Reece Conway picked up the ball on the edge of the box before composing himself and curling a beautiful effort into the bottom corner.
Despite a couple of nervy moments at the back for Stow, Girling remained untroubled and it was pretty much one-way traffic.
Jake Giddings and Siligato both had good chances, driving from midfield, but it was Ryan Ramsay who sealed the points, volleying in James’ cross from close range.
There was still time for James Peagram to have a tap-in ruled out for offside, but it was a much-improved performance for Stow winning at Clapton for the first time in 20 years – the last victory coming in March 1999 in the Eastern Floodlit Cup. (Though we have only recently been playing Clapton more regularly).