Preview: Stansted (H)

Whether permitting, this Saturday is Stow’s last real chance to have any say in this season’s title race.

The meeting earlier in the season was a pretty full-on affair, with Chris Clark and Ryan Ramsay both being sent off; Stow’s lack of discipline costing them in a game which they looked like winning until the goalkeeper saw red. Stansted won 2-1, but even with nine men, Stow were on top, and should have earned a point with plenty of second half chances.

There’s been wholesale changes at Stow, with only six of the starting 11 on that evening in October still with us. Most notably perhaps, is James Peagram, who scored against Stansted but is now knocking them in for the Airportmen.

Stansted meanwhile, have been pillars of consistency, and sit deservedly at the top of the pile. Despite having played more games than most of the chasing pack, they are in the driving seat and the title appears theirs to lose.

Our visitors were founder members of the Essex Senior League, and have played in the division since its inception in 1972. They’ve won the league once, in 2010, and finished second in 2011 despite having lost just one game all season. They were deducted three points though, and Enfield beat them to the title by just one point.

Promotion has always been a contentious issue, with Stansted turned down in the past because of the adjoining cricket field to their home pitch. The club’s management are confident that if they were to finish in top spot that they would be given a year to address any ground grading issues, but with the FA taking an increasingly stubborn approach to gradings, the reality of this remains to be seen. Rumours abound the non-league circuit suggest as many as 44 teams at step 4 will fall foul of changes to dressing room size requirements at the end of the season, and could be demoted.

No matter the result this weekend (if indeed the game is on), there will be ample opportunity to settle the score, with the two clubs meeting in the Gordon Brasted Trophy and Errington Cup later this month.

There will be a pitch inspection on Saturday morning at Wadham Lodge.

We’ve got history

Meetings between these to sides have not gone well for our club in recent years. After winning the first four encounters, we lost seven on the bounce – all Essex Senior League games.

The first meeting between the clubs came in the winter of 1985 in the semi-finals of the Essex Senior Trophy. We won that game 2-1, but would go on to lose 1-0 to Saffron Walden in the final.

Our two victories in 1999 came in the Eastern Floodlit Cup, at a time when games were played over two legs. In other years, the first round even included a group stage. Still, we mustn’t grumble, we won that competition twice around the turn of the millenium.

The game at the start of the 2015-16 season was a bit of a farce, with Stansted turning up in a silver kit to play against us, in white. So Stansted pulled on their blue training tops and beat us 2-1 (pictured).

Home and away, we’ve struggled against Stansted, but we did manage to record an all-important 2-1 victory at the end of last season, despite Ryan Ramsay giving Stansted hope with a goal from the penalty spot. Ramsay would of course jump ship and join us over the summer. Who would have thought that ten months later, both teams would be fighting for a league title?

Date Competition Venue Score Result
23/02/1985 Essex Senior Trophy Home 2-1 Won
05/10/1999 Eastern Floodlit Cup Away 3-0 Won
23/11/1999 Eastern Floodlit Cup Home 1-0 Won
02/11/2004 Essex Senior Cup Home 2-0 Won
06/01/2015 Essex Senior League Away 2-5 Lost
21/02/2015 Essex Senior League Home 1-3 Lost
26/09/2015 Essex Senior League Home 1-2 Lost
06/02/2016 Essex Senior League Away 2-4 Lost
07/09/2016 Essex Senior League Home 1-3 Lost
17/12/2016 Essex Senior League Away 0-2 Lost
14/10/2017 Essex Senior League Away 1-3 Lost
21/04/2018 Essex Senior League Home 2-1 Won
30/10/2018 Essex Senior League Away 1-2 Lost

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