Stow Manager Max Mitchell was pleased with his side’s victory over Sporting Bengal United at Mile End Stadium on Saturday. Goals from Charncey Dash, Jon Clements and Sam Jeremiah had given Stow a 3-0 lead before a free-kick right on the death gave the hosts a consolation goal.
“I think it is always good to get a victory in your first league game. The first 15 minutes of a season opener is always a little erratic but I think we settled into the game well and had a better start to what we have had previously. That was pleasing for me to see. The environment wasn’t great with there being no fans, no changing rooms and the pitch was challenging and it can be really difficult to acclimatise, but we dealt with it very well and we were by far the aggressor over 90 minutes.”
The first half had ended goalless despite Stow dominating the opening 45. Mitchell made a slight change at half-time in the hope they could get the goals needed for a win. “We changed the shape for the second half and it paid off. The pressure we applied was good and we had some well-taken goals. It was a well-taken penalty from Dash and Jon Clements has come on and got his first competitive goal for the club along with a first senior goal for Sam Jeremiah who comes on with three or four minutes to play and nicks a third so I was really happy with the way the boys have applied themselves. This season, we said the boys need to be acceptable to change and we’ve come here, not in the best conditions, and got the three points.”
Right from the off, the game was a physical and fiery encounter, both on and off the pitch. Playing in those conditions can be hard but he felt they had dealt with those factors well. He also knew they needed to continue to control possession through the second-half. “Any meetings with any Bengal side in previous years have always been highly competitive. I thought the boys dealt with that very well and I said to the players whoever was most calm at half-time, was going to win the game. We put our foot on the ball more in the second half and were more clinical in the final third and our game management really showed the further the game progressed. The three goals we got, we deserved.”
The game gave Mitchell and his side good lessons to take into the season. Although they won, they would need to get used to hostile conditions in order to achieve their goals. “I think it’s about getting into good habits. I am a big believer in getting into good habits and playing in the right areas against certain opposition and we did that today. You have to try and work out the opposition in the first 10 minutes and see what they offer as a threat. I think we did that today. We made a slight tweak at half time and put Callum Ibe in a more forward position and I thought that then allowed Dave Cowley start to influence the game more and he started to pick up the second ball well. We are happy with how Tuesday and today have gone, but this is only a start. We need to stay composed and not get to carried away with ourselves moving into the Stansted game on Tuesday.”
A win for Stow on Tuesday would be key to keep up their title push – even at this early stage – but Stansted are always a tough team to beat. “We prepare the same way we do with every game. We need to be in the right mindset before Tuesday. They will be a tough opponent like many teams are in this league like today proved and they will pose threats in different areas but we have to make sure we can stand up and be counted on Tuesday.”