Stow added to their recent history of FA Cup upsets with a commanding win against Isthmian North side Hullbridge Sports.
With four former Hullbridge players in the Stow squad, and two former Stow boys in Sports’ team, there was always going to be a bit of an edge to the game, and it started off at a furious pace.
It was the visitors, from a level above, who had the best of the opening chances. Nathan Scarborough had a header cleared off the line before heading out for a throw when unmarked six yards out.
This proved to be something of a turning point in the first half, as Stow grew in belief and started to take the game to Sports.
The deadlock was broken on 26 minutes when Ollie Sotoyinbo sent Lewis Greene the wrong way from the penalty spot, after Courtney Homans had been brought down clumsily in the box when put in by Connor Scully.
Jason Beck clipped the outside of the post with a header from a corner, but the rest of the half played out without any real chances for either side.
As with the first half, Hullbridge started on top and looked to break the game down and stop Stow from playing with any real tempo.
Michael Mignot had two good chances for Hullbridge, one saved well by Amarildo Cekrezi and one denied by a superb Tommy Fletcher block.
Stow confirmed their place in the hat for the next round with an inspired substitution. Yemi Adelani had only been on the pitch a matter of second when Tommy Spillane won the ball back in midfield, and played it forward to Scully. In space, Scully played a perfectly weighted through ball to Adelani who rolled the ball coolly past his former teammate Greene.
It was almost 3-0 a minute later, when Adelani again finished, but it was ruled out for a high foot.
The game always had the potential to boil over, but it must be said that referee Gary Connell managed the two sides brilliantly and kept everyone in order.
Once Stow had their second goal, the game was all but over as a contest, and for the final 20 minutes controlled the game without any trouble.