St Margaretsbury 0-2 Stow

Stow took three points on the road and made it four clean sheets in a row with a composed performance against St Margaretsbury. The Stow defence remained in control throughout the game, but the long St Mags grass limited what the blues could do going forward.

It was another bright start from Stow, and after a period of pressure, it paid off. The ball was worked well around the box, allowing Connor Scully to drive in a low effort from the edge of the area which was tipped wide by North. The resulting corner was cleared, but only to Scully who clipped in a perfect ball for Tommy Fletcher to head home his first of the season.

Jason Hallett then went close, beating two defenders with one turn and wrapping the foot of the post with a powerful shot.

The game then meandered into a bit of a lull, only for Scully to light it up again five minutes before the break. His great first touch to control a long ball gave him the space to turn a St Mags defender and made headway into the box. When he got there, he was swiped down by two more defenders, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Just like Saturday, Ollie Sotoyinbo did what was needed from 12 yards, sending North the wrong way.

The home side came out with far more impetus at the start of the second half, but still found it difficult to get through the Stow defence. They were limited to long-range efforts and hopeful crosses.

Unable to play the ball on the ground, Stow also resorted to long-ball tactics, and on a couple of occasions Jason Beck found Hallett, but he was repeatedly thwarted by Hayden who had the habit of making some excellent last-ditch tackles.

St Mags did get through once, when Adewuyi met a long ball over the top, but Amarildo Cekrezi was quick off his line to save well with his feet. In the dying moments of the game Lemba beat Courtney Homans for the first time all evening, but under pressure from the Stow defender, blazed high and wide from a tight angle.

There was almost time for Stow to add a third when Yemi Adelani was played through, but North was there again – taking a moment away from chatting to the Stow supporters – to save brilliantly with his feet.

Stow will take great positives from a potential banana-skin, especially after Saturday’s FA Cup heroics and a difficult playing surface.

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