West Essex 1-1 Stow

Stow were left to rue missed chances, having to settle for a point against West Essex. The game was switched to Barking FC’s Mayesbrook Park at the eleventh hour, due to the Wadham Lodge pitch being waterlogged.

Stow started the game on top, and thought they were 1-0 up after just a few minutes, with Jason Hallett nodding in at the back post. However, the referee blew for an alleged push from Hallett – a replay showing the decision was incredibly generous, at best. Still celebrating, Stow were caught out by a quick free kick, as Bell – who appeared to be considerably offside – finished with a lobbed effort from well outside the box.

The goal didn’t change the pattern of the game, as Stow continued to pepper the West Essex goal. Callum Ibe had a one-on-one effort saved, before Jason Beck clipped the crossbar with a volley from the edge of the box. Michael Osei was then denied by a superb diving save, from which the resulting corner was cleared off the line.

Stow were beginning to get frustrated with the decisions going against them though, as Hallett was brought down when through on goal, and then Ibe having the same treatment, and despite the referee seemingly about to blow for a foul, play continued.

Just before the break, Stow got the goal they deserved, Charlie Cole finding the far corner with a delicate volley after a superb passing move involving Osei and Hallett.

The second half continued in the same way as the first, with Stow on top but unable to find a breakthrough, and being frustrated by the decisions going against them. Huge shouts went up for a hand ball, a back pass and then a foul on Ibe, but the closest Stow came was when Hallett and Beck both had headers cleared off the line a couple of seconds apart.

And when Charlie Cole was grapped in a headlock by the West Essex keeper, bringing him to the ground as he was about to head towards goal, with no foul given, it was clear that it was going to be ‘one of those games’.

Despite not picking up the victory Stow will happy with the number of chances created, and another point that saw them go into the new year twelve points clear at the top of the table.

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