Stow had to wait until Wednesday to get their Essex Senior League campaign underway for another season, but it was a worthwhile delay as a blistering quarter of an hour in the second half blew away league new boys White Ensign.
It was a bright start from Stow, forcing a number of set pieces around the Ensign box, and having two big penalty appeals turned down. But with ten minutes played, one of those appeals resulted in Ensign breaking and being awarded a penalty of their own. Amarildo Cekrezi guessed the right way, but Luke Skinner’s effort was far too powerful, leaving him no chance.
Stow continued to press, and were rewarded on the half-hour mark, when Connor Scully was in the right place to lash home a loose ball from the edge of the box after Adalberto Pinto’s initial effort was well blocked.
But Stow failed to build on this, and were again caught on the break, with Dom Locke running onto a loose ball and deftly chipping the on-rushing Cekrezi.
There was clearly no reason for John Mackie and Terry Spillane’s men to panic, and they started the second half with just a little more nous and understanding.
It was debutant Jason Hallett, who only singed on Monday, who made the difference. He brought Stow level with a composed finish despite being brought down in the process, and then gave his side the lead with a tap-in from six yards after Harrison Carnegie put it on a plate.
And to cap off a rampant 15 minutes, Hallett flicked on to Ollie Sotoyinbo who left a defender in his wake with an excellent drag-back before firing into the bottom corner. The goal was all thanks to Michael Osei’s endeavour though, winning the ball back in midfield and launching a perfect cross for Hallett.
With Stow now 4-2 up, the game settled into something of a lull, but that didn’t stop two Ensign players being booked for off-the-ball incidents, and one sent to the sin bin.
Carnegie rounded off an excellent second half with a cross that evaded everyone and crept in at the back post.
Stow will know there’s plenty to work on in the coming games, but the manner of the second 45 gave the traveling fans reason for optimism.