Nicky Ironton got his first win as Stow manager thanks to a well-organised team performance against Didcot Town. There were three changes from the side which lost to AFC Dunstable last week, with Kai Davis coming from Hanwell Town to make his debut, and Shawn Joseph and Damaray Anyadike returning to the starting line-up.
It was a tight game of few chances, but the visitors had the first shot on goal, with James Glover firing from long range, drawing a comfortable save out of Brad Robinson in the Stow goal.
But as the first half went on, Stow found their feet, and found space down both wings. Anyadike and Matthew Campbell-Mhlope were looking dangerous, and it was the latter who had Stow’s first chance of the game, breaking down the left but firing straight at Leigh Bedwell, when perhaps cutting the ball back across goal may have been the better option. In the same passage of play Callum Ibe headed just over.
The only goal of the game would come from the opposite wing; Anyadike and Davis worked the ball well down the right, with the former eventually cutting back to Dan Brock who fired in a low shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. Bedwell should have done better, seemingly getting down in time to parry the shot, but his claims that his view was blocked by an offisde player were waved away by the referee.
A triple-substitution from Didcot did little to change the game; Stow had more of the ball, but were largely thwarted by a resolute Didcot defence. Stow’s only other chance of the game was when Mekai Charles-Armstrong flashed a ball across goal, with Anyadike inches away from sliding in at the back post.
Stow worked hard for their win, particularly with seven minutes of injury time played, but the coolest man in Wadham Lodge was Robinson who twice grabbed deep crosses in front of 20 other players in the Stow box. One last clearance upfield gave the referee the opportunity to low the whistle, and secure the first of what his hopefully many points to come for this new-look Stow team.
Photos by Bill Badger.