Stow made it two wins from two under the management of Vinny Murphy, at a Wadham Lodge which found its voice again. There was a debut for Kevin Songolo, and Harrison Carnegie returned to the starting XI for the first time since April 2022.
It was a slow start to the game, with Wanderers looking to play the ball out from the back and Stow choosing their moments as when to pressure. They almost picked well after 18 minutes when Callum Ibe closed goalkeeper Craig Brand. Brand’s clearance was straight at Ibe, but by the time Ibe was able to bring the ball down and shoot, Brand had recovered and saved well one-on-one.
Stow could have been a goal up, but instead they found themselves a goal down almost immediately. From Ibe’s missed chance, Wanderers broke and Rashid Salau scored with a neat finish after being put in by Byron Lawrence.
But Stow stuck to their plan, and were rewarded with five first half minutes to play. Jared Small brought the ball forward from right back and found Bilal Sayoud who was able to turn and free up a yard of space on the edge of the Wanderers box. His curling effort struck the back of skipper Tyler Corlett, totally wrong-footing Craig Brand and sailing into the top corner. There was a certain amount of good fortune to the finish, but it was Sayoud’s intricate play which gave him the opportunity.
Tempers flared up just before half time when Jason Beck and Salau scrapped it out following a series of corners. But both sets of teams seemed to be more focused on calming things down, and half time came at just the right moment to avoid any real confrontation.
Wanderers started the second half on top, but after seeing out a ten minute spell of pressure, Stow started to control the game again. They could have been ahead when Brand parried a Beck shot straight to Jordon Watson who tapped in, but the Stow skipper was judged to have been offside. Video replay would suggest Watson was unfortunate to be have been flagged.
It took until the 74th minute for Stow to make the breakthrough, but it was well-deserved when it came. Adalberto Pinto chipped a ball over the Wanderers defence, which Moses got to ahead of Corlett, and then beat Brand too, who had been shaky away from his goal line all afternoon. The ball dropped straight into path of debutant Samson Uwandu who took a moment to steady himself and drove the ball into the bottom corner.
In previous weeks Stow had been guilty of throwing games away at the death, but there was no sense of danger that this would happen today, as a confident defensive performance limited Wanderers to a couple of tame long-range efforts in the dying moments.
Image: Bill Badger