'Magic Murphy' Moment earns Walden all three points.
Stowmarket Town FC 2 - SWTFC 3
17th February 2018
It was the first meeting between these two sides in just over three years, with Walden having gained promotion to the Premier Division two years earlier, but it was Stowmarket who made all the early running, with Mayhew breaking the deadlock after just four minutes.
After Captain Ollie Brown was awarded a penalty, Mayhew buried the spot kick into the corner, beyond the reach of his former Bury Town team mate Neil O’Sullivan, for his 43rd goal of the season.
Stowmarket came close to a second when a slip in defence presented Garrett with a chance to race through on goal, but the winger spurned the opportunity and dragged his effort wide of the target.
Despite conceding an early goal, Walden were beginning to settle into the contest and were back on level terms on 27 minutes, as Charlie Portway fired home the rebound from a shot from new Blood Lewis Francis, which had come back off the post.
The goal seemed to spur Stowmarket back into action as they created more chances to regain their advantage. Anton Clarke’s cross reached Mayhew at the far post and his attempted lob went over O’Sullivan and over the crossbar, before Clarke stung the hands of the Walden goalkeeper with a shot after being played through on the left side.
But just as it looked like the hosts were going to move back in front before the interval, it was Walden who struck on the stroke of half time, as Lewis Francis swung a cross in for the clinical Portway to head home past goalkeeper Craig Brand to give his side the lead.
After the break the home side found it difficult to break through a resolute Walden defence, until the 64th minute when substitute Angelo Harrop’s free kick found Ottley-Gooch and his header was tipped over the bar by O’Sullivan.
Ottley-Gooch headed over from the resultant corner and Mayhew saw an effort slither the wrong side of the post, before Stowmarket’s bright spell was rewarded with an equaliser on 73 minutes, as Ottley-Gooch converted from Dave Cowley’s corner to make it 2-2.
It set up an exciting finale as a resurgent Stowmarket pushed for a winner, while the visitors also threatened to strike again when Murphy almost caught out Brand, who had raced out of his goal, but his lob went inches wide of the top corner.
With five minutes to go, substitute David Kempson’s header was tipped away by O’Sullivan, before Walden struck two minutes later with the winner as Joe Murphy steered the ball past Brand to secure all the points for the Bloods.
MOTM: Charlie Portway
Walden now face Fakenham Town at Caton's Lane on Saturday. The match is being dedicated to the late Paul Daw, who was part of the Bloods for over 50 years
Reported by Alex Moss, Stowmarket Town FC
Title by Stuart Vant (C.)