Mayhew nets first-half hat-trick as Stow increase lead at the top to 15 points
- Credit: Archant
Newmarket Town 2 Stowmarket Town 4
Stowmarket Town tightened their grip on the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title with a 4-2 win away at Newmarket Town on Saturday, one of only two matches to be played in the division due to all the recent rain.
A first-half hat trick from Josh Mayhew and a goal by the returning Dave Cowley was enough to seal all three points for the Premier Division leaders on Newmarket's artificial surface, at Cricket Field Road, in front of a big crowd of 470.
Goals from Mark Lovell and Ross Paterson either side of the break pulled Newmarket back into contention, after trailing 3-0, but Cowley's strike put Stow 4-2 up and helped extend their lead at the top to 15 points.
Rick Andrews' side had last tasted defeat in the Premier Division when they visited Newmarket in April, losing 4-1, but they returned for their next trip to the home of the Jockeys on a superb 30-game unbeaten run in the league.
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Mayhew opened the scoring from the spot, after Dean Bowditch had been fouled in the box, on 12 minutes, and the striker doubled his and Stow's tally two minutes later, finishing past Alex Archer after being played through by Jack Ainsley.
Robbie Sweeney struck the crossbar a few minutes later as the visitors continued their bright start, and Mayhew completed his hat trick on 36 minutes, heading home from close range for his 31st goal of the season.
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Newmarket responded instantly with Lovell pulling one back just seconds after the restart, before Paterson struck on 59 minutes as the rejuevnated hosts closed to within one goal and with half-an-hour still to play.
Cowley, on as a second-half substitute and making his first appearance since before Christmas, regained some much-needed breathing space for Stow, slotting home with 12 minutes to go to make it 4-2.
Andrews' side then had to finish the game with 10 men after defender Tom Bullard received a straight red card on 84 minutes, but Stow played out the final minutes to take home all the points and continue their unbeaten league run, and push towards promotion.
With only one other Premier Division fixture surviving the weather at the weekend - at lowly Thetford Town, where Woodbridge Town were the visitors - this victory extends Stow's lead at the top to 15 points, ahead of hosting second-placed Norwich United at Greens Meadow on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).