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Finch swoops with Stowmarket winner in a close encounter at Long Melford

PUBLISHED: 21:49 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 21:49 09 October 2019

Long Melford keeper, Matt Walker, smothers a downward header from Tom Bullard during the first half. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Long Melford keeper, Matt Walker, smothers a downward header from Tom Bullard during the first half. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Long Melford 0 Stowmarket Town 1

Long Melford prepare to defend another Stowmarket corner, with home keeper Matt Walker patrolling his near post. Picture: CARL MARSTONLong Melford prepare to defend another Stowmarket corner, with home keeper Matt Walker patrolling his near post. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Christy Finch swept home a 61st minute winner to seal Stowmarket Town's safe passage through to the quarter-finals of the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup, although they found hosts Long Melford a tough nut to crack at Stoneylands tonight.

Finch converted Robbie Sweeney's low cross to continue Stow's fine start to the season, although Rick Andrews' men were made to work hard for their victory.

Long Melford defended very well in the first half, despite only threatening occasionally at the other end of the pitch.

A stray pass by Jack Ainsley did give the Villagers a half-chance on the quarter-hour mark, although Nathan Rowe was unable to divert home the cross at the far post.

Stowmarket's Dave Cowley prepares to deliver a free-kick into the danger zone. Picture: CARL MARSTONStowmarket's Dave Cowley prepares to deliver a free-kick into the danger zone. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Stowmarket had a lot of the ball, but without giving home keeper, Matt Walker, too much to do. Tom Bullard, off balance, did head goalwards from an 18th minute corner which Walker smothered down on his knees.

The visitors peppered the target in the 25th minute, as shots by George Clarke and Ainsley were charged down, and from the ensuing corner, Dan Smith did well to clear off his goal-line.

Stow had a chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark. Finch powered into the box on a strong run and squared for Ainsley, who ballooned his shot over the bar from close-in.

Walker did well to get down to his left, to punch away Dave Cowley's inswinging free-kick from in front of his near upright, but otherwise Melford looked comfortable up to half-time.

Long Melford defended well during the first half against Stowmarket Town, keeper Matt Walker handing out instructions. Picture: CARL MARSTONLong Melford defended well during the first half against Stowmarket Town, keeper Matt Walker handing out instructions. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Jamie Griffiths had appeals for a penalty turned down, on 50 minutes, as the Villagers looked to pose more of a threat up front.

At the other end, Joe Jefford headed straight at Walker when it seemed easier to score, on the hour mark, although Stow did take the lead just seconds later, thanks to Finch's powerful finish. That proved the decisive moment.

Squads

LONG MELFORD: Walker, Smith (sub Pether, 83), Judge (sub, Jackson, 46) Swain, R Waugh, A Waugh, Rowe, Brown, Adams (sub Bayliss, 46), Griffiths, Hemson. Unused subs: Chisholm, Bradbury.

STOWMARKET: Bradbrook, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Bullard, Jefford, Sweeney, Quantrell, G Clarke, Finch Cowley. Unused subs: Read, Mayhew, A Clarke, Robinson.

- Holders Leiston progressed into the quarter-finals thanks to a 3-1 win at Woodbridge Town.

Rob Eagle netted a third minute penalty, and Rhys Henry doubled the lead from Kyle Hammond's pass (35). Henry netted his second and Leiston's third with a volley from Will Davies' cross (61). Andy Rudge scored a consolation for the Woodpeckers in the 78th minute.

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