Freak header helps Stow to win
SOCCER: Ipswich Athletic 1 Stowmarket 2. Athletic who had put out Whitton and Woodbridge Town in previous rounds looked well on their way to victory at Notcutts Park until a freak header in the 75th minute put the Jewson Premier high flyers back in the Churchman Cup final.
Ipswich Athletic 1 Stowmarket 2
ATHLETIC who had put out Whitton and Woodbridge Town in previous rounds looked well on their way to victory at Notcutts Park until a freak header in the 75th minute put the Jewson Premier high flyers back in the Churchman Cup final.
Calver in attempting to help on a goal kick from his own keeper Johns could only watch as the ball somehow came back off his head and over his own defenders for Jopling who took full advantage.
Athletic had gone in front with a bizarre goal themselves in the 13th minute. Mills took a free kick in a central position fully 40 yards from goal and sent in a tremendous low shot through a packed area.
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Keeper Nunn positioned himself well but let the ball slip through his hands into the net.
Athletic grew in confidence as the game progressed and Stow were decidedly off colour in the rain.
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Nunn nearly made a hash of a swirling cross from Howard and then presented Howard with a clear opening from a back pass but the ball cannoned off the striker for a goal kick.
Ford was a thorn in Stowmarket's side with his darting runs and Mark Barnard was lucky to avoid a red card after a scuffle with the young striker on the ground.
In the second period Athletic continued to impress and Nunn made up for his earlier errors keeping Stow from going further behind with point blank saves from Ford and Beddoes.
When Bryant finally got behind Athletics' defence he lifted the ball over the bar and when he did get on target Johns saved well with his legs.
After the equaliser at last Stow put pressure on Athletic and the inevitable came in the 85th minute.
Pannell crossed deeply to the far post and Jopling who had drifted off his marker headed in the winner.
Athletic threw on all three subs but there was no way back and they were left regretting not putting themselves out of reach with their earlier chances.