Mike Lester and Bobby Stokes scored goals six minutes apart in the second half today to lift the Washington Diplomats to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Sting in North American Soccer League action.

The victory gives Washington a 2-3 record.

The Diplomats remain in last place in the Eastern Division, but are only one point behind third-place New York.

The first half was scoreless with only seven shots taken as much of the action took place at midfield. With just under four minutes elapsed in the second half. Stokes shot from point-blank range, but Sting goalie Mervyn Cawston stopped it. The ball bounced back in front of Lester who was 20 feet out in the left corner. Lester then tapped the ball back in before Cawston could recover.

Six minutes later Jim Redfern passed the ball to Mark Liverie, who then found Stokes in the right corner, about 40 feet out. Stokes' shot went in unchallenged to give the Diplomats a 2-0 lead.

Jon Kowalik, on a pass from Jim Lemon, headed in a shot for Chicago's only goal with 77:19 clasped. It was only the second goal of the season for the Sting, now 0-4.

Washington was outshot. 11-9, by the Sting. Diplomat goalie Eric Martin and Cawston each recorded three saves.

Jim Steele and Roy Willner turned in fine defensive efforts for Washington. In cold, blustery weather, the crowd was 2.015.

Stokes, a 26-year-old striker from Southampton, England, arrived in Washington Thursday.

"I'd always fancied coming here to the States to play some day and right now I'm still a little tired from all the traveling," said Stokes.

"But anything you win," he quickly added, "that makes you feel a lot better."