Walthamstow turned in a high-energy performance to complete a 5-1 rout over local rivals West Essex.

Stow’s pressing and intensity was right straight from the off, and were duly rewarded in an evening when everything they touch turned to goals.

But it was the home side who held onto more of the ball in the opening few minutes, forcing a couple of half-chances.

At the other end, Junior Appiah – who was a constant threat to the West Essex defence – was able to cut a low ball back to James Peagram, who was the bundled over in the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but after some discussion with the linesman, only showed the offending defender a yellow card. Christian Owusu stepped up and smashed home the penalty.

West Essex were looking dangerous on set pieces, and James Harkin had to be alert to track back and tip a looping header over.

But Stow were equally dangerous from dead-ball situations, and doubled their lead with just over half an hour played. Lee Flynn’s corner was flicked on by Craig Pope to Jack Leachman, who’s goal-bound effort was turned in on the line by Owusu for his second.

The home side came out with renewed vigour in the second half, and after Stow missed two excellent chances, were rewarded with an hour played when Symeon Taylor ran through on goal and slotted neatly past Harkin.

But Stow ramped up the pressure again and were soon rewarded when a loose ball fell to Leachman following a corner. Captain Jack’s volley was deflected on the line, but only into the back of the net.

Three became four not long after, when Owusu was again in the right place to turn in a goal-bound Leachman effort, completing his hattrick.

The icing on the cake came when Appiah’s cross was turned into his own net by a home defender.

Stow now go into Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Walsham-Le-Willows full of confidence.

Image: Marc Oliver