Walthamstow made it three wins from four, and are now nine unbeaten in the league thanks to a comprehensive victory over strugglers Barkingside.
The game kicked off 20 minutes late due to problems on the Victoria Line, as the teams came out of the changing rooms it became clear that they’d have to deal with one of the worst kit clashes ever seen at Wadham Lodge.
But it was Barkingside who started the game on top, Jake Kenneally hitting the post with a powerful effort following a corner in just the third minute.
From then though, Stow took control. James Peagram had their first good chance, heading wide when well placed to get on the end of a cross from debutant Matt Brinklow.
Craig Pope then headed wide before Rheo Josephs was inches away from getting on the end of a cross from Samrai Gebrai. The ball eventually fell to Brinklow at the back post who rattled the woodwork, his shot taking a slight deflection on its way towards goal. From the resulting corner, Pope again headed wide when well placed.
Barkingside were giving away plenty of free kicks around the box, and Lee Flynn thought he’d put Stow ahead only for former Stag Calvin Petrie to come to his keeper’s rescue, clearing the ball off the line.
Side did have plenty of pace up front and Chris Clark had to be alert on a couple of occasions to save one-on-ones well.
Just before half time Flynn had another free kick saved, with Brinklow putting the follow-up wide.
Goalless at half time, Stow teams of previous seasons would likely have allowed the basement boys Barkingside to have come back into the game, but just over an hour into the game Ryan Maxwell’s men found their stride.
It was Pope who got things moving, winning the ball in midfield before beating four men and laying off the ball to Josephs who crossed to the unmarked Gebrai at the back post who finished with a powerful header.
Barkingside’s heads dropped and from then on it was one way traffic. Josephs had a good chance to make it two before Peagram’s fluffed effort fell straight to Gebrai who lashed the ball home off the crossbar.
Gebrai and Owusu then both had chances either blocked or saved, and Peagram had a freekick denied by Breckenridge’s fingertips in the Barkingside goal and Pope somehow volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy at the back post.
As the game entered injury time, Stow made sure of three points. Gebrai robbed Jerry Lyons – who he’d given a torrid evening – then cut the ball back to Owusu who smashed it into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
And deep into injury time it was four, Brinklow rounding off a fine first start for the club with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Got that: pic.twitter.com/w5GryNvvjA
— Matthew Holmes (@matthewailin) October 17, 2018
Even with eight players unavailable, it was a superb performance from Stow, and will go into Saturday’s game with Southend Manor full of confidence.