Walthamstow kept up their outside chances of a league title with a 2-0 win over Stanway Rovers, their second win over the Colchester club in five days.
If their victory on Saturday was somewhat lumbered, Stow made up for it early, coming out of the traps like the proverbial freight train.
Marcus Bowers’ long throws were a threat all evening, and Stow forced Peter Haxell into two gave saves within the first five minutes – first Craig Pope’s curling effort was well dealt with, then Haxell had to drive at full stretch to claw away a misdirected header from the visiting defence.
But only a minute later, Stow were ahead. Dwade James latched onto a lofted Craig Pope free kick, took a touch and hit a superb, dipping half-volley on the turn, leaving Haxell no chance.
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A quick free-kick routine almost caught Stanway out, Samrai Gebrai cutting back to a Stanway defender who almost bundled the ball into his own net. Correy Davidson then went close with a curling effort from just outside the box.
Stow’s second came after another long throw. The initial aerial missile was dealt with by the Stanway defence, but the ball eventually fell to Pope whose cross was blocked back into the path of Bowers. Bowers steadied himself before sending in a superb cross for captain Reece Conway to tower above his defender and head home.
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Stow then took their foot off the pedal a bit, allowing the visiting side to see more of the ball. Two snap-shots from the edge of the box were well dealt with in between more good chances for Stow, the best coming when Bowers clipped the outside of the post with a powerful effort from just inside the box.
Stanway’s best chance was almost a goal of the season contender. A loose ball fell to Spillane, just inside the centre circle, and his first time volley was superbly saved by Bransgrove as it headed for the top corner.
The second half was a far more pedestrian affair, with Davidson and James both having good chances to add to Stow’s lead before Mbamarah was shown a second yellow card for Stanway.
Olly Fortune, Jack Folan and Gebrai all had good chances following the sending off, but a superb start and a sixth clean sheet in seven games lifts Stow up to third in the table.