A second half goal was enough to see Walthamstow beat Canvey Island and continue their unbeaten run as the Isthmian League North side visited Wadham Lodge. Both sides fought in what was a very competitive game and both sides had some good chances.
It was the home side who got off to the best and quickest start and they were on the front foot from the first minute. There was an early penalty shout for Stow when Jack Folan was kicked but it was waved away by the referee.
Emiel Aiken had the first chance of the game when Samrai Gebrai pulled the ball back but it was hit over from a few yards out.
Walthamstow dominated the first half and were unlucky not to be ahead when Billy Jones was denied by the goalkeeper after he ran through on goal before Ben Crilley’s shot was blocked off the line.
Looking for the breakthrough Jack Grosvenor came close when he got his head to a corner but it went just wide before Jack Folan ran in on a low cross but it was hit over.
Canvey had their opportunities in the first half but couldn’t find a breakthrough themselves. A cross was too close to Bransgrove and their number 10 hit a shot just over the bar. Both sides had free-kicks towards the end of the half but nothing came of them and the sides went into the break level.
Walthamstow dominated the opening minutes of the second half too and were unlucky not to be ahead straightaway. A header at the far post was just missed by JJ De Cruz before a cross hit the top of the bar and out for a goal-kick. Jones was unlucky not to have scored when his volley rattled the crossbar before Ollie Fortune’s follow-up was saved by former Stow stopper Lamar Johnson in the Canvey goal.
The visitors found a short foothold in the game and had a couple of chances but couldn’t find the goal they seeked. Their number 11 was played through on goal but was denied by the foot of Bransgrove before a flick on from a free-kick was sent wide of the target.
The pressure eventually paid off for the home side when a Ryan Reed free-kick was flicked into the goal with a backheel.
As the second half went on, Canvey Island began to have a strong presence in the game and were on top. A number of their chances were sent wide and others were blocked. They came closest when a shot was somehow deflected over James Bransgrove.
Walthamstow had another penalty shout when Fortune was bundled to the ground but again the referee waved it away. A free-kick for Canvey was straight at the wall before the follow up was sent wide as the game ended 1-0.
Speaking after the game, Walthamstow manager Ryan Maxwell said “I am pleased with a number of things. One of them was our fitness. The fitness levels were good and the boys looked strong so I’m pleased with that. There is a week and a half until the start of the season so as a collective it was good and the result was great. We could have easily scored more goals – no disrespect to Canvey.”
[When asked about the quick turnaround for Thursday] Ryan said “some of the boys will not be playing but instead will be at Wadham Lodge training. We recently linked up with Ryan FC so I will be looking to play a few of their players so they can experience football at a senior level. It will be a good mix of first team players and youth players.”
Match photos coming soon.