Walthamstow continued their unbeaten run during pre-season with a good win over Clapton CFC in a game which was played under testing conditions with the heat and many first team players playing twice in three days.
Both teams had small spells of early possession but it was Walthamstow who had the earliest chance when Ben Crilley headed just wide from a corner. The pressure continued from Stow with Ollie Fortune having two opportunities to break the deadlock; he tried his luck from distance but saw the ball fly over before he hit the post as he was 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper.
There was a penalty shout for Walthamstow when Dwade James went down in the box but the referee waved all protests away and Stow couldn’t benefit from the advantage.
Against run of play, Clapton had a chance to take the lead but the ball hit the inside of the post but somehow stayed out before Walthamstow cleared.
Walthamstow wondered how they hadn’t scored as they continued to attack the Clapton goal. A ball was played across the face of goal but no one was close enough to tap the ball in and Ollie Fortune dragged a shot just wide before the ball was flicked onto the crossbar to deny Stow. Despite the chances, the teams went into the interval level.
It was all Walthamstow in the opening minutes of the second half and a chance fell Stow’s way but a close-range shot was blasted over the bar. It was Ollie Fortune who finally broke the deadlock as he headed the ball into the goal from close-range following a Ryan Reed corner.
Minutes later, James got the best of the defence and fizzed a delighting ball across the face of goal but it was just missed by Fortune who couldn’t have his second of the game before Reed tried an acrobatic effort but sent the ball wide.
Clapton equalised on the 65th minute when a free-kick was fired past Bransgrove into the top corner. It didn’t take Walthamstow long to regain the lead as Sylvester tapped the ball in from a Ryan Reed free-kick almost immediately after the restart.
Walthamstow introduced a number of youngsters from Ryan FC into the mix and they certainly didn’t look out of place.
Stow could have killed the game off with two great chances but the ball failed to end up in the back of the net. Clapton had a chance right at the death when a shot was flashed across goal but despite it, the game finished 2-1.
Speaking after the game, manager Ryan Maxwell said “It was a good game which I really enjoyed. I didn’t put too much pressure of the boys for this one as my main objective was to blood the Ryan FC lads. We finished the game with about 7 teenagers on the pitch and still managed to come away with a win so I’m happy and the boys should be proud.”
[When asked how the Ryan FC boys did] “they impressed me very much. It is difficult coming into a team when you don’t know anyone but they did great. I will put any youngsters into the team if they are good enough and will now have one eye on U18’s to see who I can bring into the team”
[When asked about Saturday’s game] “It’s going to be a tough game and I think everyone knows they are favourites to win their league. We won’t prepare for it any different to any other game and we will be ready. Me and the boys are looking forward to a good contest”