Walthamstow continued their unbeaten run and reached the second qualifying round of the FA Cup as they beat Aylesbury United at the Meadow, the home of Chesham United. It was certainly a home feel to the tie with the support and it was clear leagues didn’t matter as the underdog came out on top.
Both sides tried to get off to the best start but neither side really dominated. The first real action of the game saw Walthamstow get a penalty after Samrai Gebrai was challenged and brought down in the box. New-boy Callum Ibe stepped up to take the penalty as Dwade James was on the bench but it was saved by Jack Hopwood.
Despite the penalty miss, Stow continued to pressure and Emiel Aiken’s shot hit the hand of an Aylesbury player but all shouts were waved away before Callum Ibe pressured the keeper who dropped the ball into the net but a free-kick was give the home sides way.
The first goal of the game came when Danny McCullock slotted home from close range. A shot from Samrai Gebrai was parried by the keeper before Danny managed to pick up the ball and score. Stow found themselves two-nil up when the goalscorer Danny McCullock was brought down and the visitors were awarded another penalty. This time Billy Jones stepped up and converted it to increase the Stags lead. Despite a chance for Aylesbury right at the end of the first half, Stow went in to the break leading 2-0.
Aylesbury certainly looked like scoring right after the interval when they had a header and a scramble in the box but neither chances were converted with the scrambled saved by the feet of James Bransgrove. Things went from bad to worse as Walthamstow scored the third of the game. It came from another penalty – Stow’s third – as Callum Ibe was brought down in the box, having had his feet taken from under him. Samrai Gebrai stepped up and scored as he joined in on the action.
The 3-0 lead certainly gave Stow confidence and were unlucky not to be further ahead. Samrai Gebrai was through on goal but curled wide before Dwade James couldn’t keep the ball in play.
Aylesbury had an opportunity with ten minutes to grab a goal back but the shot was blocked and deflected for a corner but nothing came from the resulting corner. Samrai Gebrai almost grabbed a brace right at the end when he was played through by the Aylesbury keeper did well to save and the game ended 2-0.
When speaking to Stow manager Ryan Maxwell, he said “I think it was brilliant from start to finish. The score line was kind on the opposition – no disrespect to them – with us missing a penalty and one on ones. At the end of the day it was away from home and they were a league above, so I’m delighted.”
“Didn’t I say in the last interview we were going to win? I did. I’m incredibly proud of them. This group of players have something special as you can tell. They are certainly a special bunch of lads with a great attitude and the fans are great as well.”
[When asked about the next round] “I’m hoping for a home tie against anybody. If we get a game at home then my money is on us. This is going to be a hell of a team to beat and I want them to continue learning and experiencing games like this.”