Walthamstow continued their unbeaten run in the league with a strong performance and win against Ilford in what was a fiery and well-contested game. The win saw Walthamstow move up to 6th in the Essex Senior League with a couple of games in hand over the teams above.
It was a quick start for both sides but Walthamstow had the earliest chances. Benji Crilley had a header blocked and deflected out for a corner before Callum Ibe got his first goal for Stow from the resulting corner with an overhead kick.
There was a possibly game changing moment when a clash between Crilley and an Ilford player saw both players get booked.
Ilford’s first attempt on goal came around the 20th minute but the shot was fired over. Walthamstow continued to dominate the first half and were unlucky not to be further ahead. Callum Ibe tried another overhead kick from a corner but put it just wide before Emiel Aiken tried to score from a tight angle but it was tame shot and the goalkeeper saved comfortably. Just before Half-time, Ilford were reduced to 10 men when Nick Keyamo kicked out off the ball.
Despite a couple of further chances for the home side, the teams went into the break with Stow winning 1-0.
It was a quick start from Stow in the second half and they had a penalty shout within 2 minutes of the restart when Emiel Aiken was dragged down but the referee waved away all shouts.
Somehow, Ilford had kept themselves in the game with Stow having a number of chances. Callum Ibe ran with the ball and got a shot off but it was blocked before two chances for Dwade James failed to find the back of the net; one of his shots was deflected just over the bar before a touch towards goal wasn’t enough to guide the ball in.
Emiel Aiken thought he had doubled Walthamstow’s lead and scored his first goal this season when he tapped the ball past Morgan Kealy after a good save but the linesman ruled him offside to cut short all celebrations.
A minute later, Callum Ibe doubled Stow’s lead with his second of the game when he knocked the ball past the keeper from close range. Ilford had a rare chance when they fired a shot over the bar before the domination continued for Walthamstow.
Callum Ibe was denied his hattrick with a fantastic save from Morgan Kealy before Dwade James headed just over the bar. Despite chances for both sides, the game ended 2-0 to Walthamstow.
Speaking after the game, Gus Douglas said “It Quite disappointing and the less said about it the better. Although we feel disappointed, we did get the win. The second half was more how we want to play and what Maxy wants. The first half was disappointing and we will try to forget about it.
“Well done to Ilford who came with a game plan of giving it a go, unlike others who have sat back and it worked for large spells of the first half.
“We weren’t at it from the 1st whistle and it showed. And need to get used to teams coming to us and upping their games, as we are team players want to be at and players want to impress Maxy and Simmo.”
“Credit their keeper at keeping the score down, as could easily have been 5.
[When asked about Saturday’s FA Cup game] “I don’t really know much about the opposition so I imagine they are much like us. Similar and I expect them to work hard but we will work harder. If we stick to our game plan, I’m sure we’ll get a result.”