Goals from Lewis Francis and Benji Crilley saw Stow come from a goal down to beat Hoddesdon Town by two goals to one as Walthamstow moved back into second ahead of Takeley. Stow were looking for a response and a better result following Saturday’s loss to Hashtag United.
Both sides tried to get off to a quick start and the first opportunity went to Stow as Dwade James wrestled his way through the defence but was denied by the keeper. Hoddesdon Town were lucky not to be reduced to ten men a minute later when Jack Riddle brought down Callum Ibe as the last man but the referee showed a yellow card instead. The resulting free-kick from Billy Jones was shot just wide before the visitors had an opportunity but Joss Lillis saw his shot go wide of the target.
Walthamstow dominated in the first half but couldn’t find the breakthrough. Dwade James wrestled through the defence once again but shot across the face of goal before Jamie Bennett was almost played through but Simon Dent did well to collect the ball.
As the game approached the end of the first half, Stow were unlucky not to be ahead. A shot was Danny McCullock was parried into the pa th of Dwade James who couldn’t get the ball out of his feet before Callum Ibe saw his shot saved by the keeper after pouncing onto a loose ball and Dwade James was played through but shot straight at the keeper.
Hoddesdon tried to play the ball through the defence but James Bransgrove did well to collect the ball and extinguish the danger whilst a penalty shout for the visitors was ignored by the referee. Despite a couple of headers and through balls, the referee blew for half-time and the teams went into the break level.
It was a fast start from Hoddesdon as the second half began with James Bransgrove forced into two blocks within the opening minute. Despite a good run and cross from Callum Ibe, it was the visitors who took the lead when a free-kick from Isaac Marfo-Jacobs was fired into the top corner – out of reach for Bransgrove.
Despite Town taking the lead, it was Walthamstow who dominated. Lewis Francis tried to volley at the far post from a corner but sent his shot just wide before Dwade James latched onto a loose back pass but the keeper did well to get out quickly once again and cleared the ball.
Hoddesdon were almost two up but a shot rattled the crossbar before being cleared. The equaliser finally came for Stow in the 82nd minute when Dwade James played a ball across the face of goal for Lewis Francis to tap in. The home side wanted the victory and kept pushing for the second goal. A corner was headed just wide by Jamie Bennett before two shots from Emiel Aiken were blocked off the line by Hoddesdon Town.
The resistance was broken in the 89th minute when Benji Crilley smashed the ball into the roof of the net after a goal-mouth scramble.
Despite a chance for Dwade James which was cleared off the line, over ten minutes of added time and Hoddesdon pushing for an equaliser, the referee brought the game to an end to confirm Stow’s win.
Speaking to Stow manager Ryan Maxwell after the game, he said “It was a superb first half and I can’t fault my boys. We should have come in 3-nil up but we didn’t and went out cold in the second half. They nearly score from a corner then we concede a free-kick on the edge of the area and it’s an absolutely fantastic strike – I have to applaud that. Apart from conceding the free-kick, we showed character and I am proud of them for that. It was a massive win.”
[Coming back from 1-0 down, is this something they can learn from and take into other games?] “100%. Games like this are critical. They galvanise the team. The morale, character and desire was all there to be seen in the second half. We had chances to get more than two and on the balance of play, we deserved to batter them but football is not always like that.”
[West Essex next, how do you prepare and approach that game?] “A few boys have played a number of games so we will have a light session this week. I’ll take stock of who’s injured and tired but mentally, we will prepare the same. We will travel with a positive frame of mind and go there looking to win.”