Goals from Dwade James, Callum Ibe and Emmanuel Shoderu meant Walthamstow reached the next round of the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy after they eased past Harlow Town Reserves. The game marked the first game for new manager Max Mitchell who got off to the perfect start.
It was a quick start from Walthamstow who were unlucky not to be ahead in the opening minutes when shots from Dwade James and Callum Ibe were blocked. Despite the strong start from Stow, they struggled to break down the Harlow Reserves who tried to defend as well as they could. A shot from Vinny Murphy from the edge of the box was fired just wide before Callum Ibe fired a shot over and Robert Horgan caught a ball well with James and Jason Beck attacking the ball.
Town’s first shot of the match came in the 13th minute but the effort was fired over the bar. The pressure from Walthamstow continued but they struggled to find a breakthrough. Lewis Francis squared a ball to Ibe but his touch the ball just wide before Dwade James rolled a shot just wide of the post after being played through. The dominance eventually paid off when Dwade James got his first goal of the night. After some good play, Connor Scully squared a ball to Dwade James who tap it in. Stow were unlucky not to be further ahead when Dwade James didn’t quite connect with a header but just 4 minutes after the opening goal, he had his second after he found himself unmarked and headed the ball past Horgan.
Just before the half-time break, Lewis Francis headed the ball just past the far post before James completed his hattrick when he rose above a defender at a corner and headed it past the keeper.
The second half started with Walthamstow continuing their press. After a good battle between Francis and Bobby Breen, the former’s shot was parried away. A couple of minutes later, Callum Ibe added Stow’s fourth of the night after a mix-up in defence allowed his to run the ball into the net, unchallenged.
Despite being comfortably ahead, a lapse in concentration saw Town pull a goal back when a good run allowed the attacker to fire a shot in, which crept under the keeper. Walthamstow didn’t let off and they continued to dominate the play. Callum Ibe had a good chance to get his second but he skied a pull-back from Lewis Francis before wrestling his way through but being denied by Robert Horgan who made a good save.
Dwade James scored his fourth of the night and Walthamstow’s fifth when he showed his pace to race away from the Harlow defence and rounded the keeper before smashing it into the net. The encouragement for the hosts continued but they couldn’t extend their lead. Dwade James had a shot deflected over the bar before Michael Osei found himself with space in the opposition box but fired his shot over and Lewis Francis dragged a free-kick just wide.
With 5 minutes left to play, Emmanuel Shoderu fired a shot at goal but saw his effort rattle the crossbar and bounce on the line. After a discussion between the linesman and referee, the goal was awarded. Despite Shoderu coming close to scoring a second and Stow being denied a penalty after Francis was tripped, the game was brought to an end.