Goals from Vinny Murphy, Dwade James and Callum Ibe saw Walthamstow return to second and remain within three points of Saffron Walden Town as they beat Takeley on Saturday. Not only did the teams battle hard on the pitch but they also had to deal with windy conditions that made it difficult.
It was a strong start from Walthamstow but their earlier chances were defended well by the hosts whilst Takeley also had an early chance but the shot was fired over. Walthamstow took the lead after 6 minutes when a cross from Vinny Murphy sailed over everyone, hit the post and went in. A minute later, Dwade James was almost played through but Ronald Yates did well to come out and collect.
Although possession was dominated by the Stags, Takeley has their fair share of chances. A free header was sent wide of the goal by Ollie Miles and a free-kick from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Charlie Mann.
Callum Ibe sent a header at the back post just over the bar before Walthamstow found themselves 2-0 ahead when Dwade James was played through. He rode a challenge for a defender before slotting it past Yates. Coby Miles flashed a shot across the face of goal before a minute later, Callum Ibe scored the third for Walthamstow. The link up play that helped the Stags scored the second was on display once against when Callum Ibe was played through, rounded the keeper and slotted it home.
This gave the visitors confidence and they dominated the chances right to the half-time whistle. Lewis Francis fired a powerful shot towards goal but it was tipped over before his shot was blocked after he made a good run into the box. Despite chances for Michael Toner, Callum Ibe and Dwade James, the teams went into the break with Walthamstow leading.
The second half began with a strong start for Walthamstow but the wind began to make it difficult to play. Takeley had a chance in the opening minutes of the second half but a shot was blocked on the line by Michael Toner before Walthamstow began to dominate the play.
Lewis Francis was played through but the keeper made a good save to deny him one-on-one before Dwade James uncharacteristically skied the rebound. Takeley had a free-kick saved and cleared but it was Stow who looked most like scoring.
Dwade dragged a shot wide before a shot from Reece Conway from the edge of the box was saved well and Michael Toner fired over. As the game reached the last ten minutes, Walthamstow looked for their fourth of the afternoon. Dwade James thought he had scored it when he tap in from a low cross but it was ruled out for offside. Despite a shot from the home side in the 93rd minute, the game ended with Stow winning 3-0.
Speaking to Dwade James after the game, he said “Overall, we are happy with the result. We felt we had killed the game off in the first half and kept it professional in the second. With the result going against us at home, it was nice to get a result back away”
[On testing conditions] “First half, we were against the wind so to get three first half goals was good and we handled it quite well as you normally struggled when playing against the wind. Second half was difficult but we are happy we got the win.”
[Previewing Enfield next week] “We prepare for it like any other game. Since Max [Mitchell] has come in, we have been on it and professional so we need to keep the same attitude. I scored a hattrick in a 7-1 win against them so more of that would be great.”