Walthamstow were left frustrated last night as they fell to defeat at Chadfields against Hashtag United for the second time this season. The pitch condition and weather made things different for two very physical and attacking sides. The win saw United leap-frog Stow into second to make the title race even closer.
The early moments saw both sides battle hard in midfield with Hashtag looking to bring it forward early. They had shouts for handball waved away in the opening minutes but couldn’t really crave out an opening. Connor Scully had Walthamstow’s first chance when a shot from the edge of the box was palmed away by Pitman.
The deadlock was broken in the 14th minute when George Smith broke through the Walthamstow defence and slotted it past Charlie Mann. Walthamstow had an opportunity a couple of minutes later but Dwade James headed just wide before the hosts fired a free-kick just over and Smith shot just wide. Lewis Francis almost brought Stow level when Pitman spilled the ball but his shot was just over from a tight angle. The Stags were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when James was brought down by Pitman. The goalkeeper escaped a red card for the challenge but Dwade brought Stow level by converting the penalty.
As the game edged towards half-time, Hashtag retook the lead with 3 minutes to go before the break. Albert Keith slotted home after United broke quickly down the pitch. Despite a chance for either side, the teams went into the break with Hashtag leading.
The team emerged with Walthamstow down to ten. Jason Beck was dismissed during the break for an altercation in or around the tunnel area.
With the man advantage, Hashtag piled on the pressure. Tom Anderson escaped a red card in a moment that could’ve changed the game. Callum Ibe was running through midfield and taken out from behind but the referee awarded Anderson a yellow. The home side thought they had increased their lead but the goal was ruled out for offside before a shot was sent wide.
There were a number of fouls for Stow on the edge of the area that were ignored by the referee before Dwade James was denied by the post. Callum Ibe had done well to pick up the ball and get it to the league’s top-scorer but it bounced on the inside of the post and out.
Hashtag were looking to kill off the game but they couldn’t convert their chances. A shot was fired just wide before a header with comfortably into the hands of Mann. The Stow man then made a fantastic save to keeper Walthamstow in the game. Time was against the Stags as they piled on the pressure themselves. Pitman held onto the ball after a scramble in the box before Vinny Murphy was also denied by the post. A Deja Vu moment saw the ball cannon off the same part of the post that denied Dwade.
Despite a penalty shout in injury time as Callum Ibe was brought down, the game was brought to an end.
Speaking after the game, Stow manager Max Mitchell said “It’s frustrating we didn’t pick up at least a point regarding our performance during last night’s second half. Having said that on the balance of play in the first half, I thought Hashtag where worthy of there lead at half time. I didn’t think we reacted best to the conditions and second ball. The second half to a man, I though we was excellent with 10 men after a red card at half time which we still have don’t really haven’t the answers for. We was dominant and showed our superiority in the second half and could have easily taken all three but that’s football and credit to the players where credit it due for digging in and showing the character we’re after.”
[Thoughts on decisions and luck on the night?] “We knew that coming here we would be up against it. I thought that it was a tough game to referee with two physical sides going at it in tough conditions didn’t help and to be honest I don’t like talking about officials but there where many talking points in the game that I thought didn’t go our way put it that way. I’d rather breakdown our first half performance and accept that we need to improve as we expected their players trying to influence decisions in the game beforehand and maybe we need to be cuter at times. We had an amicable chat after the game and even though I wasn’t happy it’s good that where able to draw a line under it and move on.”
[How do you bounce back against Stansted] “For me on the performance in the second half and overall balance of play and chances we had, we have to take that positive out of the game rather than look at the result. Yes we’re disappointed but in all honesty sometimes you need a game like this to improve and use it as a catalyst to get a result in your following fixture which comes against a tough opponent in Stansted. I’m looking for a reaction and I’ll learn even more about the characters we have in our dressing room come 5pm Saturday. Another game where looking forward to and another opportunity to improve and get a positive result.”
He added, “Lastly I would just like to thank the Rabble and our supporters last night who didn’t stop singing and supporting the players during the game. They where a massive part of our second half performance and part of the reason why we dominated and we’re going to need all of them during the run in. Thanks again!”