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On this day – 25 March – Walthamstow Football Club

On this day – 25 March

Our first fixture on this date was in 1910, when we hosted Plymouth Argyle in the Southern League.

According to The Sportsman, the game was played earlier than usual to avoid clashing with other games, but the press at the time was disappointed that only 5,000 people were in attendance, despite the delightful weather. Renneville and Durrant were on the scoresheet for Leyton that day.

A few days later, Leyton would make the trip down to the south coast, and a changed team was humbled with a 4-0 defeat.

It’s always interesting to see how clubs’ priorities have changed over the years. Back in the 1940s, the county cups were right up there amongst the most prestigious, as evidenced by Frank Moule’s decision to stay with Leyton to “help them win the Essex Senior Cup”, rather than signing a professional contract with Millwall. There is, of course, the chance that it was more financially lucrative for Moule to play as an amateur for Leyton. It proved the right decision, for the semi-final at least. Leyton beat Clapton 1-0, but lost 2-1 to Walthamstow Avenue.

It’s been a while since we won on the 25th of March – 1999 was the last time – a 4-0 Eastern Floodlit Cup win over Clapton. Billy Read (2), Billy Cove and Robbie Drake were Leyton Pennant’s scorers that evening.

As we saw yesterday, the last week of March can quickly put an end to play-off hopes. And this was the case in 2006, when a 2-1 defeat away to lowly Enfield on a miserable day put Forest on a downer from which they would not recover.

2009 saw the visit of Wingate & Finchley to Cricklefields, who ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.

And five years later, a goal from L’Hereaux Menga wasn’t enough to stop Ware, who won 2-1. The defeat would consign Forest to an inevitable relegation to the Essex Senior League for the first time in their history. Scorer of Ware’s first goal that afternoon was Kieran Bishop, who would return to Wadham Lodge five years later, impressing in a brief spell for Walthamstow at the end of the 2018-19 season.

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