Walthamstow put Tuesday’s defeat out of their minds on Saturday as they recorded their biggest win of the season against Sawbridgeworth Town. A hattrick from Callum Ibe, a brace from the returning Dwade James and one each for Jon Clements and gaffer Max Mitchell helped the Stags on their way. It was also Stow’s first league clean sheet of the season; a good day all-round.
Walthamstow tried to get off to best possible start and the deadlock was broken in the 5th minute. A corner was met at the back-post by Jason Beck who cushioned it towards Callum Ibe, with the Stow attacker heading it past the keeper from close range. A corner from the other side was flicked on by Vinny Murphy but it was cleared before Ibe could make contact. The lead was doubled four minutes after the opener as Dwade James returned with a bang. He was played through, getting to the ball before the keeper did, and dinked it over Sam Butler.
Callum Ibe was looking for a second but his shot from distance was fired wide. Sawbo’s first chance of the game came through Connor Clark as he picked up the ball in Stow’s half but he fired his shot wide of the target. The confidence was visible throughout the Stow side as they continued to come forward. A cross from Jon Clements was well held by the keeper before it reached James and a free-kick from Michael Toner, just outside the box, was just over the bar. There were shouts for a penalty as Clark went down under the challenge of Conor Sansom but the referee firmly waved them away.
Clements got in on the scoring in the 18th minute. Callum Ibe played a good ball through the Robins defence, reaching Jack Folan who squared it. Clements got to the ball ahead of the keeper and smashed it into the roof of the net. Minutes later, Clements thought he had scored a second but despite having the ball in the back of the net, it was ruled out for offside. As the game approached the break, Walthamstow continued to come forward. James was almost played through but the keeper did enough to clear before another cushioned header from Beck at the back-post, missed three in the box as Sawbridgeworth escaped further punishment. That didn’t last long though as Stow soon had a fourth. A corner was swung in and dropped in the box before bouncing off Ibe’s leg for his brace. Five minutes later, it was a fifth for Stow as a cross from Connor Scully was tapped in by Dwade James for a second on his return.
It was a strong start to the second half as Stow went on the attack right from the off. Ibe missed a shot as he slide in before a cross from Scully met the head of Dwade James but it was fired just over. Minutes later, a shot from Vinny Murphy rattled the top of the crossbar.
Another cross from Connor Scully was well controlled from Callum Ibe but he slipped as he went to shoot before a flicked on header from Clements was well held by Butler. Sawbridgeworth had a rare opportunity to score as David Luzolo had a few chances to shot. Two of his shots were well blocked before he sent a third just wide. Gaffer Max Mitchell entered the fray for a cameo and he was close to scoring. A lay-off from Clements led to a driving shot but it was collected on a second attempt by the keeper.
With less than 15 to play, Callum Ibe completed his hattrick. A shot from Mitchell came to the clearly-offside Clements who shot on the turn but it was well saved before Ibe latched onto the loose ball and tapped in from an angle. Stow continued to come forward but Sawbo did well to prevent any goals. In the final ten, Mitchell got his goal as he struck a thunderous shot from distance which squeezed past Butler. A long throw was flicked on by Toib Adeyemi but it was cleared before Mitchell could shot and a shot from Toner was just wide from distance. The last chance of the game came Adeyemi’s way as the ball fell to him in the box but it was well saved.
Speaking after the game, Dwade James said “Coming back for the first time in a while, I enjoyed it. I thought the team done well from start to finish. We controlled the game and linked up well.”
“We’ve had some topsy-turvy run of games over the last few weeks. We’ve had some good spells but never really put a solid 90-minutes together. Hashtag we played well and on Tuesday not so well but we changed the formation today, Dwadey’s come in and done superb. His presence up-front gave me room in and around pockets and overall, the team has gelled well and that’s show in today’s performance” added Jon Clements.
[On importance of bouncing back] “On Tuesday, the performance wasn’t there with the commitment and attitude, you have those throughout the season. We knew it wasn’t good enough and it meant today we needed to work harder. We put that right today and that’s the benchmark for the rest of the season” said Clements.
[On his return] “Last time I played for Stow was March. Coming back, it just feels like home. Celebrating and hearing my song again, it’s just great. I’m happy to be back and hopefully, I can score more goals.”
[On next four games away] Clements said, “It’s massive. Whether it’s home or away, we know what the club’s ambition is this season. At the end of the day, it’s three points and we have to focus on each game individually. we are away on Tuesday and another performance is needed to get those three points.”