Walthamstow came out on top on Saturday as they recorded their 6th win of the season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Saffron Walden Town. A goal for Dwade James was enough for the win whilst the victory sees the Stags remain 4th but close the gap on the teams above.
It was a very cagey first half with a lack of goalmouth action. Neither side wanted to make a mistake as they battled in the midfield. A corner from Saffron Walden was well punched by Connor Sansom before Dwade James tried to break through the Walden defence but it was well defended. The hosts had a free-kick which was put into the box but it was cleared before a low cross was deflected out of play. The resulting corner was cleared and a shot from the loose ball was fired over the bar. Walthamstow tried to break the deadlock was couldn’t test former keeper James Bransgrove in goal. A header from Toib Adeyemi was wide from a corner before a shot was blocked.
The closest Stow came to an opening goal in the first half came from Max Mitchell as he fired a free-kick from the edge of the box into the side-netting. The Bloods were denied by some good defending as they also tried to come forward. A shot was fired wide before Sansom denied the hosts will a block with his foot before Jack Folan managed to slide in to prevent any shots from the loose ball. As the game approached half-time, Stow began to dominate but couldn’t find the goal they sought.
Despite a shot from Walden’s Suaibo Balde which curled inches wide of the post, a header from Dwade James was well cleared before the Stow forward held the ball well but his shot was into the side-netting. A shot from the hosts was well caught by Sansom but it was the Stags who created the better chances. Callum Ibe tried to run through the Walden defence but the ball was taken off his by a trailing Clements boot before Dwade James chipped the ball over Bransgrove but also over the bar. Neither side could find a breakthrough in the final-10 minutes of the first half.
It was Saffron Walden who had the first chance of the second half as Jake Noble fired a shot over the bar. Connor Sansom was forced into a good save which saw him tip the ball over the bar as an overhead kick from the corner flag threatened the Stow keeper. Despite the strong start for the hosts, Walthamstow grew into the second-half and started to come forward.
A shot from Michael Toner was fired over before a shot from Callum Ibe was blocked from the edge of the box. Stow began to up the pressure as the game reached the hour mark but Saffron Walden did well to repel any attack. Stow were awarded a penalty just after the hour-mark as a free-kick from Max Mitchell was blocked by the arm of a Walden defender inside the box. Dwade James stepped up against Bransgrove, who was confident in his ability to save his former colleagues spot-kick, but a cheeky panenka saw the Stow-man come out on top and put the Stags ahead.
There was a scramble in the Walden box 5-minutes later, but the hosts did well to clear the ball. Walden had a good chance but saw an effort cleared off the line before a header was tipped over and a powerful driven free-kick was inches wide of the post. Jon Clements had also been played through but hesitated with his shot, allowing the Walden defence to recover. As the game reached the last 10-minutes, Dwade James managed to round the keeper and pulled the ball back to Clements in the box but as he shot on the turn, he slipped, sending his effort wide of the target.
Saffron Walden came alive in the final 5-minutes as they sought an equaliser late in the game. They missed a golden opportunity as the ball was scooped over from 5-yards. Walthamstow were close to a second as a low cross from James was nicked off the defender, taking it away from Ibe before Callum Ibe was through but couldn’t direct the ball to James who waited in the middle. The last chance of the game saw the Bloods have a free-kick, with James Bransgrove sent up, but the free-kick was fired over everyone and out of play.