Stow were back in action after a six week break, comfortably beating Sporting Bengal at the Lodge. Walthamstow controlled the game from start to finish with first half goals from Callum Ibe, Jon Clements and Connor Scully enough to see the Stags rise to 5th in the table.
Within the opening minutes, Walthamstow came close to opening the scoring. Dwade James linked up well with Connor Scully who did well on the wing before a low cross was just behind Jon Clements. A couple of minutes later, new-signing Adalberto Pinto made a good run towards goal and was pushed over in the box but the referee waved away the shouts for a penalty. The visitors tried to come forward in the early moments, putting pressure on the Stow back-line but the defence stood firm.
Stow continued to come forward as they sought to break the deadlock. Dwade James ran through but a last ditch tackle prevented the forward from unleashing a shot. The away side tried to counter but the Stow players defended well and slowed down the attack as Bengal struggled to find an opening. The closest Sporting Bengal came in the first half saw Rachid Qist lead a counter-attack but the forward sent the ball wide with the outside of his boot. The deadlock was finally broken in the 14th minute as Callum Ibe controlled the ball with his chest before smashing the ball home.
Two minutes later, the lead was doubled as Michael Toner and Ibe linked up well on the edge of the box before a ball was played over to Scully who finished on the half-volley. The 2-0 lead gave Walthamstow confidence as they looked to increase their lead. Ibe was inches away from latching onto a ball from Clements before a header from Jason Beck at the back post was just over the bar. As the half neared an end, Bengal tried another counter-attack but again, they could make anything of it. Instead, Stow extended their lead as James slipped the ball through Clements, with the forward finishing well beyond the keeper.
Both Ibe and Toner went close just before the break. Ibe dribbled through the defence but sent an effort inches wide of the top corner before he couldn’t direct a low cross from Clements on target while Toner had a powerful shot on the edge of the box saved by Aires Ferreira.
It was a fast start to the second half for Walthamstow as Toner sent a shot wide of the target in the first minute. Stow tried to come forward but Sporting Bengal sat behind the ball and tried to limit the chances. The Stags couldn’t quite work an opening as chances were few and far between.
Walthamstow were awarded a penalty 10 minutes into the second half as Dwade James was brought down by the Bengal keeper, who was shown a yellow card for his troubles. James stepped up to take the spot-kick but his effort was saved before the keeper cleared the rebound. Stow didn’t let the penalty miss put them down as they continued to come forward. There was a scramble in the box as a header from Beck was cleared off the line before a second attempt was also blocked off the line and cleared.
Bengal had a couple of half-chances in the second half but another Stow debutant, keeper Jack Alley, held onto the efforts well. As the clock ticked down, Stow continued to push for a fourth. Jack Folan was inches from poke home as he slid in at the back post but it got away from him before a cross into the box was taken well by the keeper. James also came close to a goal for himself as he broke towards goal but his effort was across the face of goal and wide.
Despite a couple of runs from the Stow front-line, the game ended 3-0.