West Essex 1-2 Stow

Walthamstow began their pre-season with a win as they overcame fellow-tenants West Essex. Two goals from Ollie Sotoyinbo in the first half were enough, despite West getting on the scoresheet themselves. 

Stow applied good pressure in the opening minutes as they looked to get on the front foot, but they weren’t able to profit from the pressure. A couple of corners were swung in, while Joe Wright and Ollie Sotoyinbo tried to link up front, but failed to create clear cut chances. Down the other end, West also looked to get a foot in the game, but couldn’t break down the resilient Stow defence. They thought they had opened the scoring in the 5th minute as the number 10 slotted beyond the keeper, but it was ruled out for offside.

Neither side dominated as both sides battled well in midfield. West looked most like scoring as they came forward, but again, they struggled to create a decent chance with an effort from distance being comfortably held by the keeper. Despite the pressure, it was Walthamstow who broken the deadlock as Sotoyinbo opened his Stow account. Joe Wright played the ball through to Sotoyinbo, who slotted beyond the on-rushing keeper.

West looked to reply instantly, but they were halted in their attacks by the lineman’s flag, while Connor Scully came close for the Stags as he bent a free-kick around a West Essex wall, but the keeper comfortably held onto the ball at the near post. It didn’t take long for Stow to double their lead as Sotoyinbo got his second of the afternoon in the 32nd minute. The ball was played into the path of the forward, who squeezed the ball beyond the keeper at the near post.

Despite finding themselves 2-0 down, West found a foothold in the game as they sought a way back into the game. The Stow keeper struggled to hold onto a ball and the number 10 almost profited from the loose ball, but he was flagged offside for the third time as he went to slot home before a corner was swung in, but headed well away by Pinto.

Walthamstow made several changes at the break as a new team emerged, but it was West continued on the front foot in the second half as they pulled one back within four minutes of the restart. The substitute keeper made an initially good save, but was beaten by the number 10, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from the rebound.

Stow immediately looked to restore their two goal lead, but Michael Osei’s shot was dragged wide of the target before West’s number 6 tried an effort from distance, but it was safely into the hand of the keeper. Both sides battled well in midfield and neither side dominated possession, but it was West who upped the pressure to find a leveller. A cross was fired into the box, but was over everyone before the ball came to the number 19 from a corner ball, but his effort was fired wide. Down the other end, a ball was over the head of the number 8 and recycled by Scully, but no one could get onto the end of it.

As the game reached the final 10 minutes, Walthamstow pressure the West defence. Youngster Ruben Bartlett-Antwi make a good run and looked to lay the ball off, but the resulting shot was fired wide. Bartlett-Antwi made another good run beyond the defence and attempted another pull-back, but his pass was cut out before  Scully saw his shot blocked. West had their best chance to level the game with six minutes to go as the number 11 was played through, but the forward dragged his shot inches wide of the post.

Bartlett-Antwi took matters into his own hands as he had a shot at goal, but his shot was well held by the keeper, while down the other end, West looked to created an opening, but struggled to do so. Two minutes of added-time weren’t enough for West as Stow held onto their first victory of the 2021/22 preparations.

Image and report: footballreview.net.

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