Stow 4-1 Crawley Green

Report thanks to Images: Peter Short

Walthamstow progressed to the Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup and set up a tie with Hullbridge Sports as they beat Spartan South Midlands League side Crawley Green at Wadham Lodge on Tuesday. 

A dominant first half from the hosts was enough to put them in a commanding position at the break, but despite an open-ended second half, it wasn’t enough for Crawley Green as they bowed out.

Both sides made a fast start to the game as they sought the opening goal. Walthamstow were almost in on goal, but neither Jason Hallett or Ollie Sotoyinbo could poke home before Crawley Green had a couple of chances, but they too couldn’t break the deadlock; Sam Holmes saw his shot saved by the keeper before Danny Watson fired the rebound wide and a couple of minutes later, Taylor Rhiney fired a free-kick towards goal from distance, but it was comfortable for the keeper.

Jason Hallett was the focal point of the Stow attacks, but the forward couldn’t find the back of the net. He had looked to lob the keeper from just outside the box, but Mitchell Howe had caught the ball on the line before Hallett looked to curl an effort into the top corner, but his effort was just wide of the post. Jason Hallett looked to turn provider as he retrieved the ball and feed it to Connor Scully, but after wriggling away from the defenders, the latter’s shot was safety into the hands of Howe.

Despite the Clarets coming close themselves, the pressure from Walthamstow had paid off in the 20th-minute as they took the lead. A corner was whipped into a crowded penalty area and bundled over the line by Adalberto Pinto, but Crawley Green were unhappy with the decision. Mitchell Howe had looked to crawl the ball off the line, but the linesman of the far side flagged to confirm it had gone in.

Danny Watson looked to bring Crawley level as he had a shot on goal, but his effort was fired over, before it was Walthamstow who continued on the front foot. Ollie Sotoyinbo was played through on goal, but the leg of Howe was enough to see the shot go wide of the post. As the game approached half-time, the hosts continued to seek a second goal. Connor Scully made a superb run towards the goal and fed the ball to Sotoyinbo, but the forwards effort was dragged just wide of the target.

The goal that has been coming, came in the 42nd-minute as Stow doubled their lead. The ball was played to Jason Hallett in the box, with the forward pulling off a cheeky backheel to send the ball beyond the keeper. It didn’t take long for a third to come along as Harrison Carnegie lifted a great ball into the box just three minutes later, as Hallett rose highest to head home for his second of the evening.

Walthamstow almost extended their lead in the opening minute of the second half as Carnegie lifted the ball to Hallett once again, but this time, the forward’s header was just wide. Despite the fast start for Stow, it was Crawley Green who scored the next goal as they pulled one back in the 47th-minute. A ball was played across the face of goal with Danny Watson sliding in at the far post to poke home.

The game became open in the early moments of the second half as both sides came forward. Michael Osei made a good run towards goal and went down under pressure from a defender, but the referee wasn’t interested in the calls for a penalty while the visitors were almost in again as Rhiney forced the Stow keeper into a good save.

The hosts upped the pressure as they sought to reinstate their three-goal advantage. Connor Scully looked to cross the ball into the box, but no one could get a shot off before good play from Stow saw Sotoyinbo play the ball through to Scully, but the midfielder’s effort was just wide. After a stoppage to the game which saw both sides pushing and shoving one another; the game had lost it’s spark as the pace had slowed.

There wasn’t much urgency within the Crawley Green ranks as the game reached the final 15 minutes as they struggled to get the ball forward. When they did however, a cross into the box was miscued and fired behind the goal. Walthamstow were happy to see out the game, but looked to come forward in the final five minutes. Joe Wright made a good run towards goal and was brought down on the edge of the box, but referee had awarded a goal-kick to the visitors instead before in the 87th-minute, Stow scored their fourth. A ball was crossed into the box and headed beyond Howe by Casey Nolan-Samuels to confirm the hosts passage into the next round.

Crawley launched a free-kick towards goal in the 90th-minute, but their attack was halted by the linesman’s flag before the visitors had the ball in the back of the net in added-time as a cross was tucked home, but it was ruled out by another offside flag.

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