Stansted 1-2 Walthamstow

Walthamstow picked up a huge three points on the road to title rivals Stansted, keeping up the pace with leaders Stanway Rovers who also won at the weekend.

Stow hadn’t won at Stansted’s Hargreave Park since 1999, and the task looked a difficult one without Jason Beck, Tommy Spillane and Eman Okunja who were all suspended.

It was the home side who made the early running, and Amrildo Cekrezi had to be alert to dive low to his left to keep out a long-range Dan Okah shot. But he couldn’t do anything about Stansted’s opener on 20 minutes, when Mike Salako fired into the far corner after latching onto the end of a long ball out of defence.

It wasn’t an especially dirty game, but it was always close to boiling over. The Stow players thought Stansted should have been reduced to nine men when Paul Clayton and Salako both appeared to throw punches following an Adalberto Pinto tackle, but they both escaped with yellow cards.

Just before half time Connor Scully had a shot deflected just wide, but Stow were happy to take the break to regroup.

It clearly worked, as Stow came out firing in the second half. Scully broke through only to see his shot smothered by Jarvis Monk in the Stansted goal, before Pinto was allowed a free header from a Harrison Carnegie corner, but nodded just wide.

Between the two efforts Cekrezi was called into action again, saving two one-on-one efforts well, though the Stansted bench were apoplectic that a penalty was not given their way.

Jason Hallet made the difference for Stow though, coming off the bench and giving his side a focal point. Only minutes after coming onto the pitch he rifled a free kick low and under the wall, which took a slight deflection to take the ball past the hapless Monk.

And only two minutes later, Stow were ahead. Carnegie cut inside at the far post and hit a powerful effort which took a huge deflection, sending it high into the air. The ball came down almost vertically, and Monk contrived to lose it and palm it into his own net.

Stow weren’t done though, and Pinto was blocked on the line twice, as was Hallett and Charlie Edwards.

Almost six minutes of injury time followed, but Walthamstow controlled the game to a finish, and a big three points.

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