This was a chance to look into the future at Waltham Forest, as manager Hakan Ramis-Hayrettin shuffled his pack and gave a number of reserves and youth team players their chance in the first team. On the evidence of this display the Club are clearly moving in the right direction as the youngsters gave a tremendous performance against a first-choice East Thurrock line up.
Goalkeeper Aneka Emeka was the inspiration that spurred the rest of the team on making a tremendous early diving save to a screamer from Scott Holding. From that moment the young Stags showed an all-round display of team work to deny the opposition.
Forest first attack saw Marvin Walker slip the ball through to Hasan Kardal, but the striker was just off side. Minutes later Walker and Mbiyeye Medine combined well to set up Kardal, but his effort was miss-hit and fell easily for Hardingham.
Following pressure by The Rocks, Forest took the lead on 13 minutes when Kardal ran on to a through ball, and while Hardingham parried his shot, Medine was on hand to follow up and slot the ball home.
The lead was short-lived as East Thurrock countered and Gary Dixon broke into the box, but was brought down by Emeka, the only blemish on his display, and Jon Turnball coverted the spot kick.
Forest sustained a long spell of pressure, but Nicky Stevens denied a goal bound shot with a strong clearance and Darren Duporte did well to break up an attack through the middle. The defence held out well with Carlos Brown and Dave Bastian taking every opportunity to turn defence into attack, but the home side were also strong