Waltham Forest earned their first draw of the season in a hard fought contest with Chatham Town. The Stags were missing influential midfielder Tariq Nabil who found travelling from west London to be an onerous task.
For the home side, this was a match of missed chances in the first half which allowed Chatham to come back well in the second half. It was indeed the visitors who started the more brightly having ten minutes of the early pressure but could making nothing of it. They did, however, add to the spectacle of the first half that saw some excellent football and skilful play from both sides on a very slippery surface.
Within the first few minutes the Stags had won a corner with the clearance giving Town’s Glen Billiness an early chance which was well saved by Gavin King.
Soon the Stags were in control and unlucky not to go ahead on 18 minutes when Carlos Brown joined the attack and crossed to Dewayne Clarke on the edge of the six yard box. He shot for goal only to see Danny Larkin get in a goal saving block.
First blood was drawn by the Stags when Dewayne Clarke began to open up the Chatham defence at will.
On 30 minutes Carl Ashton’s deft pass to Clarke allowed the attacker to turn into the penalty area. He shot but ‘keeper Ollie Cotton made an excellent block but Papa Kanyuka was on hand to shake off a defender and send the ball into the back of the net.
Soon after Town should have equalised when Billiness seemed to have headed home from a corner but, as Town’s players turned in celebration, King somehow managed to get onto the ball and prevent it going over the line.
As the half drew to a close Frannie Collin nearly deceived the home defence with a speculative shot from 40 yards which just skimmed the angle of the Stags’ crossbar
If the Stags had put their first half chances away they would have been well on top by half time but it was not to be.
Chatham started the second half with other ideas and forced the game to the home side. With the increased pressure, the Stags began to give away needless free kicks around their own area and started to find it difficult to release the attackers with the out ball.
An excellent chance fell to the Stags on 68 minutes when they put together what was probably the best move of the match. Karem Bahkel won the ball just inside the Chatham half and then split the back peddling Town defence with sweet ball through to Solomon Henry. He crossed quickly and Kanuka was a hair’s breadth away from getting his second goal.
Again, play swung up the other end of the pitch and Collin found himself free on the edge of the penalty area with only King to beat but instead of controlling the ball and bearing down on goal, he somehow skid the ball over the stand.
After some good chances, Chatham drew level on 80 minutes when Collin gave a short free kick to Danny Larkin who took the ball to his left and shot the ball home from 30 yards.
While Chatham looked for the winner, they left more space at the back and Cotton had to make two more excellent saves before the game ended with a division of the spoils being a fair result.