Walthamstow were eliminated from this year’s FA Cup following a replay defeat to Abbey Rangers at Addlestone Moor. A night under the lights in the pouring rain seemed like a good opportunity to progress to the 3rd qualifying round but the home side stuck to their game-plan and it was a game of missed chances.
It was Walthamstow who started off the better side and had the earliest chances. Callum Ibe was full of running and gave the visitors a 1-0 lead after 7 minutes. He was played through before he chipped the Abbey keeper to score with a neat finish.
Stow were unlucky not to be further ahead minutes later when Callum Ibe had a shot from distance but he sent the ball just wide. There was also a penalty shout for Walthamstow when Callum Ibe was tripped in the box but the referee wasn’t interested and it wasn’t given.
Abbey Rangers slowly came into the game and had a number of chances themselves but James Bransgrove did well to keep both efforts out and Stow ahead. The home side found a small foothold and came closest when the ball hit the post but luckily for Walthamstow the forward was also flagged offside.
As the first half went on, Walthamstow wondered how they weren’t ahead. A free-kick from the edge of the box was parried just wide by the Abbey keeper Liam Stone before Jack Folan had a chance to score but the keeper stood strong and blocked it from close range.
The missed chances came to rue Stow as the first half edged closer to an end when Abbey Rangers equalised. It was like Déjà vu for the visitors as the goal was scored from a free header at the far post – a similar goal to the one scored in the first game.
Despite a late chance for Benji Crilley at the far post, the sides went into the break level.
It was a quick start from Walthamstow in the second half and Callum Ibe came close to scoring yet again when his shot rattled the crossbar.
The second half was very stop-start as the Abbey players went down under every challenge and it was a game where is seemed like everything was going against Stow.
Abbey Rangers were given a penalty around the 60-minute mark for a suspected high-foot and it was finished well by the Abbey player to give them a 2-1 lead.
There were chances for Abbey Rangers to kill off the game when they had a number of counter-attacks but saves from James Bransgrove as well as well-timed last ditch tackles kept Stow in the game as the clock counted down. One of the Abbey Chances was a miss from a yard out.
Walthamstow kept up the pressure as much as they could against the stop-start play and came close but couldn’t find an equaliser. There was a scramble in the Abbey box before the ball was cleared off the line as well as a number of half chances and headers from corners were sent wide. The game ended 2-1 to Abbey Rangers, confirming our elimination.
Speaking after the game, Stow manager Ryan Maxwell said “I think Abbey managed the game better. Having gone 1-0 up, I feel we should’ve managed the game better and I wasn’t happy with how their number 9 managed to get a free header before scoring a header.”
“Their players are a little more experienced but I wouldn’t swap any of my players for any of theirs. In time, we will hopefully learn from this and do better in the future. Credit to Abbey for hanging in there and following the game-plan that their manager set. I do feel a little hard done-by with the decisions and I feel for the players but many of them are still developing and will hopefully take lessons from this game.”
[When asked about the FA Journey this season] “I am very proud to manage them and they are a good bunch of lads. I only want the best from them. I wanted them to win this for themselves but a we’re missing that little bit of experience of managing the game. We will now be focusing on the league as this was an extra.”
[When asked about Saturday’s game] “Nothing chances at all in terms of preparation. Cup games are a one-off and although we should’ve put this game to bed on Saturday, our main focus this season was always winning the Essex Senior League. Saying that, I am happy with the experience the boys got and I’m happy with the money generated for the club.”