Goals from Dwade James, Lewis Francis, Stanley Muguo and Ryan Maxwell helped Walthamstow to a victory over Redbridge Reserves as they reached the second round of the Peter Butcher Memorial Trophy. The game was dominated by Stow as Redbridge failed to get a shot off and test James Bransgrove.
It was a quick start from Stow who were unlucky not to be ahead in the first minute. Lewis Francis took the ball around the keeper and tried to get it to Dwade James but he sent the ball over the bar. Dwade James had another chance 5 minutes later but his header hit the post before being cleared out of play for a corner. The ball was swung in by player-manager Ryan Maxwell and without a touch from anyone else, it went straight in to give Walthamstow the lead.
The goal gave Walthamstow confidence as they continued to press. Lewis Francis had a shot comfortably saved by the Reserve keeper before Stanley Muguo scored his first for the club to give Walthamstow a 2-0 lead. He was given plenty of space in the opposition box as he headed it in. A minute later, Stow had their third of the afternoon when Lewis Francis made a good run and tucked the ball into the far corner after being played through. Dwade James searched for his first of the afternoon but a tame header was comfortably saved by the keeper before he was given a chance from the penalty spot when he was brought down. As usual, he stepped up and converted it to increase Stow’s lead after just 23 minutes.
With 15 minutes before the break, James got his second. A good run from Samrai Gebrai allowed his to get the ball to Stow’s leading-scorer who slotted it past the keeper from close range. Despite a free-kick from Lewis Francis going just wide and a missed penalty from Samrai Gebrai, the teams went into the break with Stow leading 5-0.
The second half saw Walthamstow come out the quickest but in the opening minute, Dwade couldn’t get this shot off. Walthamstow had loads of chances but couldn’t find another goal. Dwade James saw a header saved comfortably before he sent a shot just wide as he tried to chip the on-rushing keeper.
Benji Crilley had a tame shot from the edge of the box saved before Dwade James had another chance to score but his shot was deflected onto the crossbar and Emiel Aiken chipped the ball over the bar. Despite a couple more chances in the last 10 minutes, the game ended with Stow winning thanks to their five first half goals.
Speaking to Stow manager Ryan Maxwell after the game, he said “The first half was very good and we started with a good tempo. I told the boys to approach the game with the right attitude and we could probably enjoy the second half. We could have 8 or 9 but I did want more than just a 0-0 in the second half. The most important thing was to get minutes under the players belt after the Christmas break and we had no injuries.”
[Did you feel the game was over in the first half?] “I told them to not get complacent [at half-time] and it was a great game for new signing Joel Brown who featured at the back. Despite not scoring in the second half, I think they were professional throughout.”
[How did you feel you performed?] “At 36, I am just happy to be able to do it. To get 55 or so minutes under my belt today was great and I know I need to be available if I’m called upon.”
[Was the first goal yours or did someone else get a touch?] “I have to be honest, it was mine. I’ll take the goal but whether my name is on the scoresheet is not my top priority. I knew I was good at set-pieces.”