Walthamstow were victorious in their first pre-season friendly as goals from Michael Toner and Charncey Dash were enough to see off the challenge of Harpenden Town. The game was the first match for both sides following the abrupt end to the 2019/20 season.
Walthamstow dominated the majority of the first half but couldn’t capitalise on the mistakes of the Harpenden back-line. Both George Lataya and David Cowley were causing problems on the wings whilst Michael Toner and Connor Scully were a handful in midfield. The Stags had a couple of opportunities early on but couldn’t find the target. A Vinny Murphy cross was aimed into Brett O’Connor but the full-back couldn’t put it on target before Jason Beck sent a header over the bar.
Harpenden hadn’t created many chances, causing their players to take pot shots from distance but their number 4 and 10 were both off target. Michael Osei had danced his way through several players but wasn’t rewarded with a goal before Jon Clements shot was blocked. Stow continued to threaten the Harpenden goal but were not rewarded. The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute when Michael Toner hit a long-range effort which nestled into the top corner.
Harpenden Town had made a strong start to the second half as they put pressure on the Walthamstow goal. The pressure had paid off early on when Henry Snee headed the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Despite conceding, Walthamstow found a foothold in the game as they began to dominate once again. New signings Charncey Dash and Sam Jeremiah were causing problems for the Harps’ back-line but couldn’t profit from their hard work.
Walthamstow were awarded a penalty just past the hour mark after a clumsy challenge had brought down Jeremiah. Forward Dash stepped up and converted the spot-kick, sending the keeper the wrong way. Both sides pushed for goals with the contest becoming a fiery affair. Despite shouts for another penalty as Jeremiah was brought down again, the game ended with a 2-1 victory for the Stags.
Speaking after the match, Captain Tommy Fletcher said “It was always going to be difficult. Our first game back, getting minutes in the tank was the priority today and getting the victory, which is what we wanted.”
[When asked about the intensity of the game] “I expect it throughout pre-season and the season. Anyone who comes to our ground, we want to make it difficult for them and we want to always be on the front foot.”
Charncey Dash added “Whoever scores the goals and helps us get the win is the most important thing to me. For me, the goal today is about getting the party started. I know there will be more. I’m happy for anyone in the team to score and help us towards our league objective.”
Images by Bill Badger. More photos available here.