On a weekend of exclusively ESL Cup action with the Pete Butcher Trophy making its debut in the schedule, I went to Wadham Lodge to see this Gordon Brasted Trophy Quarter-Final tie. Walthamstow named a very strong starting XI, with James Peagram and Christian Owusu being the front two, Rheo Josephs on the left and the evergreen Lee Flynn at full-back. Leyton had a blow to contend with this week as forward Dwade James left the club to join…. Walthamstow, though he was ineligable for this match. For them, James Scammell continued in goal, with Eli Benoit once again skippering the side and Luwayne Greenwood the focal point in attack.
This match began with the hosts on the front foot, though the main issue was finding the final ball to bypass the three-man Ath central defence. Winger Rheo Josephs was having some joy down the ‘Stow left flank with his pace and crossing and on 19 minutes, Josephs had a sight of goal after being played in by forward James Peagram, though the former’s shot from a narrow angle was taken by Ath goalie James Scammell. On the cusp of the half-hour mark, fellow home forward Christian Owusu also struck wide.
It must be said though that both teams had to contend with a deluge of rain and to add to that, a hefty hailstorm as well. Leyton did show their game at times and looked pretty rapid on the counter-attack though they did also get the wrong side of the assistant referee’s flag on a few occasions. Ryan Maxwell’s side did keep the pressure on as just after the half-hour, Josephs again broke down the left channel, beating the on-rushing Scammell to the ball though couldn’t find the telling centre to make the most of it in that attack.
As it happened, only a minute later the hosts took the lead as a peach of a free-kick from midfielder Robbie Martin curled right into the danger zone and Peagram headed in cooly. Ath had barely settled back into play when ‘Stow doubled their advantage as midfielder Matt Brinklow unleashed a sublime dipping shot which evaded Scammell’s grasp and then crept under the crossbar. One for the Brinklow ‘play-book’ there I suspect.
Half-Time: Walthamstow 2 – 0 Leyton Athletic
After the break, the rain continued to pour down making playing conditions ever more tricky with the ball holding into the pitch and the like. The hosts effectively sealed the contest five minutes after the interval as from Martin’s pass, Peagram struck home his second of the afternoon.
In the last half hour, Leyton did keep going and tried to keep their rapid passing game going despite the torrid conditions. Skipper Eli Benoit as ever tried to drive his team on by making powerful runs forward though in fairness, home custodian James Harkin didn’t have much to do besides cutting out crosses and the like. ‘Stow at the other end had two good chances to add to the score-line though substitute Joe Benjamin, on debut got ahead of the tiring Ath defence thouh chipped wide and moments later, Peagram’s audacious 40-yard lob hit a post with Scammell beaten. Scammell did well with minues remaining to deny a 20-yard bolt from ‘Stow full-back Ross Pope and in almost the last action of the game, Harkin denied attacking midfielder Mario Gjini’s effort.
All in all, a good win for the hosts who were the better side today. Congrats to Walthamstow and best wishes to Leyton Athletc for the remainder of the season.