Walthamstow lost for the first time this season as a heavily rotated side went up against West Essex in the Essex Senior Cup following Stow’s superb win over Aylesbury United on Sunday. Manager Ryan Maxwell gave several youngsters the chance to play senior football as he looked to make the most of the club’s link with Ryan FC.
Right from the early moments, there was some good link-up play between the youngsters as they looked to get forward. The first chance of the game came when Daniel Garfinkle tried his luck from distance but Dan Russell saved comfortably.
West Essex also had some early chances when Chico Ramos was forced into a save and a shot from distance was just over the bar. Stow’s best opportunity of the first half came when Ielmo Pereira was played through on goal but save his shot was saved by the leg of the keeper.
The visitors had a small spell of possession and chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. After a minor penalty shout, a header was saved comfortably by Ramos before two shots went across the face of the Stow goal but no one was close enough to tap in.
As the first half went on, Stow dominated but couldn’t find the opening goal themselves. A shot from Garfinkle was just wide before a shot by Pereira from the edge of the box was just over and Ryan Reed’s shot was dragged wide. West Essex were given a free-kick right before half-time and a dip over the wall saw the ball fly in past an unmoved keeper to give the visitors the lead.
It was Walthamstow who came out the quickest in the second half as they looked to get on level terms. Reed had an opportunity within the first minute of the second half but saw his shot saved comfortably by the West Essex keeper. Garfinkle had yet another chance but could only fire the ball over the bar.
West Essex had a 2-0 lead when a deflection off their striker took it past Ramos who couldn’t keep it out. Despite being 2-nil down, Stow still tried to find a way back into the game. Reed had a shot from the edge of the box but his shot was parried out for a corner. The resulting corner was headed out before a shot from the edge was wide. The home side did find a goal when Reed’s shot was goal-bound but parried by the keeper which allowed youngster Ellis McLeod to smash it in and score his first senior goal.
As the game reached the 87th minute, Stow looked for an equaliser and a good run from Charlie Yexley from deep in Stow’s half allowed him to have a shot but it was kept out by the keeper. A couple of minutes later, West Essex had a third as the goalkeeper was beat to the ball and the ball was put in at the far post.
Stow pushed to the very end and had a penalty shout in added time after Ellis McLeod was brought down off the ball but the referee wasn’t interested and waved all shouts away. The game finished 3-1.
Speaking to the goalscorer Ellis McLeod after the game, he said “It was a very good challenge for me, especially with me being 16. It was a good experience, playing with first team as well as other young lads, so I’m very proud and happy.
[When asked about his first senior goal] “It was a great feeling. In the moment I couldn’t think of a celebration so picked up the ball and tried to get playing against as soon as to try and get a good result.”
[When asked about playing under Ryan Maxwell] “He’s a very good leader and everyone bounces off him. He creates a good atmosphere in the changing room. You can’t fault him because he’s a really good manager and a good person to talk to.”