Walthamstow 2-0 Wroxham

Walthamstow’s recent good form continued with a 2-0 victory over Wroxham, thanks in large part to a blistering 20-minute spell before half time. The visitors from Norfolk had more of the ball, especially in the second half, but some committed Stow defending kept them at bay, earning a second clean sheet in three games in the process.

There was a return from suspension for Adalberto Pinto, and Jordon Watson came in for Brian Moses, in an otherwise unchanged side from the weekend’s draw with league leaders Lowestoft Town.

As has been a feature under the management of Vinny Murphy, Stow again started brightly and could have been ahead after five minutes. Bilal Sayoud was given too much space down the right wing, and his cross was only partially cut out by Ollie Sutton in the Wroxham goal. Watson was first to the rebound, but Sutton did well to smother Stow’s top scorer’s effort.

Both final lines of defence were standing firm, limiting the chances to long-distance efforts. Kymani Thomas fired over when well-placed for Stow, while a speculative effort from just inside the centre circle from the visitors was narrowly over Ashlee Jones’ goal.

It took Stow a while to fully get to grips with the driving wind and rain, but after Wroxham had shot wide twice more from distance, Stow took the lead. A routine goal kick was brought down by Thomas, who played a simple pass towards Ollie Sotoyinbo. Robbie Linford missed his clearance, allowing Sotoyinbo to lash the ball home first time from the edge of the box.

If Stow’s first goal was rather agricultural, their second was a thing of beauty, and a real indication of how Murphy is looking for his side to play. Playing the ball out of defence, Pinto and Eman Okunja rotated the ball in midfield, with some slick passing from Sayoud and Thomas opening up room outside the Wroxham box. Watson then picked up the ball on the left wing, had the strength to beat Rio Abodunde and drive the ball across goal to Sotoyinbo who was left totally unmarked at the back post for an easy tap-in.

The second half was an entirely less inspiring affair as both sides struggled to come to terms the slick surface, pass after pass skidding straight out for throws or goal kicks. Stow did nearly fashion a couple of chances, but Okunja and Sayoud were both marginally called offside.

Wroxham came closest to scoring in the second half, but couldn’t get past a combination of the right-hand post and Jones, with the follow-up effort brilliantly saved and then cleared off the line by Kai Davis.

Despite there still being ten minutes to play, this was an indication for Wroxham that they could play all night and not find a way past a committed Stow defence, and the rest of the game petered out without any real incident.

Stow now have the tough task of a trip to second-placed Felixstowe and Walton United on Saturday.

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