Charlie Heatley was on target for Manford Way as they claimed all three-points in Waltham Abbey against a resilient Chingford side in the Essex Olympian League Division One.
Although it was a very open first-half, it was the visitors who dominated the second-half and were able to claim the win.
The win saw Manford Way rise to fourth in the table and 2-points off second and a point off third-place Runwell Sports with a game in-hand, while the loss kept Chingford 6th and just ahead of Snaresbrook on goal-difference, having played three-games more.
It was a good start to the game from Manford as they looked to attack in the opening minutes of the game. The visitors struggled to get a shot off in those early moment, despite moving the ball about well, while an effort from the hosts was well held by Lewis Greene.
Neither side found themselves dominating in the opening 12-minutes, but the visitors were left frustrated as Lee Lashley was brought down just outside the box by Greene, but the set-piece was comfortably into the hands of the Manford keeper. The hosts looked to break the deadlock as the ball was fed to Sam Coe on the edge of the box, but the forward’s effort was wide of the post before Manford had a couple of chances in the game, as they put the pressure of Chingford. A corner was flicked on at the near post and headed back off the line before another header was just over the bar. Down the other end, Lashley was played through, but couldn’t prod the ball beyond the keeper.
As the first half grew older, Manford looked most likely to open the scoring. Daniel Lopes looked to be through on goal, but his shot was deflected wide and out for a corner. The resulting set-piece was again cleared off the line, but the attacking didn’t stop there. Liam Burgess tried to curl an effort from the edge of the box, but his shot was narrowly wide before Manford wondered how they weren’t ahead with a glorious opportunity. A header across the face of goal was headed off the line and out for a corner, before the resulting corner was header just over the bar.
With just over 5-minutes to go before the half-time break, Chingford had a foothold in the game as they upped the pressure, looking for the opening goal themselves. Greene pulled off a superb save to deny Lashley from close range before a free-kick was flicked away from the visitors. The windy conditions proved to make set-pieces even tougher as Chingford looked to send an out-swinger into a crowded area, but the hosts couldn’t get a foot on the ball.
It was almost the perfect start to the second half for Manford as Charlie Heatley was played through, but his scissor kick was well-held by Jake Anderson. Despite a chance for the hosts minutes later as Will Gleeson saw his free-kick go over the bar, Manford began to dictate play. A mis-cued clearance fell to Heatley, but his header was just wide of the target before two efforts were kept out on the goal-line by Anderson and Thomas Turner’s effort was just over from a tight angle.
Turner sent a cross across the face of goal, but no one was close enough to poke it home before a cross was sent towards Turner from the other side, but his header was inches wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 65th-minutes as Charlie Heatley scored. The forward carried the ball beyond two defenders with quick-feet before unleashing a shot beyond the keeper. The hosts had a rare opportunity in the game as they looked for the leveller, but Manford were able to repel the attacks with ease.
Robbie Rees floated a free-kick towards goal, but Anderson was happy to see the ball fly over the crossbar before the visitors looked to double their lead late on as Burgess stepped up to take a free-kick on the edge of the box, but his effort was comfortably caught on the line. As the game approached the last 10-minutes, Chingford continued to seek an equaliser as they upped the pressure. Despite trying to break beyond the defence and send a couple of balls into the box, Manford were able to clear with relative ease.
Thomas Turner looked to be through on goal with 4-minutes to play, but press from two-defenders saw the attack thistle out, before Chingford almost made the of the windy conditions a couple of minutes later. A gust of wind caused havoc in the Manford box as the ball crept beyond Greene, but the keeper was able to collect before the ball could cross the line.
The hosts tried to get the ball up the pitch in added time, but it wasn’t enough as Chingford fell to defeat.