A committed and determined Waltham Forest side defied the odds to beat high-flying Takeley at Wadham Lodge, making it three games unbeaten, and picking up their first clean sheet of the season in the process.

Boosted by a larger than normal crowd including a group of Clapton fans showing their support for Forest, the home side were driven from a bodies-on-the-line performance from the defence, where Mo Ahmed played the starring role between the sticks.

It could have been so different though, after just two minutes Takeley carved an opening, and Ahmed had to save twice to keep the scores level.

Soon after Carl Mullings made the most of a loose ball, allowing him to run through on goal. But his first touch was poor, taking him well wide, and could only shot about five yards past the empty goal.

With five first-half minutes remaining, the deadlock was broken, as Abiola Tanimowo powered his way down the right wing before lifting the ball over the on-rushing keeper.

The second half started just as the first, as Ahmed was called into action at point-blank range. By now, Takeley were launching long balls towards Ahmed, but the young stopper dealt superbly with everything thrown his way.

As Takeley’s defensive line began to tire, Chris Medina and Mo Sagaf began to play some exquisite football, creating a host of chances for Forest.

Tanimowo was still dangerous down the wing, and should have contributed to putting the game to bed, but his cut-back pass was just too powerful for Joe Creasey and John Lye who were waiting for the tap-in.

Jose Mendonca had a soft effort cleared off the line, and substitute Harry Sayer shot narrowly wide with the keeper well beaten, sandwiching a good Takeley effort which was sliced wide.

As the game delved into injury time, Takeley hit the top of the cross-bar with a free-kick, and the outside of the post with a long-range effort.

With 52 second half minutes played, the home crowd were baying for the final whistle to be blown. But in the 53rd minute, Mo Sagaf broke through from half way, played a neat one-two with Tanimowo and slotted the ball home. Cue pandemonium in the stands.

Eventually, in the 100th minute, the referee finally blew the whistle, giving Forest one of their most hard-fought and deserved victories in recent memory.

Image: @TomClayton3