Wealdstone play off push continued on Saturday as they ran out 5-2 winners over struggling Aveley at a wet Grosvenor Vale. Despite the scoreline Stones were made to work hard for the victory against a spirited side who twice levelled the tie before the home side’s class shone through in the final quarter of an hour.
Wealdstone thought they had got off to the perfect start with just 2 minutes on the clock when a great lofted ball forward from Connor Smith found Richard Jolly who prodded the ball past Aveley ‘keeper Adam Rafis, however the striker’s effort was ruled out for offside.
The pair combined again two minutes later, this time Rafis having a rush of blood to head as he charged from his goal and chopped down Jolly outside the box as he chased Smith’s forward ball. Rafis was given a yellow card for the foul, much to the anger of the Wealdstone fans who were baying for red.
It was from the free kick that Stones took the lead. David Hicks lofted a great ball to the far post which was met with a header from Jolly crashing off the bar before rebounding back to him 2 yards out, giving him the simple task to poking the ball over the line.
Aveley were certainly struggling to deal with the attacking threat of Stones, and Smith was next to try his luck with a powerful 20 yard effort which Rafis palmed away.
The visitors then pulled themselves level on 20 minutes with their first attack of the game. A slip from Tommie Hoban saw Troy Powell run clear before slotting past Jonathan North.
Wealdstone looked to respond straight away though, and Lee Chappell darted into the box before firing just the wrong side of the post.
Stones did manage to regain the lead on 32 minutes. Peter Dean showed great perseverance to pull the ball back across goal when it looked like it was going out of play, with Lee Chappell heading home from close range.
Kurtney Brooks nearly added another three minutes later, hitting a rasping drive from the edge of the box which Rafis could only turn round the post for a corner.
The home side began the second half on the front foot once again, and David Hicks hit a couple of early efforts from distance over as Stones looked to build on their lead.
Sam Holloway then had to be alert to block an effort from Jolly following a neat pullback from Scott McCubbin.
Aveley then came close to snatching an equaliser on 59 minutes when Jonathan North dived at full stretch to palm a Spencer Harrison header onto the cross bar.
It was Harrison who pulled the scores level a minute later though. Sheldon Sellars floated a free kick into the back post which was met by Harrison who was allowed to head home unmarked.
Stones almost responded instantly though as Hicks ran clear before squaring to Jolly whose effort was comfortably saved by Rafis.
A slice of luck then saw Stones regain the lead on 68 minutes. McCubbin sent over a cross from the left which Kevin Mully could only head past his own ‘keeper.
Substitute Tom Pett then came within inches of netting his first Wealdstone goal, firing just over following a clever knock down by Scott Fitzgerald.
A fourth goal for Stones did arrive in the 79th minute. McCubbin again go down the left hand side before sending the ball across to Fitzgerald who slotted home from close range to all but seal the points for Stones.
Things then got even better three minutes later as Stones added a fifth. A sublime passing move resulted in David Hicks running clear down the right before crossing to Jolly who headed home his 32nd goal of the season.
With the game now well and truly over as a contest, Stones looked to push forward in the hope of improving their goal difference, and Jolly came within inches of grabbing a hatrick, hitting an effort from the edge of the box which rebounded off the crossbar and away to safety.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, McCubbin, Sterling (Cronin 84), Hoban, Smith, Brooks, Hicks, Dean (Fitzgerald 64), Jolly, Chappell (c) (Pett 62). Subs not used: Poniskaitis, Massey.
Man of the match: Richard Jolly
Report by Stuart Warren