By Nick DuGard
Wealdstone successfully navigated their way through an awkward Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final tie at Berkeley Fields on Tuesday night and will now face Hampton & Richmond Borough in the final on Easter Monday.
This was a far from a pretty performance from a re-shaped Stones line up , but coming as it did just three days before their potentially epoch making clash at Newport County AFC in the 1st leg of the FA Trophy semi-final, it did the job that was required.
Goals from David Hicks on 30 minutes and Scott Fitzgerald on 88 minutes did the damage and were just enough to subdue a spirited and hard working North Greenford side who ply their trade at Step 4 level.
Stones understandably rested several players in preparation for the weekend’s activities and played Sean Cronin in midfield and Nikki Ahamed out wide with Scott Fitzgerald and Peter Dean the front pairing. New dual registered signing from Braintree – goalkeeper Ashlee Jones – added a further change.
The first half was fast and largely frantic as Stones took time to assert themselves going forward on a sticky and bumpy surface. Tom Pett had a great effort on goal after some fine control but his strike was deflected for a corner. Greenford fought hard and had their first chance on 20 minutes but former Stone Danny Tilbury blasted over when well placed.
But Peter Dean was influential for the away side with some good link-up play and this eventually brought reward on the 30 minute mark. Tom Pett delivered a sharp ball into the box and somehow David Hicks was in the right position the deflect the ball past an unfortunate Andy Caesar in the United goal. Stones were then for the most part able to wrest control of the game for the remainder of the half.
The second period was an altogether scrappier affair with Wealdstone unable to make effective progress in the final third but dominating in defence with Alan Massey and Dominic Sterling snuffing out Alex Paine and the pacy Ashley Alexander.
Tommy Hoban had a great opportunity to grab his first goal for Stones mid way through the half from a Hicks free kick out wide but his header was just about scrambled to safety by a prone Caesar.
Danny Tilbury showed his experience as the half wore on as the home side pressed Stones as hard as they could without really threatening although several corners were won with a few anxious moments. As the clock ran down and Greenford pushed up, a quick counter attack allowed Daly to feed Fitzgerald who bundled home with an equally unattractive goal in the dying moments but they all count and Stones are in a Cup Final.
Wealdstone: Jones, Hammond, Massey, Sterling, Hoban, Cronin, Pett, Hicks, Dean, Fitzgerald, Ahamed. Subs used: Daly, Brooks. N/u: Chappell, Jolly, Poniskaitis(GK)