A double from Ryman League top scorer Richard Jolly kept Wealdstone’s playoff hopes alive on Tuesday night as they overcame Hastings United.
Having dropped points in their last two league matches it was vital that Stones avoided a slip up at lowly Hastings, and despite being frustrated early on, the ever reliable Jolly provided two trademark finishes to ensure they stayed within reach of a top five finish, keeping the campaign still very much alive.
It was Hastings who came closest to breaking the deadlock early on with Jack Dixon hitting a superb 25 yard strike on 10 minutes which Ashlee Jones did well to palm away with the loose ball just evading Zac Attwood.
At the other end Tom Pett weaved his way into the box before being denied by a superb block tackle by Josh Jirbandey.
Richard Jolly spurned a good chance just after the half hour when he missed the target from 10 yards out with just the ‘keeper to beat following some neat build up play by Alex Dyer and the lively Pett.
There was then a half chance for the home side with Bailo Camara heading straight at Jones from a Jirbandey cross, before Wealdstone’s Scott Fitzgerald fired wide after Connor Smith’s clever pull back.
Stones were given the perfect opportunity to take the lead soon after the break when Pett was upended in the penalty box giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. The experienced Scott Fitzgerald stepped up to take it but his firm strike was well saved by Matt Armstrong-Ford in the United goal.
The Hastings stopper was in inspired form again a few minutes later, denying Fitzgerald once more as the former Watford man followed up a rebound from another Jolly effort.
Substitute midfielder James Mulley, making his debut, spurned a good chance with 20 minutes left to play, dragging his shot wide having been put through by Jolly.
With 15 minutes left on the clock striker Dean Green was handed his turn to make a Stones debut in a bid to add more potency to the Wealdstone attack.
Stones finally took the lead on 77 minutes. James Mulley swung a superb cross over from the right to Jolly who made up for his earlier miss by heading home from close range at the far post.
The lead could have been doubled soon after with Green making a hash of his finish following a clever move by Pett and Jolly.
It was prolific scorer Jolly who added the second and killer goal with five minutes left to play. The effervescent Pett laid the ball off to the diminutive marksman on the edge of the box who made no mistake as he slammed home his 42nd goal of the season to make the points safe for Stones.
Next up for Wealdstone is a home league encounter with Kingstonian on Saturday at The Vale, 3pm Kick off.
Wealdstone: Jones, Hammond, Chappell, Hoban, Massey, Dyer, Smith (Mulley 60), O’Leary (Green 75), Fitzgerald (Dean 60), Jolly, Pett. Subs not used: Ahamed, Poniskaitis