Wealdstone fell to a disappointing defeat in the 119th Middlesex Senior Cup final on Monday night as a lacklustre and leggy second half performance saw them go down 2-0 to Blue Square South side Hampton & Richmond Borough.
After a very solid first half in which Stones enjoyed far more possession than their opponents, the second half saw them look jaded and lacking energy as the fixture pile up at this critical late stage of the season is possibly starting to take its toll. The side now have to lift themselves hugely for the vital upcoming double header of league games against Harrow Borough on Wednesday followed by a home encounter with AFC Hornchurch on Saturday.
With the wind and driving rain making conditions difficult at Uxbridge FC’s Honeycroft stadium, both sides got off to a sluggish start as they failed to get to grips with the greasy playing surface.
The first chance of the evening came on 10 minutes when Scott McCubbin made a surging run down the middle before releasing Tom Pett. The youngster managed to get a decent shot away despite the close presence of a defender; Hampton ‘keeper Craig Ross produced an outstretched hand to turn the effort round the post.
McCubbin then had an effort of his own on 25 minutes as he hit a fierce volley over the bar following a pin point cross field pass from Connor Smith.
Borough defender Dean Inman had to be alert just after the half hour mark to turn a powerful Richard Jolly effort behind. From the resultant corner there was a scramble as Stones players tried to turn the ball goalwards, however Paul Johnson was eventually able to clear.
The Beavers had failed to threaten the Wealdstone goal in the opening stages, however Stones were thankful that James Simmons fluffed his lines on 34 minutes as the striker missed his kick when well placed after he had been picked out by Lewis Farrell.
Despite Wealdstone having enjoyed the better of the half, it was Hampton who finished on top as Stones ‘keeper Ashlee Jones did well to beat away a powerful effort from a tight angle by Dave Tarpey before the Braintree Town loanee excelled again to tip over a 25 yard effort from Carle Andrews in first half stoppage time.
10 minutes after the restart Wealdstone had their best chance of the contest so far when Tom Pett got down the left hand side before drilling the ball across the face of goal. From Pett’s ball Peter Dean managed to get a shot away which was well saved by Ross before Jolly’s powerful follow up effort was blocked by a covering defender.
Stones began to look increasingly leggy and Hampton began to dominate proceedings. Josh Higgins hit an effort straight at Jones before the Wealdstone ‘keeper was called into action again to keep out a 20 yard effort from Joe Bennett which skimmed awkwardly off the wet turf.
Striker James Tarpey was certainly looking lively for Hampton and Tommie Hoban had to be alert to block an effort from him as he turned smartly in the box before letting fly with a powerful effort.
Andrews then tried his luck from distance on 70 minutes; hitting a 20 yard effort which zipped just wide of the post.
The goal that the Beavers had been threatening eventually arrived on 74 minutes. A ball over from the right hand side found James Simmons who saw his first shot blocked before making no mistake as the ball came back to him, sending an effort past the despairing dive of Jones and into the corner.
The lively Dave Tarpey then finished off Wealdstone in the 83rd minute as he added a second; bringing down a long ball forward into the box with the Stones defence caught out, before sending a volley into the bottom corner.
Stones did have a chance late on to set up a grandstand finish, but Wes Parker headed over from 6 yards following a Kurtney Brooks free kick.
This was a disappointing night for Wealdstone, who were once again backed by a superb vociferous following who cheered on their team on throughout the game. Stones must now pick themselves up for Wednesday night’s local derby with Harrow Borough before they welcome AFC Hornchurch to The Vale on Saturday.
Wealdstone: Jones, Hammond (Ahamed 67), Massey, Parker(c), Hoban, Brooks, McCubbin, Smith, Dean (Fitzgerald 67), Jolly, Pett. Subs not used: Cronin, O’Leary, Poniskaitis.
Report by Stuart Warren.