Wealdstone kicked off their 2012/13 Ryman Premier League campaign with a hard fought 1-0 victory over a strong Met Police side in the blistering heat at Grosvenor Vale to give themselves a good start to what will hopefully be a successful season.
The stones were without three players due to suspension, but still managed to come away with all the points. The game started, and in fact carried on, as a bit of a scrappy affair, with neither side looking like gaining the upper hand. It took 8 minutes for the first clean chance to come, when Stones winger Tom Pett whipped in a free kick, which defender Alan Massey met with his head to knock down for last season’s Golden Boot winner Richard Jolly, but his volley was tipped over by Met Police keeper Jamie Butler. After quarter of an hour, The Met may have felt they should have had a penalty after Massey appeared to trip Police forward Billy Crook, but the referee waved away the appeals. Stones again broke through just after the 20 minute mark only for Nathan Webb, making his competitive Wealdstone debut, to pass rather than shoot when through on goal. Wealdstone did however make the breakthrough four minutes later, when Met Police keeper Butler shanked a goal kick straight at Richard Jolly, who showed great composure to finish the 1 on 1 which had been handed to him on a plate. Met Police replied strongly however and they came close to equalising after 33 minutes when a curling Billy Crook effort was tipped over brilliantly by Stones stopper Rikki Banks. Wealdstone managed to get through to half time 1-0 up despite strong Met Police pressure, which included defending 8 corners.
Wealdstone started the second half brightly, midfielder Kurtney Brooks pinging an effort on goal which was tipped over well by Butler. Met Police’s Craig Brown then smashed an effort on goal, but it was aimed straight at Banks. With both sides starting to tire, tackles began to fly, as Met Police had three players booked within 5 minutes of each other. Meanwhile Stones kept up the pressure, with Nathan Webb missing two good opportunities. 2 minutes later, Met Police had their best chance of the match when Andre Scarlett found himself in plenty of space, only to fire well wide and waste a fantastic opening. As the game wore on it became a fractious affair, with both sides making changes to try and liven up. It was one of these substitutes, Tashan Jordan, who wasted a golden opportunity with a matter of minutes to go. Full back Lee Chappell whipped in a wonderful cross, only for Jordan to connect poorly with his head and glance wide from 8 yards out. The Met continued to put on the pressure, but continued to be frustrated by a resilient Stones defence, and this frustration showed when midfielder Ty Smith kicked out at Tom Pett, much to the anger of the Wealdstone supporters. Despite the soaring temperatures and strong Met pressure, the Stones managed to hang on to their 1-0 lead and take a hard fought three points to begin their season.
Team: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (C), Massey, Dyer (Nicholas 89), Webb (Jordan 65), Brooks, Dean (Baidoo 78), Jolly, Pett. Subs not used: Hammond, Stanislaus
Man of the match: Alan Massey
Match Report by Xander Rands