Wealdstone completed their final first team warm up match on Saturday at The Vale with a comprehensive win over Southern League Premier Hemel Hempstead Town. This victory also delivered up Stones a first Trophy as they had been competing for the Brian Collins Memorial Shield.
In another very competitive ‘friendly’ encounter that threw up some feisty duels throughout the afternoon, Stones will reflect on a very satisfactory pre-season programme that will hopefully get them out of starting blocks at full speed on August 18th when matters get serious.
But to say that Wealdstone had a slow start to this encounter was an understatement of epic proportions as The Tudors ripped into the home side from the first whistle and exposed Stones reshuffled defence. With 4 minutes on the clock, Victor Osobu’s pace exposed Scott McCubbin on the flank and he crossed for Dave Pearce to easily shoot past an equally exposed Rikki Banks.
It could have got worse for a sluggish home side that struggled to get any kind of grip on the game as Banks came to the rescue a minute later.
But after Alex Dyer had taken the chance to have a first strike at the Hemel goal, Stones gradually began to get their passing game together that was to prove to be far too slick for the visitors to handle.
And Stones recovery was confirmed on 13 minutes when Richard Jolly was on the end of a good attacking move and the deceptively laconic but deadly marksman lashed past Mark Osborn to level up the score. McCubbin was determined not to let Osobu get the better of him after the earlier lapse and the duelling pair clashed resulting in the Hemel man lashing out at his rival, felling the Stones man, and going into the book.
Wealdstone had now taken control in the midfield with Dyer orchestrating and Brooks pressing equally effectively, forcing Hemel into errors and loss of possession.
Wealdstone took the lead on the half hour mark with a superb diving header from Jolly seizing on a cross from the cultured foot of Nathan Webb who had a very decent match, featuring in a wide forward role.
Both sides had more chances, Richard Langley forced Banks to palm away, and then the ever industrious Peter Dean tried a snap shot. With Tom Pett now coming into his own and finding acres of space, Stones looked to increase their lead and finally did so right on the half-time whistle with a fine move that sliced open the creaking away defence. Dyer stoked the ball past Osborn
The onslaught from Wealdstone continued unabated after the break and a great Jolly/Dean/Dyer link up should have resulted in a goal but Osborn saved.
With the McCubbin/Osubo tussle continuing as an entertaining side show, Stones pressed on and Pett was unlucky to see his drive whistle past the far post.
The scoring was completed when Tom Pett was upended in the box and the diminutive midfielder took the spot kick himself and deservedly netted for 4-1.
If Stones can keep this momentum going then another fine season is in real prospect but it will be much tougher than this in the Ryman Premier – starting next Saturday versus Met Police at The Vale.
Wealdstone: Banks, Webb, Chappell, Hammond, Cronin, Dyer, McCubbin, Brooks, Dean, Jolly, Pett. Subs used: Nicholas, Noone, Fitzgerald
MoM: Peter Dean
Match Report by Nick Dugard