Wealdstone moved closer to the playoff places on Saturday as a trademark Richard Jolly goal saw them emerge victorious over newly promoted Bognor Regis Town at Nyewood Lane.
There was just the one change to the starting line up from the side which had run out 3-1 winners over Chertsey Town in the FA Trophy the previous week, with goalkeeper Rikki Banks taking back his goalkeeping berth.
It was Banks who was the busiest of the two ‘keepers in the opening 10 minutes, as he had to be fully alert to beat away a powerful header from Rock’s Ben Andrews before getting down low to save Mu Maan’s low effort.
Harvey Whyte then tried his luck from distance for the home side on 17 minutes, cutting inside from the left and hitting a dipping 20 yard effort which flew just over the crossbar.
After a slow start Stones then began to find some rhythm, and a neat passing exchange between Tom Pett and Peter Dean resulted in the latter skewing a shot wide when well placed on the edge of the box.
Dean almost found another opening on the half hour mark, this time blazing over from 20 yards after being picked out by Alex Dyer, before a minute later Dyer had an effort of his own as he drilled a left footed effort just wide from the edge of the box.
Bognor almost took the lead on the stroke of half time. Maan swung the ball in from the right to Whyte who headed it back across goal to the unmarked Doug Tuck. Tuck headed goal wards from six yards, and although his effort beat Banks, Lee Chappell somehow managed to get back and acrobatically clear his effort off the line in a brilliant piece of work.
Stones had a great chance themselves to take a lead in first half stoppage time, when a quick counter attack resulted in Pett picking out Dean with a floated cross. The Wealdstone number 9 hit a powerful volley which was turned away on the line by Jon Marzetti.
Wealdstone came out for the second half much the livelier of the two sides, and immediately had what appeared to be a nailed on penalty shout turned; a goal bound effort from Dean struck the arm of Ben Andrews, however the referee waved away the protests, awarding just a corner.
From the resultant corner a great flying header from Dean saw his header crash off the outside of the post.
The early second half pressure eventually paid off for Stones as they took the lead on 50 minutes. Pett picked out Dyer in the middle of the park and the former Northampton Town man carried the ball forward before threading a delightful ball through to Richard Jolly who took a touch before drilling the ball under the ‘keeper from a tight angle.
The home side looked for a response, and Maan was unlucky to see a swirling 20 yard effort dip just over the bar with Banks scrambling to get back.
The game was now becoming stretched with Town leaving gaps at the back, and one of these was nearly exploited on 64 minutes with a great passing move which saw Dean find Scott McCubbin on the right who then returned the ball to the striker with a pinpoint cross which was headed just wide.
Stones made their first change of the afternoon on 73 minutes bringing on Nathan Webb in place of Tom Pett.
Webb was involved in the thick of the action straight away, as he got down the right hand side before picking out Dyer who hit a powerful effort straight at Town ‘keeper Tom Boyle.
The Rocks tried to get men forward in the final ten minutes, but they were running out of ideas against a well organised Stones side that did a great job of shutting down and frustrating their opponents as they now focussed on playing the game out.
The home side’s frustration then got the better of them in the last minute as they were somewhat harshly reduced to 10 men. Webb tried to stop Town taking a quick free kick by standing in the way of the ball, and Kane Wills took exception to this and pushed the Stones substitute out the way with the referee deeming this to be violent conduct and sending the Town skipper for an early bath, ending what had been a disappointing afternoon for the Sussex side.
Wealdstone can now look forward to an enticing home encounter at The Vale on Monday night against table topping Kingstonian, 7.45pm kick off.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Massey, Dyer, Brooks, O’Leary, Dean, Jolly (Knight 82), Pett (Webb 73). Subs not used: Brewer, Cronin, Baidoo