Wealdstone produced their best performance of the season to go top of the league, for 24 hours at least as they came from 2-0 down to emerge 5-2 winners over Kingstonian in a pulsating game.
Having been outplayed in the opening quarter of an hour, Stones quickly fell behind 2-0 and really looked like they were going to be in for a long night. However they rallied round and produced some superb football to blow away a Kingstonian side who will no doubt be amongst the front runners for this season’s Ryman League title.
There was just the one change from the side which had run out 1-0 winners at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday, with Wes Parker unavailable it meant there was a return to the starting line up for central defender Sean Cronin. There was also a place on the bench for striker Jacek Magzdinski who has signed on loan from Billericay Town.
It took the visitors just three minutes to take the lead as Stones got off to the worst possible start. Andre McCollin rode a challenge before putting the ball into the box, where it looked like Tom Pett would easily be able to clear his lines; however the winger too much time on the ball and his mishit clearance only went as far as McCollin who lashed the ball home first time.
Stones were struggling to deal with the pace of the K’s forward line in the opening 15 minutes, with McCollin in particular looking lively.
It was perhaps no surprise that a second goal came on 17 minutes when Gary McDonald was left unmarked from a corner and rose to head home past Rikki Banks.
Wealdstone responded two minutes later though in what was turning out to be a thrilling encounter. Scott McCubbin got down the right before firing over a cross which was headed goalwards by Peter Dean. Although K’s ‘keeper Rob Tolfrey managed to block his effort, Richard Jolly followed up to bundle the ball over the line despite the best efforts of defender McDonald.
The goal gave Stones a massive lift, and Alex Dyer almost equalised direct from a corner on 21 minutes as his effort missed everyone and rebounded off the post with Tolfrey flat footed.
Jolly then came close to a second thirty seconds later, flicking a header just wide from Pett’s cross.
An equaliser did come in spectacular fashion on 34 minutes. Aaron Goode blocked Dyer’s through ball with his hand 25 yards from goal, with Dyer stepping up to curl the resultant free kick into the top corner.
Having started so confidently, the visitors were now looking somewhat shaky at the back, and Jolly almost capitalised on a short back pass from Kieron Murphy ten minutes before the break, however Tolfrey just managed to chip the ball over the onrushing front man before hoofing it clear.
They were still posing a threat at the other end though, and Wade Small drilled a shot just wide from 20 yards as the visitors looked to regain the lead.
It was Wealdstone who took a lead into the break though as they notched a third in the last minute of the half. Lee Chappell mishit a shot from distance which found its way to Dean who took a touch before firing an effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards. It ended what had been a breathtaking 45 minutes of football.
Stones had the chance to further their lead three minutes after the restart, with a lung bursting run from the hard working Lee Chappell down the left hand side ending with him picking out Pett who was dispossessed at the last moment as he tried to pull the trigger.
K’s had their first chance of the second period five minutes later, with half time substitute Dean Lodge curling a free kick just wide of the post from almost the exact same position Dyer had scored from for Stones in the first half.
It was Wealdstone who doubled their advantage on 56 minutes though. Chappell cut inside from the left before delivering a vicious right footed ball which was flicked into the far corner by Pett, giving Tolfrey no chance.
It could have been 5-2 just a couple of minutes later, with McCubbin sprinting down the right before picking out Dean on the edge of box who hit the ball first time. It looked like his powerful effort was destined for the top corner, but Tolfrey was just able to turn the ball over the bar.
Jacek Magzdinski was then introduced for his on 60 minutes, replacing Jolly upfront.
K’s had a chance to reduce the arrears on 62 minutes when McCollin found space in the box after being picked out by Matt Pattison; however Alan Massey managed to get back and turn away the striker’s effort.
Only some great goalkeeping from Banks then stopped the visitors narrowing the deficit on 77 minutes, as he showed great reflexes to claw away an effort from McCollin after he had been put in by Lodge.
Peter Dean was withdrawn from the action on 82 minutes as he was replaced by Shabazz Baidoo, with Dean receiving a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground for what had been an outstanding performance from the front man.
A fifth arrived on 86 minutes as Stones took advantage of a tiring K’s side. Substitute Nathan Webb picked up the ball on the corner of the box before waltzing past two defenders and slotting the ball home from a tight angle.
Kingstonian had a chance to grab some consolation on 90 minutes when they were awarded a penalty when a shot from McCollin struck the arm of Chris O’Leary. Lode stepped up to take the kick but his effort was well saved by Banks.
It still wasn’t the end of the drama as Stones were reduced to ten men in the last minute of stoppage time as McCubbin was given his marching orders for picking up a second booking.
Stones will look to keep amongst the leaders as they welcome lowly Thurrock to The Vale on Saturday, 3pm kick off.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Massey, Cronin, Dyer, Brooks, O’Leary, Dean (Baidoo 82), Jolly (Magzdinski 60), Pett (Webb 84). Subs not used: Brewer, Nicholas
Man of the match: Peter Dean
Match Report by Stuart Warren