Wealdstone secured an important point in their continuing quest for promotion as a battling performance saw them share the points with a goalless draw with in form neighbours Hendon.
With Hendon having won 6 out of their last 8 league matches this was always going to be a stiff challenge for a Stones side that have yet to produce their best form away from home.
With 1st placed Whitehawk suffering a shock defeat at Harrow Borough, it would have proved to be a chance to make up some significant ground ahead of the team’s eagerly awaited clash on the 9th March.
All in all it was a rather scrappy encounter played on a hard, bumpy surface with goal scoring opportunities at a premium for both sides, the home side having the best chance midway through the second half when only a superb reflex save from Rikki Banks keeping out a strike from Junior Morias.
It was Wealdstone who started the brighter of the two sides at a freezing Vale Farm, with a great challenge from Casey Maclaren denying Tom Pett a shooting chance after he had dispossessed Dave Diedhou.
Esmond James’s direct running was causing Hendon problems down the right flank in the opening minutes, and he tried his luck with an effort from 20 yards which flew just over the bar.
As the half wore on a number of heavy challenges were coming in from both sides, with Scott Cousins finding his way into the book for a late challenge on James, before Sean Cronin was also booked for a robust tackle on Junior Morias.
The first chance for the home side came on 28 minutes when Wealdstone could only half clear a corner which resulted in a game of pinball in the box. The ball fell to Morias who poked the ball goalwards where it was cleared off the line by a combination of defender and goalkeeper.
Five minutes later they came close again; Dean Cracknell made space for himself on the left before cutting inside and hitting a right footed effort which Banks got down to palm round the post for a corner.
A great passing move almost creating an opening for Stones two minutes before the break, with Peter Dean’s clever flick finding Alex Dyer whose low right wing cross just evaded the onrushing Pett.
Stones tried their luck with a couple of efforts from distance at the start of the second half, with James firing just over from 20 yards, before Dyer turned smartly on the edge of the box before hitting an effort which was straight at Hendon ‘keeper and former Stone Sean Thomas.
The best chance of the half fell to Hendon on 64 minutes. Lee Angol picked out Morias who beat the offside trap and found himself one on one with Banks, with the Wealdstone ‘keeper showing great reflexes to get up and palm the ball away as it was heading for the top corner.
The remaining 25 minutes was a tight affair as both sides worked hard to snatch the winner. Cracknell had the best chance with two minutes left to play, but he could only fire straight at Banks when well positioned.
Next up for Stones is an away trip to East Thurrock United on Tuesday night, before they travel to Met Police the following Saturday.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Cronin, Dyer, James (O’Leary 65), Brooks, Dean, Jolly (Smith 78), Pett. Subs not used: Webb, Moore, Alaile.
Attendance: 402 (Wealdstone 220)