Wealdstone threw off the negative shackles of the Hampton defeat and responded magnificently at the War Memorial Ground on Saturday delivering a powerful performance, grabbing all three points that were so desperately required.
If ever there was a must win game this was it. The reward is that Stones now set up a defibrillator inducing clash at The Vale on Tuesday evening when they face their nemesis side – Lowestoft Town – in a match that will surely have a huge bearing on who will take the coveted second league placing. After Saturday’s games, Lowestoft remain one point ahead of Stones with one game in hand but a win for Wealdstone on Tuesday would give them a massive psychological boost.
Stones looked a side transformed from Thursday evening’s debacle and were clearly determined to take the game by the scruff of the neck from the off. Not that this game was ever going to be a stroll in the park as The Robins have been hugely resurgent of late, having gained a string of important wins that had lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time in weeks. There was all to play for, for both teams, but this time it was the away side that played like their league position suggested they should and Stones dominated throughout.
The midfield ‘problem’ was resolved with an innovative threesome including the returning maestro Alex Dyer, Scott McCubbin and the enforcer that is Chris O’Leary. It worked well and most importantly provided a far better ball supply for forward Scott McGleish and chosen wide players, Tom Pett and Peter Dean. James Hammond slotted in at right back and the balance of the side looked immeasurably better than two days previously.
Wealdstone looked bright and determinably aggressive from the kick-off and were soon on the attack on the hard and semi grassed surface.
On 14 minutes, Tom Pett, already causing problems down the right for the static home defence, hit an awkward bouncing strike that was only just pushed away by Robin’s keeper Nick Hamann. The home side briefly hit back down the slope and won a corner but Wealdstone were soon back pressing the ball and grabbed the opener.
Tom Pett wriggled free of his marker in space on the right, cut in and smashed a strike that looked destined for the far corner of the net. Instead the ball rebounded off the upright but Scott McGleish was on hand to strike home past Hamann with the clock showing 17 minutes.
Stones kept the pressure and tempo high, perhaps with memories of Thursday’s issues at the back of their minds
McGleish sustained a knee injury that saw him limp off mid half and he was replaced by Chris Moore Stones continued to dominate playing up the slope and from a corner Wes Parker headed powerfully over the bar
Stones comfortably took the precious but narrow lead into the second period and if anything they were even more dominant than in the first but only after Carshalton had made a few brief forays up field early doors, Nathan Pinney their main outlet. But the Robins seemed to lack any real goal threat – surprising for a team that had been scoring regularly in recent games.
The lead was almost doubled on 50 minutes when a superb trademark cross from Lee Chappell was met full on by the head of Chris Moore but agonisingly the ball smashed off the cross bar to safety
Stones pressed on, supported by superb defensive work, and looked for the killer second goal.
And it arrived on 68 minutes, created by some clever and incisive ball work from Alex Dyer out wide. The ball found Tom Pett whose forceful strike found the back of the net via a heavy deflection
Elliott Godfrey, a surprise inclusion on the bench, replaced a cramp stricken Dyer and performed well, putting in his best shift yet since his signing two months ago.
In the end this was a comfortable victory for Wealdstone who played to their potential with a superior shape and that most necessary of ingredients – an unerring will to win
Bring on Lowestoft.
Wealdstone: Banks, Hammond, Chappell, Parker, Cronin, Dyer, McCubbin, O’Leary, McGleish, Dean, Pett. Subs used: Moore, Godfrey, James. Not used: Locke, Jolly.
Attendance: 388 (170 Wealdstone)