Wealdstone fully utilised a squad of 17 players over at Top Field on Saturday and came away satisfied with a solid performance and a decent work out played in mercifully less energy sapping conditions that might have been expected in the current heat wave.
Not all players were available for selection as holidays are inevitably factored in at this stage of preparations, but it has to be said that on this evidence many of the squad would have done themselves no harm at all looking ahead to the big kick-off in three weeks time.
All the new signings performed well, Jey Silva, Jerome Okimo and Adam Martin caught the eye in the much more competitive first half. Lewis Putman and Spanish trialist Carlos Luis looked very lively in a one-sided second period.
Jonathan North did not have a serious effort to save all afternoon but quick distribution and his patrolling of the area were excellent.
Stones generally looked sharp all over the park in a reasonably robust first 45 minutes with Jerome Okimo filling in exceptionally well at centre half alongside Sean Cronin as skipper Wes Parker was unavailable.
Scott McGleish had a couple of chances to open the scoring as Stones looked threatening with some measured build up play through the midfield. If there was any real criticism of this first friendly outing it would be the away side’s finishing, but no clear cut chances were obviously spurned.
After half-time both sides made substantial changes but this seemed to disrupt the Canaries far more. In fact, if anything, Stones upped the pace and looked even hungrier, Kurtney Brooks getting in some long, raking passes to the flanks and with Esmond James pushing on and causing problems down the right.
From a good laid off ball from Lewis Putman, midfielder Adam Martin lashed home to take Stones into the lead on 53 minutes. The pacy Putman looked comfortable and had the time and space to ease himself into the game.
With loads of possession, Wealdstone could and should have extended their lead by the final whistle but this is early days and first impressions from Gordon Bartlett’s new look squad are that things are shaping up nicely.
Wealdstone: North, McCubbin, Silva, Okimo, Cronin, Martin, Dean, Bailey, McGleish, Godfrey, Pett. Subs (all used): Hammond, Brooks, James, Moore, Putman, Luis.