Wealdstone finally stopped being draw specialists on Tuesday evening and got the win they were urgently seeking. A penalty from Sean Cronin, an own goal and a late finish from Peter Dean gained them three precious points. The self inflicted dismissal of Joel Ledgister for the home side proved to be the turning point in the game as Stones cruised through the second period.
Both sides came into this clashneeding a first win of the new campaign and with Wealdstone’s less than great record at the Beveree over recent years a tough and tense contest was the pre match prediction. More recently Stones had suffered badly at the hands of the Surrey based club in a vital play-off chasing points games at the back end of last season and so there were other scores to settle in the minds of the 100 travelling fans at least.
Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett moved the squad around in a bold looking attack orientated line-up with the pace of Tom Pett and a pushed up Jey Siva both out wide complementing veteran strikers Chris Moore and Scott McGleish as the front pairing. Stefan Bailey was recalled to the centre of midfield.
After a lively start with both sides looking to gain an early advantage, Stones came close with two efforts from skipper Wes Parker and then Jey Siva who shot narrowly wide mid half. But with the away side struggling to really get going the complexion of the game altered completely on 42 minutes when Hampton defender Joel Ledgister blatantly and inexplicably hand balled in the area and was given a second yellow, the first card for a similar offence, and an early bath. Sean Cronin smashed home the resultant penalty at a crucial time in the match.
After the break Tom Pett soon got clear of his marker but drove straight at Beavers ‘keeper Rodney Chiweshe as Stones looked to press home the man advantage. Then on 59 minutes Chiweshe made a great point blank save to deny McGleish after sub Jack Hutchinson touched the ball through. But the home side hit back almost immediately and Jon North had to be alert to tip over a deflected shot and then Alan Bray headed over from the corner.
Hutchinson and then Pett fired wide of the mark repeatedly when well placed as Stones finally began to stamp real authority on the game as space opened up for them.
Just as Stones frustration at failing to build on their slender lead was reaching danger levels their former player Tommy Brewer obliged with an own goal from a clever Siva corner on 72 minutes.
But North came to Wealdstone’s rescue with 8 minutes to go with a super save from a Charlie Moone snap shot to prevent any closing time histrionics.
Late substitute Peter Dean put the icing on the cake with a third goal two minutes from time after Bray slipped and the bearded striker gleefully nipped in to net with ease.
WEALDSTONE: North, Hammond, Okimo, Parker, Cronin, Godfrey, Pett, Bailey, McGleish, Moore, Siva. Subs: Dean (used), Haxhia, Little (used), Martin, Hutchinson (used)
Crowd: 429 (100 Wealdstone)
Match Report by Nick DuGard