The Stones starting eleven on Tuesday night had only one player, Jerome Okimo who was not with the side last year, yet they played as eleven individuals rather than a team. It is possible, those that were unavailable fared better than those that played tonight, certainly where our match reporter is concerned.
Against an Uxbridge side playing their first preseason game, they fell behind in the opening minute, even before the sides had been read out. Kurtney Brooks fired the ball past Jonathan North for a bizarre own goal to give the hosts the lead, from then on Wealdstone never got into top gear and rarely showed any real quality. Scott McGleish had a shot blocked as Stones tried to impose their passing game, but Uxbridge did not let them have time on the ball and worked had to pressure the Stones midfield. Kevin Warner hit a dipping shot after a short free kick, which North did well to smother and was possibly one of few saves he had to make during the game.
Esmond James did well cutting in from the right and hit a dipping left foot shot, from 35 yards that was tipped over by the keeper. On the odd occasion that Stones got some rhythm Hammond played the ball wide to McGubbin who slotted in McGleish only for the latter to fire straight at the keeper.
The hosts increased there lead when the ball was played down the right hand channel to Matty Woods who hit the ball early into the far corner past the outstretched arm of North. A couple of half chances for McGleish came to nothing as the keeper gathered one easily and watched as another sailed past his near post. Just before the break Tom Pett stole the ball from an Uxbridge defender and fired it across goal, only to see it turned behind for a corner.
The usual half time substitutions were made, with most of the home side being changed but only one for the visitors. Stones gave a debut to Glen Little, recently a cult hero at Wrexham and once of Reading and Burnley, he replaced Esmond James which meant Brooks was moved to the right side of midfield. The change failed to create any clear chances though the visitors did have more possession, a slick passing move saw Little combine with McGubbin and Pett to set up McGleish for another attempt on goal. Chris Moore broke away down the left and fed his striker partner only for Rob Fitzgerald to block the shot, then Pett hit the roof of the net as Stones tried to claw there way back into the game.
At the other end ex Stone Kieran Knight, tested North who saved low to his left. Within seconds the keeper was beaten again when recent introduction Nathan Koo Boothe, under hit a back pass to allow a Nicke Kabamba to nip in and score. The scoring was completed when Mark Smith slotted home after good work down the right found him free on the six yard line to tap home unattended.
There is still a few pre season games left to get cohesion, next up is Chelsea at The Vale on Saturday, with tickets available on the day, hopefully a bumper crowd will see the real Wealdstone.
North, McCubbin, Hammond, Okimo, Parker, Pett, Godfrey, Moore, McGleish, Brooks (Koo-Boothe), James (Little). Not used Montoya and Pontzaikis
Match Report by Don Cross