Wealdstone are through to the 3rd Round of the Ryman League Cup after a narrow victory over near neighbours and old rivals Hendon on Monday night.
Defender James Hammond scored his first ever goal for the Stones and it was an absolute screamer from 25 yards after 28 minutes play. Hammond also collected the William Hill Man of the Man Award for his efforts in an entertaining and open cup tie.
There were no less than seven changes to the Wealdstone starting X1 from the weekend’s line up that had lost to Margate, with Jerome Okimo making his long awaited return from injury. Tom Hamblin partnered Josh Hill in the heart of the defence, whilst Jack Hutchison started in a forward midfield position behind Peter Dean and skipper for the evening, Scott McGleish.
Stones dominated early proceedings playing some neat, controlled football with Hendon appearing tentative and surprisingly standing off. Both Dean and McGleish went close in the first quarter but home keeper Aldi Haxhia almost came unstuck when he clattered a Hendon forward inches outside the area and was booked. But this was a rare Greens attack in an otherwise comfortable period for Stones who continued to find plenty of midfield space to probe for openings.
Stones finally made their pressure count on 28 minutes when from a Dean lay off Hammond powered in a blistering long range strike that smashed off the far post and span into the net off the near upright
McGleish then went close with a great half volley at full stretch but the ball just flashed wide of the target.
There was a moment of controversy just prior to the break when Dean was upended by Laurencin in the area but Referee Marshallsey waved appeals away.
The second period followed the pattern of the first but Stones gradually slipped into the comfort zone and began to allow Hendon into match. Greens Anthony Thomas had woken from his first half slumbers but each time he got free his strikes caused more problems for car windscreens in Grosvenor Vale rather than testing Haxhia. Nevertheless the away side looked far more threatening and were winning far too many free kicks in decent positions.
Haxhia saved brilliantly well as the away side looked for the equaliser and then held well from a Thomas strike that did find the target but lacked sufficient power.
But it looked like it was going to be Wealdstone’s night when an alert Kurtney Brooks cleared off the line, and so it proved.
Some strong performances from this unusual Stone’s line up with the pacey Okimo doing particularly well. The one downer on the night was an injury to Scott McCubbin who limped off.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Okimo, Brooks, Hamblin, Hill, McCubbin, Bailey, McGleish, Dean, Hutchinson. Subs used: Cronin, Pett. N/u: North, Moore.
William Hill MoM: James Hammond
Match Report by Nick DuGard