Sometimes a draw can be a highly satisfactory result and this was certainly the case after Monday night’s dour nil all struggle with in form Hendon at Earlsmead.
But with a depleted side, most in the Wealdstone camp would have settled for the single point before kick-off; Stefan Bailey, Mark Bentley, Tom Hamblin, Michael Malcolm and Glen Little among others were all unavailable. This situation was compounded when key striker Scott McGleish had to be substituted midway through the first half.
As a result a reshuffled Stones side struggled throughout virtually the entire match to hold the ball up although 18 year old Millwall loanee Charlie Penny worked his socks off up front against a very physical Hendon defensive unit.
The tone was set from kick off with Stones looking disjointed and being forced to hit the ball early with Hendon playing a high line and pressing at every opportunity. The home sides ‘hoof and hope’ tactics and a lack of control from both sides made for an unlovely spectacle for the 575 crowd, Hendon’s highest gate of the season to date.
Hendon’s Adam Wallace was booked for a simulated dive early on and then the away side briefly sprung into action when Penny made space and his powerful effort span off a defenders arm for a corner. Appeals were swiftly turned down.
Stones defended stoically with Wes Parker resuming in solid form along side Sean Cronin and despite some odd slip ups they prevented Hendon from a single serious attempt at Jonathan North’s goal apart from one or two long range strikes. Hendon won far more corner kicks but these were all dealt with competently.
It seemed a case of everyone, players and fans, were ‘waiting for something to happen’ and even the 400 strong away following was strangely subdued, briefly coming to life late in the second half such was the palpable tension of not wanting to lose.
Wealdstone’s only other effort on goal in an instantly forgettable first period was Tom Pett’s snap shot that whistled past the near post.
Stones began the second period more brightly with sub Jey Siva prominent and he produced some dangerous crosses into the box but Carl McCluskey who was pushed up to support the attack struggled to get into a the right positions.
Stones did produce more in some sporadic bursts – the best strike came from Elliott Godfrey after a rare flowing attack but the midfielder’s strike was well held by Keeper Joe McDonnell.
Hendon won a flurry of late corners but Stones held firm and an ugly but effective point was gained to give them a six point lead at the top before a full Tuesday night league programme.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Okimo, Parker ©, Cronin, Godfrey, McCluskey, Pigden, McGleish, Penny, Pett. Sub used: Siva. N/u: Malone (GK), Fatai- Somuyiwa, Mason, Jack Hutchinson.
Match Report by Nick DuGard