Still without several key players; Glen Little, Michael Malcolm and Stefan Bailey and Tom Hamblin all sidelined, Wealdstone again displayed great character and ultimately cruised to yet another win on the road at in-form Leiston on Saturday.
Goals from Charlie Penny in the first half and Scott McGleish in the second gained another vital three points for the away side.
Leiston had only tasted defeat once in their previous 12 matches coming into this clash and Stones had prepared for a difficult afternoon in Suffolk. But the 110 anxious travelling Stones fans seemingly behaving as expectant fathers these days needn’t have worried as Wealdstone dominated the game and effectively nullified Leiston to the point where ‘keeper Jonathan North did not have a serious save to make.
As a result of their own imperious form and other rivals incredibly continuing to slip up over recent weeks Stones now find themselves 8 points clear at the top of the Ryman Premier – and still with vital games in hand over all of the main promotion contenders.
Manager Gordon Bartlett will certainly not be getting carried away about title talk and will ensure his troops continue to keep their feet firmly on the ground particularly with an injury list that stubbornly refuses to reduce and with games coming up thick and fast.
But Bartlett’s astute forays into the player market paid dividends once again with bright young Millwall loanee Charlie Penny getting onto the score sheet on Saturday and he could easily have grabbed a couple more. But it is the experience in the side that once again steadied the ship with former Gillingham midfielder Mark Bentley outstanding, displaying great enthusiasm and team link up play.
Nevertheless Leiston were fastest out of the blocks with former Lowestoft man Joe Francis and the lively Gareth Heath causing some problems for Stones defence. But Stones took the lead with literally their first attack. From a looping cross to the far post Penny stole in and gleefully side footed home.
Leiston soon got back on the offensive and from a free kick Emmanuel Osei headed wide.
But Stones soon gained a vice like grip on the game with Bentley running the show in the midfield and the defence led by Wes Parker and big Sean Cronin continually closing down any threat from the hosts. The pacy threat of Osei was effectively marked out of the game with the flanks patrolled by James Hammond and the fleet footed Jerome Okimo who was alert to everything.
Leiston tried to get back into the game in the second period but Wealdstone’s dominance was all pervading. Penny’s great strike was saved wonderfully well by Danny Gaye but Stones grabbed a vital second goal on 61 minutes.
McGleish showed great opportunism with a superb turn and instantaneous strike to powerfully net his 20th league goal of the campaign.
Leiston pressed hard in the final few minutes and won a late corner but Stones defensive brick wall held firm.
Wealdstone are back on the road on Tuesday evening (March 25) when they travel to Lewes.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Okimo, Parker, Cronin, Godfrey, Penny, Pigden, McGleish, Bentley, Pett. Sub used: McCluskey. N/u: Siva, Mason, Hutchinson, Ehui.
Attendance: 374 (110 Wealdstone)
Match Report by Nick DuGard