Wealdstone consolidated their position at the top the Ryman Premier League with this emphatic and hugely entertaining win over struggling East Thurrock at The Vale on Saturday.
As a result of this fourth consecutive win, Stones are now 5 points clear of main rivals Dulwich Hamlet and Maidstone United.
Gordon Bartlett had drafted in 18 year old pro striker Charlie Penny from Millwall the previous day to boost forward options and the youngster made his debut as a second half substitute and acquitted himself very well.
Stones made hard work of the opening exchanges and could have conceded a shock early goal as Thurrock exploited hesitancy in the home defence but centre half Tom Hamblin somehow got back to clear off the line when a goal appeared a formality.
Stones rallied well and from a long ball out of defence they took the lead on 26 minutes when Steve Sheehan got caught out – and not for the first time during a difficult afternoon for the big defender – and Scott McGleish nipped to round ‘keeper David Hughes to open the scoring. McGleish then netted a second after a superb flowing move started by live wire Tom Pett, who tormented the away side throughout, passed to Glenn Little and his great cross into the box was headed home in clinical style by the former Leyton Orient striker.
Thurrock briefly threatened with Sam Higgins and Neil Richmond combining well in a decent spell but Stones effectively killed the game just before the break. Man of the match McGleish raced to the byline to cut back a brilliantly executed cross for the onrushing Stefan Bailey to head home with a spectacular diving effort at the far post.
With Little outstanding and playing in a more advanced position, Stones took complete control in the second period and McGleish completed his hat trick after another majestic inside ball from Pett. McGleish looked like he had taken the ball too wide but nevertheless finished unerringly.
Some increasingly physical play from a frustrated away side saw a booking with Tom Pett being singled out for treatment. Hamblin, McGleish and Bailey all suffered injuries and were substituted.
Sam Higgins for The Rocks was unlucky to see his snapshot rattle the cross bar but Stones underlined their overwhelming superiority on the day when Pett’s rifled 30 yard strike caught out keeper David Hughes for the fifth and final goal of the afternoon as the final whistle blew.
Wealdstone travel the short distance to face Hendon FC (at Harrow Borough’s Earlsmead ground) in another vital league game on Monday evening.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Okimo, Hamblin, Cronin ©, Godfrey, Little, Pigden, McGleish, Bailey, Pett. Subs used: Parker, McCluskey, Penny. N/u: Siva, Bentley.
William Hill MoM: Scott McGleish
Match Report by Nick DuGard