Basingstoke Town 2 Wealdstone 4
Wealdstone’s recent form continues to frustrate and delight in equal measure but on Saturday at The Soccer AM Stadium it most definitely the latter. A controlled performance of skill and determination comprehensively outwitted promotion chasing Basingstoke who must have thought the points were there for the taking against a side that reportedly ‘had nothing to play for’.
The contest enthralled the 170 visiting supporters amongst a bumper crowd of 1,038 many of whom were youngsters hoping to meet The Wealdstone Raider who was also in attendance, his mass popularity undoubtedly still very much in evidence.
In a difficult swirling wind, Stones took first blood on 19 minutes after a nervous looking home side failed to master playing with the strong breeze at their backs and continually overplayed with stray passes. Wes Parker seized on an excellent free kick from Matt Ball and forced the ball homeafter under pressure keeper Stuart Moore could only parry.
But the home side immediately struck back winning a soft looking penalty after Liam Enver-Marum was felled in the area. The experienced Manny Williams found the back of the net but a frustrated Jonathan North knew he was close to another spot kick save as he guessed right and got his hand to it.
‘Stoke thought they had wrested the initiative back but Wealdstone dug in admirably and hit back.
Jefferson Louis again put in another excellent shift and provedto be a massive handful for the home defenders who struggled to contain his strength and power. And it was Louis that created the second for Stones as he headed across goal invitingly for the energetic Luke O’Nien to bundle home to finish off an excellent sweeping team move.
Louis was not to be denied a goal himself though and from a trademark bulldozing run he brushed aside his marker Jay Gasson and powered an angled drive past Moore’s despairing dive for 3-1 delighting his admirers massed behind the home goal.
The second period started slowly with a shell shocked home side trying to get going against a resolute Stones defence with Tom Hamblin and Parker in top form.
Stones had a rare set back on 76 minutes as they for once failed to clear the ball effectively outside the area and Lloyd Macklin squirmed a shot past North giving Basingstoke a lifeline.
But typical of their performance on the day Stones came piling back and from a corner a shambolic home defence allowed the ball to run free and Hamblin reacted quickest to poke home to kill off the game, capping a superb all round team performance.
Wealdstone: North, Martin, Watts, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey, Lucien, Brown, Louis, Ball, O’Nien. Subs used: Wright, McGleish. Not used: Jolly, Corcoran, Hammond.