Wealdstone cruised to an impressive 4-0 victory against Braintree Town at Cressing Road on Saturday afternoon.
A first half own goal by Ollie Saunders, accompanied by second half strikes from Danny Green, Jacob Mendy and Billy Clifford, meant Wealdstone made it two wins from their opening three games of the new campaign.
The Stones started the more dominant of the two sides in the early periods. Defender Connor Stevens was presented the first chance of the afternoon after nine minutes.
A fantastic right-footed cross from Nick Arnold located Stevens free in the penalty area and guided his header goalward, prevented only by Michael Johnson’s fingertip-save.
Wealdstone dominated the opening phases of the game and took the lead on the 20th minute when Dennon Lewis jetted down the left, delivered a fierce low-cross which cannoned off Iron full-back Saunders into the net.
The Stones could have doubled their lead less than a minute later when Lewis won the ball from Rob Harvey high up the pitch. Lewis elected to shoot at the near-post but Johnson was equal to the strike and forced a strong save.
The upper hand was firmly with Wealdstone and midfielder Clifford almost capitalised in the 27th minute with a second Stones goal, an audacious half-volley from over 30 yards was comfortably gathered by Johnson.
There was no letting up from the Stones, three minutes later talisman Ross Lafayette twisted-and-turned on the edge of the box before hammering a left-footed strike into the palms of Johnson.
Lewis was becoming a creative catalyst as the game progressed. The former Watford forward almost found his scoring touch 10 minutes before the interval but again Johnson denied the Stones.
Dean Brennan said after Tuesday’s defeat at Dulwich Hamlet that the Stones didn’t create enough goal-scoring opportunities, that was certainly not the case this time around.
Five minutes before the half-time break, Lewis became the provider on the right-hand side and squared the ball low to Lafayette in the area before former Stone Josh Urquhart cut-out Lewis’ dangerous pass.
Lewis caused havoc in the first half for the Stones, everything positive in attack was going through the winger. Lewis almost found his scoring touch before the break but curled an effort wide of Johnson’s far-post.
The Stones were firmly in control after the initial 45 minutes and took a one-goal advantage into the half-time interval.
An even start to the second half gifted the home side with an opportunity to draw level five minutes after the break. Saunders tried to redeem earlier wrongs, he jetted past Arnold but sliced his left-footed shot wide.
Braintree again looked the find the equaliser just before the hour-mark, substitute Alfie Cerulli controlled the ball in the penalty area before Tom Richardson fired straight at Norwich City loanee Aston Oxborough.
Just as the Iron began to create a couple of chances, Green doubled Wealdstone’s lead in the 73rd minute.
Green collected the ball from Lafayette’s back-heel on the edge of the box; two touches later Green had skimmed defender Jake Hutchings and ‘keeper Johnson before slotting into an empty net.
A chance for a dramatic Braintree comeback became less likely in the 83rd minute when Stevens slid a through ball into substitute Mendy, who cleverly flicked the ball over the defender before his half-volley rustled the back of the net.
Two minutes later, the Stones concluded the contest in emphatic fashion. Full-back Michee Efete’s header found Clifford on the edge of the box; after composing himself, Clifford delightfully guided the ball past Johnson into the bottom corner.
Wealdstone will return to action this Tuesday back at The Vale as the Stones host Chippenham Town. Kick-off at The Vale will be 7:45pm.
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford, Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Smith, Lafayette (Roberts, 80), Green (Sheppard, 76), Lewis (Mendy, 60).
Subs not used: Ringer, Beckles-Richards.
Report by Dec O’Reilly