Wealdstone suffered their first defeat of the season at Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday evening as the Stones fell to a narrow 1-0 score-line.
A first half finish from Richard Orlu was enough to secure the three points for the Hamlet on a tough night for Dean Brennan’s Stones.
Wealdstone dominated possession for the first five minutes and found their first opportunity a minute later.
Michael Phillips’ dangerous cross in from the left was touched down by Ross Lafayette in the box and collected by Billy Clifford who struck first time, but Quade Taylor blocked Clifford’s strike.
Three minutes later and the Stones had another opportunity. It was Lafayette with the attempt this time from 18-yards on his left foot but Hamlet ‘keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer batted the effort clear.
It seemed all one-way traffic in the first 20 minutes before Dipo Akinyemi burst in-behind and Norwich City’s loanee goalkeeper Aston Oxborough made a splendid save to prevent the Hamlet taking the lead.
The resulting corner was converted by Orlu as Jeffrey Monakana’s set-piece found the towering centre-half lurking at the back-post. Orlu comfortably side-footed the ball into the bottom of the net.
Wealdstone made sure that Dulwich did not double their lead and stayed compact for a 10-minute period.
During this period, Orlu was found free again at the back-post from another Monakana set-piece but Orlu hit his effort into the side-netting.
The Stones went on the front-foot again in the 33rd minute, Phillips’ ball through to Lafayette initially looked a goal-scoring opportunity but the chance petered out.
Phillips’ looked to find the equaliser with a looping long-range effort four minutes later but the audacious attempt did not threaten Maynard-Brewer as the goalkeeper made an easy collection.
Wealdstone had most of the possession in the first half but a lack of clear-cut efforts left the away side one-goal behind at the half-time interval.
The second half started much like the first for the Stones, plenty of ball-dominance but without a dangerous chance to show for it.
Dulwich Hamlet were creating problems for Wealdstone down the left channel and Monakana was the catalyst, his corner found Orlu again but his attempt smashed the post.
In-form Stones striker Lafayette took another attempt to draw Wealdstone level but his long-range effort in the 64th minute held too much power and flew wide.
The Hamlet on the other hand were searching for a crucial second goal, Monakana almost obliged when his shot from the left was well-saved by Oxborough at the front-post.
The impact substitution of Dennon Lewis almost paid for the second game in a row in 72nd minute when Phillips’ looping through-ball found the speedster running through on-goal. Maynard-Brewer was forced to stop and gather Lewis’ goal-bound effort.
Lewis was causing Dulwich problems in the 76th minute, as the forward cut in from the left and curled a beautiful strike wide of Maynard-Brewer’s far-post.
Dulwich Hamlet were putting their bodies on the line for three points throughout the game. Eight minutes from full-time, both Lewis and Danny Green had goal-bound strikes blocked by Hamlet defenders in the penalty area.
It just did not seem like it was going to be Wealdstone’s evening as chances would not find the back of the net and the Stones could not equalise.
The game eventually drew to a close as the Stones were beaten away from home on a frustrating evening in South London.
Wealdstone will return to action this Saturday when Dean Brennan’s Stones visit Braintree Town. Kick-off at Cressing Road will be 3pm.
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford (Lewis, 57), Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Smith (Sheppard, 70), Lafayette, Green, Watt (Beckles-Richard, 57).
Subs not used: Ringer, Mendy.
Report by Dec O’Reilly