Wealdstone moved up to second in the National League South on Tuesday evening, as they continued their winning momentum with a 1-0 victory against Chippenham Town.
A beautiful diving header from midfielder Billy Clifford in the first half was enough to secure consecutive wins for Wealdstone, after Saturday’s impressive away win at Braintree Town.
The Stones started the match in emphatic fashion as they took the lead within the first five minutes. Goalkeeper Aston Oxborough’s free kick found Ross Lafayette, who chested the ball down and found Danny Green on the right wing.
Green then produced a splendid moment of skill, outpacing Chippenham defender Jay Foultson to the by-line to whip in a fantastic cross to the far post. Clifford was positioned excellently, at the back post, converting a stunning diving header past the Bluebirds’ goalkeeper, Will Puddy.
Wealdstone continued to put Chippenham under pressure throughout the first half, as they dominated possession and created a number of goal scoring opportunities; through a combination of cohesive build-up play, along with fluid and innovative movement.
The influential trio of Clifford, Green, and Lafayette were at the heart of the action, pulling the creative strings for the Stones, while Connor Stevens produced his usual imposing and commanding performance in defence, putting his body on the line to thwart any Chippenham attacks.
In the 30th minute, Connor Smith went agonisingly close to doubling the host’s lead. A corner from Green was cleared by the Bluebirds, but Smith rifled a splendid first-time volley towards the bottom corner, with only the post denying him his first goal of the season.
A minute later, the Stones were extremely close to extending their lead further. Dennon Lewis won the ball on the edge of the box, and struck an early shot towards goal. Puddy saved the initial effort, before nearly spilling the ball over the goal line, but he managed to recover the situation well.
Green, who had looked a constant attacking threat for Wealdstone came close to scoring a sublime goal in the 39th minute. He cut in from the right wing and surged towards goal, curling a superb goalbound effort, which sailed narrowly wide of the far post.
The Bluebirds started the second half in a bright and determined manner, pressuring Wealdstone from the outset as they looked to draw the match level.
The Stones came alive in the 58th minute as Phillips cleared a Chippenham attack and found Clifford, who picked out Lewis with a wonderful diagonal pass. Lewis then raced down the left wing, cutting inside to square the ball to Smith on the edge of the box. He ripped a powerful strike, which flew just over the crossbar.
As the second half progressed, the match began to more open, as both sides looked to take the ascendency. Michael Phillips was in fine form for Wealdstone, producing an effortless performance as he screened the Stones’ defence.
In the 74th minute, the Bluebirds tested Oxborough as George Rigg attempted a volley from the edge of the area, but the Norwich City loanee goalkeeper was able to claim comfortably.
Wealdstone substitute Jacob Mendy came close to scoring back-to-back goals as he struck a fierce strike from range in the 83rd minute, which fizzed just wide of the target.
As the second half drew to a close, the Stones nearly doubled their lead courtesy of an outstanding move.
The ever-dangerous Michee Efete produced a mesmerising run from left back; gliding past the Bluebirds’ midfield and defence to fire a brilliant effort from the edge of the box across Puddy and flew just wide of the far post.
In the 89th minute, as Chippenham pressed for an elusive equaliser in the dying minutes, Rigg struck a fantastic long range volley which flew just over the bar.
Chippenham nearly grabbed a share of the spoils in additional time, as they won a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box, but Stevens was on-hand to powerfully head clear.
After winning two games in a row, the Stones travel to Vauxhall Road on Saturday afternoon to face local rivals Hemel Hempstead in the National League South. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford, Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Smith, Lafayette (Roberts, 90), Green (Sheppard, 87), Lewis (Mendy, 75).
Subs not used: Ringer, Beckles-Richards.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee