Wealdstone move three points clear at the top of the National League South after a dramatic 4-3 victory against Weymouth on Bank Holiday Monday.
A perfect hat-trick for Ross Lafayette, accompanied by Dennon Lewis’ first half equaliser, cancelled out Weymouth goals from Yemi Odubade, Abdulai Baggie and Brett Williams at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
The game began at an electric pace and the home side were the first to profit, scoring within seven minutes courtesy of Odubade.
From the left-hand side, full-back Ollie Harfield had space in an advanced position and squared the ball to Odubade who made no mistake with a first-time finish into the bottom corner.
Wealdstone responded well to going behind and gained momentum in the game without panicking after going one-goal down.
An exquisite lofted through-ball from Billy Clifford fell to the feet of Lewis in the area and he struck his effort in at the near-post, marking his third goal in three games.
The game fell quiet after Lewis’ equaliser in the 19th minute but the Stones kept trying to pile the pressure on.
A late scare for Weymouth came just before the half-time break when Michee Efete’s cross from the left almost beat Terras ‘keeper Calum Ward, but was instead batted away for a corner.
Wealdstone punished Weymouth from the set-piece, a delightful corner from Danny Green reached the head of Lafayette in the six-yard box as the striker guided his header into the bottom corner.
The Stones deserved their half-time lead after showing persistence to find goals when going one-goal behind early on, being supported by the many Stones fans who made the 264-mile round-trip south.
The second half commenced and was largely dominated by the home side as they searched for an equaliser.
What seemed like bundles of pressure from the home side, a fantastic counter-attack by Dean Brennan’s side in the 54th minute resulted in the fourth goal of the game.
A perfect through-ball by Lewis was latched onto by Jacob Mendy in the middle, who was able to hold the ball up for Lafayette. The striker came steaming into the box and found the net after his first effort was initially blocked.
That goal could have easily sucked the life out of Weymouth, who had started the half strong and looked to build towards an equaliser before being caught on the break.
It almost got worse for the Terras five minutes later when Lafayette’s one-two with Green ended up with Lafayette on the floor in the 18-yard box, claiming for a penalty which was not given.
The penalty appeal was a “turning point in the game” according to Brennan, as Weymouth halved their deficit just three minutes later. Baggie was picked out in the penalty area and he converted, springing the game back into life.
This game took another turn in Weymouth’s favour less than two minutes later, when Stones captain Jerome Okimo’s blatant foul on Andy Robinson in the 18-yard box was spotted by the referee and gave a penalty to the home side.
From the spot, Williams, a late replacement to the Terras starting eleven, placed the ball calmly down the middle and sent Aston Oxborough the wrong way.
This entertaining game was left on a knife-edge going into the final third of the 90, either team could have and deserved to win it from this point.
It seemed like if either side was going to win it then it was more likely going to be Weymouth in the final exchanges, they played positive football but lacked a killer touch.
However, that killer touch was found by Lafayette in the final minute, converting Lewis’ low cross from the right at the near-post, completing a perfect hat-trick and breaking Weymouth hearts.
Lafayette’s winner sent the Wealdstone away end into raptures; at full-time, the players shared a deserved moment with their supporters as they received a standing ovation for their display.
The Stones will conclude their opening eight August fixtures with a visit from Maidstone United at The Vale on Saturday 31st August, kick-off is at 3pm.
Wealdstone: Oxborough (North, 80), Arnold, Efete, Clifford, Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Mendy (Watt, 66), Lafayette, Green (Sheppard, 66), Lewis.
Subs not used: Saunders, Beckles-Richards.
Report by Dec O’Reilly