Table toppers Wealdstone travelled to New Lodge to face seventeenth placed Billericay Town on Tuesday evening, keen to bounce back to winning ways, and solidify their lead at the top of the National League South.
Goals from Odysseus Alfa, Jake Robinson, and Femi Akinwande sealed an emphatic victory for Billericay, as Captain Jerome Okimo scored a late consolatory goal for Wealdstone.
Dean Brennan made two changes to the side that fell to defeat at Oxford City on Saturday; Adam Coombes replaced Jake Jebb in midfield, while Jake Sheppard slotted in at right back for the injured Michee Efete.
After a quiet start to the match, the Stones’ first goal scoring opportunity came in the 10th minute, when the ball was flicked onto Dennon Lewis in the box, who produced an instinctive first-time volley, which Charlton loanee Nathan Harness parried wide.
Billericay’s first sight of goal came in the 23rd minute, when the ball was sprayed wide to Robinson on the left wing; he struck a fierce effort from range, which flew over the crossbar.
A minute later, Billericay seized the initiative in style; Alfa skipped past two Wealdstone defenders, and despatched a shot low into the bottom corner past Harry Isted, sending the home side into an early lead.
The Blues nearly extended their advantage in the 35th minute, as Robinson advanced forward and threaded though Akinwande, but he blazed his effort over the crossbar.
The home side continued to dominate the first half, and nearly doubled their lead in the 41st minute, as Alfa’s deflected cross from the right wing curled just wide of the far post.
The Stones started the second half in a brighter fashion, as they looked for an equaliser. Lewis won the ball on the right wing in the 53rd minute and set-up Jacob Mendy to shoot from the edge of the box, but he was unable to keep his shot down.
In the 69th minute, the Stones were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. Coombes’ initial effort was charged down by the Blues’ wall; however, Billy Clifford latched onto the rebound and curled a low effort towards goal, but Harness claimed comfortably.
Wealdstone’s mountain became steeper to climb when they were reduced to ten men. Jack Jebb, who had only been on the pitch for five minutes, was shown a straight red card as Billericay were awarded a penalty.
Robinson stepped up to take the resultant spot kick, and duly converted; striking past Isted into the top corner, to double the Blues’ lead in the 77th minute.
The Stones were handed a lifeline in the 88th minute, as Jake Sheppard, who had been impressive throughout in his return to the starting line-up, combined with Connor Smith, who whipped in a fantastic cross for Captain Jerome Okimo to convert at the far post.
As Wealdstone pushed forwarded to press for a last minute equaliser, Billericay exploited the space and caught the Stones on the counter attack. Akinwande was released down the right channel and fired past Isted at the near post to capture a convincing win for the Blues.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
The Stones return to National League South action on Saturday 11th January, as they entertain Welling United at The Vale; kick-off is at 3pm.
Wealdstone: Isted, Sheppard, Edjenguele, Clifford (Jebb, 71), Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Mendy (Smith, 57), Lafayette, Coombes, Lewis (Watt, 84).
Subs not used: North, Charles.