Ten-man Wealdstone held on to secure a deserved 1-0 win against Welling United at The Vale in the National League South on Saturday afternoon.
Michee Efete gave the league leaders a narrow half-time lead and grinded to another clean sheet in the second half after Michael Phillips’ red card provided a nervy finish.
Dean Brennan freshened up the starting line-up with four changes from the side that lost at Billericay Town in midweek.
New signing Moses Emmanuel came in alongside Efete, Connor Smith and Danny Green at the expense of Ross Lafayette, William Edjenguele, Adam Coombes and Jacob Mendy.
Another new signing for the Stones featured on the bench, forward Kieron Cadogan is yet to play this season and began Saturday on the side-line.
Both sides were fresh from the busy Christmas period and a sluggish slow start to the game reflected that.
Efete, returning after a sustained ankle injury last weekend, was a constant threat from the right-hand side in the first half, proving surging deep runs with and without the ball.
The first shot on target was not registered for either side until the 27th minute and it resulted in the opening goal from Efete.
A great passing move from the Stones ended with Green clipping the ball into Emmanuel, who touched it down for Efete to slot under Dan Wilks.
Welling were competitive up to that point even though they were not creating any clear chances.
New Wings manager Bradley Quinton was looking for a response to going behind; Gavin McCallum almost provided the perfect reply until he was denied by Harry Isted.
Efete could have been handed a simple second goal, but Billy Clifford elected to shoot rather than slip in the right-back and his strike was blocked.
Moments later, Emmanuel almost netted on his Stones debut, curling an effort from the left off the woodwork just before half-time.
Mendy was substituted on by Brennan at the break and unlocked pockets of space for Emmanuel, Green and Dennon Lewis at the start of the second half.
Lewis slipped Emmanuel in down the left channel and the former Wings striker took a first-time effort which flew wide across Wilks’ far-post.
The Stones produced a dominant spell which somehow did not produce a second goal, Lewis almost curled an effort into the bottom corner after being picked out on the left by Green.
Just after the hour-mark, Quinton subbed on former Stone Phil Roberts and it almost forced an instant pay-off for Quinton; Roberts was in-behind on the right but Isted made a reaction save with his foot to deflect clear.
With the momentum swinging into Welling’s favour, it got worse for the Stones as Michael Phillips was shown a second yellow card for dissent following his earlier yellow card for handball.
Welling’s attempts to get on the front-foot and find an equaliser were consistently denied by Smith, taking control of central midfield for Wealdstone after Phillips’ dismissal.
The only save Isted was forced into in the final 15 minutes was an audacious long-range effort from Connor Dymond, which stung the palms of the Luton Town loanee but caused no issue.
Wilks kept the Wings in the game before stoppage time when he stopped Lewis doubling Wealdstone’s lead and it was a nervy end for the Stones as Welling launched set-pieces into the box.
Brennan’s men held on to secure an 11th win from 12 home games this season, a fourth home clean sheet in the last five and extend their lead to seven points at the National League South summit.
Report by Dec O’Reilly
Wealdstone: Isted, Efete, Sheppard (Mendy, 45), Clifford (Jebb, 69), Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Smith, Emmanuel, Green (Charles, 90), Lewis.
Subs not used: Watt, Cadogan.
The Stones return their focus to their Middlesex Senior Cup campaign on Tuesday when we travel to Staines Town, kick-off is at 7:45pm.