Wealdstone 2 – 3 Hemel Hempstead
2 - 3
Wealdstone played their penultimate pre-season match against a strong and well organised BGB Premier side, Hemel Hempstead Town, at the Vale on Saturday. In an absorbing and competitive game, played out in difficult rainy conditions, Stones eventually lost out by the odd goal in five.
Stones conceded after only 5 minutes play when the ball appeared to deflect off a Wealdstone defender and caught home keeper Luke Woods wrong footed; Hemel’s Chris Dillon followed up to score. In a testing period of the match for the home side, striker Ben Alexander then had to leave the field with what appeared to be a knee injury and was replaced by substitute Stephen Hughes. Stones upped their attacking play and created several excellent goal opportunities but were kept out by Hemel keeper Ricky Perks. When Perks was finally beaten by a Derek Quaye sliced shot the ball came back off an upright and was cleared to safety and Hemel were able to hold a one goal advantage at half time.
In the second period Stones brought on Sean Thomas in goal and within nine minutes of the restart he was facing his second penalty in successive matches. This time he wasn’t beaten, getting down low to fingertip Paul Edgeworth’s spot kick onto his right hand post and away to safety. Wealdstone equalised in the 56th minute with a cracking goal from big striker Stephen Hughes who held off three challenges before unleashing an unstoppable strike. However, Stones conceded again almost immediately with a disappointingly soft goal from an unmarked header. But midfielder Ryan Ashe brought Stones level with another great 20 yard strike from a sharp Nick Salapatas cross with 16 minutes to go.
But Hemel restored their lead several minutes later in controversial circumstances when Salapatas appeared to be clearly fouled. The referee strangely allowed play to continue and Hemel raced away to score with the young winger still lying motionless on the ground.
So, some good attacking play from Stones, in another very competitive work out, as they make final preparations for their exciting Ryman Premier opener next Saturday (16 August, 3pm ko), versus a strongly tipped Tonbridge Angels side at the Vale.
Wealdstone: Woods, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Martin, Ashe, Quaye, O’Leary, Alexander, Forbes, Montgomery. Subs (all used): Thomas, Burrell, Hicks, Hughes, Salapatas.