Wealdstone 6-0 Harrow Borough
6 - 0
From the Wealdstone perspective it simply doesn’t get much better than this. An eagerly awaited derby match played out in a great atmosphere turned into an utter annihilation of the Borough that seemed to stun the home crowd at times almost as much as it left the red shirted players shell shocked throughout the entire ninety minutes of what was still a full blooded and highly entertaining encounter.
Wealdstone’s team performance on the day was awesome and but was undoubtedly aided by some very poor defending from a strangely jaded looking Borough side.
The 780 Vale crowd were is an excited and distinctly festive mood but the compact contingent of Harrow supporters were surely dismayed when team news was announced that star striker and goal machine Robin Shroot would not even feature on the bench. This must have been a big blow to David Howell’s match plans and would have given a boost to his opposite number, Gordon Bartlett. But whether Shroot’s inclusion would have significantly affected the outcome of this one totally sided clash is perhaps doubtful.
Stones manager Gordon Bartlett also chose to gamble with his starting line up and swapped young striker Greg Ngoyi for the far more experienced James Gray up front. And this switch worked an absolute treat with the Wealdstone centre half and skipper eventually being voted man of the match with two clinically executed first half goals combined with a storming performance in attack constantly unsettling a fragile Boro rearguard.
Both sides took a while to settle with Stones particularly looking over eager and snatching at the ball. It was the away side that attacked more fluently in the opening minutes and Miles Jones looked lively down the centre of the Boro attack. After a decent move and shot from Lee Hall that went past Sean Thomas’s upright, Stones started to move the ball up the slope to far greater effect and Davis Haule found himself with a great chance to open the scoring but his shot was blocked.
But Stones didn’t take long to break the deadlock and it came with a wonderful strike and goal from Ryan Ashe with the ball dipping from 25 yards over Andray Baptiste into the top right hand corner on 17 minutes.
Barely 5 minutes later the blues went further ahead. A great run from midfielder Kieron Forbes, who had a storming game all afternoon, produced a great opening for James Gray and a deft finish from the Yorkshireman left Baptiste with no chance for 2-0.
Gray then volleyed viciously over, connecting with a good ball from the right. Boro were still competing well and putting in some robust challenges in the midfield areas of the park in an attempt to break up Stones passing game.
But when the reds did manage to break free they came up against the solid brick wall of Alan Massey, Darren Locke and the fleet footed Carl Martin who chased down everything that came his way.
Stones kept a relentless pressure on an overworked and concerned Boro back line and this pressing paid off as a mix up allowed an on running James Gray to seize on a loose ball and he found himself with only Baptiste to beat….and that he did with aplomb to sweep the ball past the bemused custodian for 3-0 and in the process sending the Stones faithful behind the goal into raptures.
Half time: 3-0
Harrow surprisingly replaced Miles Jones with Jonathan Constant in the second period but within 10 seconds of the restart the focus was on Keiron Forbes as he somehow blasted over when scoring seemed the easier option.
Rory Delap disciple Lee Chappell then got in on the act when one of a succession of torpedo like throws finally brought reward. The ball was fired long into the Harrow goal mouth and the unfortunate Danny Leech, distracted by Massey, back headed the ball over a despondent Baptiste who was to pick the ball out of the net for the fourth time.
Stones were rampant and continued to look for more goals. The fifth came and what a glorious strike this was. The effervescent Lee Chappell showed that he is much more than a long throw merchant; the wing back flicked the ball up and unleashed a tremendous strike from an angle to leave Baptiste helpless for 5-0 on 56 minutes.
To Boro’s credit they kept battling away and had some forays up the slope but were unable to get their strikes away as Wealdstone’s second phase play snuffed out the opportunity for time and space.
Wealdstone’s sixth goal was possibly the goal of the match. Superbly crafted by a flowing exchange of five passes simply ripped open the Boro defence and Ryan Ashe produced an outstanding finish for his brace with 25 minutes still to go.
Danny Spendlove who was also a star on the left flank was a constant threat in the later stages with some skilful play that opened up chances time and again.
A flurry of very understandable substitutions broke play up a little with Greg Ngoyi, David Hicks and Jacque Floweday all entering the fray and there was to be no further addition to the score line. In fact it was Harrow that came closest to a consolation but Sean Thomas who had been virtually redundant throughout brought off an excellent save to his near post to preserve valuable goal difference.
A memorable victory then for Wealdstone played out in front of their largest competitive gate of the season so far, by some distance. They could do with reproducing this sparkling form when they travel to Borehamwood on January 3.
Wealdstone: Thomas, Martin, Chappell, Locke, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Haule, Gray, Spendlove. Subs used: Ngoyi, Hicks, Floweday. Not used: Woods, McCoy.
Harrow Borough: Baptiste, Dahl, Walters, Jinadu, Highton, Frempong, McGonigle, Clarke, Jones, Hall. Subs: Constant, Noel, Morlese, Hunte, Ross.