Wealdstone 2 – 1 Harrow Borough
2 - 1
Wealdstone maintained their current unbeaten run with a hard fought win over local rivals Harrow Borough on Holiday Monday and in the process they moved up one place in the Ryman Premier table to fourth position with games in hand over all of the teams around them in the play off zone. Watford loan player Billy Gibson was the hero for the Stones scoring both goals including a first half penalty.
The pitch at The Vale was perfectly playable although a little slippery down the flanks at the turnstile end. With Ryan Ashe not available for this key derby encounter, Sam Corcoran very capably filled his central midfield slot. The ever improving Callum Martin started up front. Greg Ngoyi was on the bench with fellow striker Charlie Mpi.
Stones got off to a flyer against an in-form Boro outfit when the energetic Lee Chappell stole into the box to send a diving header crashing onto the post after only a minute after good work from eventual man-of-the-match Callum Martin. The home side continued to pile on the early pressure, gaining a corner and then Martin’s super strike was well saved by a diving Andre Baptiste.
Stones dominance in the early stages finally paid dividends when big Tobi Jinadu inexplicably brought down Billy Gibson on 21 minutes on the edge of the box moving away from the goal. Gibson got up, confidently claimed the ball, and slammed a fierce spot kick high into the net past Baptiste.
Borough were showing little kicking up the slope and Rocky Baptiste’s excellent link up play was largely wasted. A free kick on Boro’s right flank was almost flashed in by Alan Massey as Stones attempted to press home their possession advantage.
Harrow did now gradually begin to play as Stones failed to find the net that their dominance demanded. The away side went close from a free kick but again Stones almost grabbed a second when Callum Martin went just wide with a well crafted effort.
But Stones were made to pay for their lack of a clinical finish on 40 minutes; completely against the run of play the Reds broke swiftly up the slope and Dean Fenton rifled a shot past Luke Woods from a good ball from Rocky Baptiste that had caught the Stones defence square. Boro threatened to rock Stones with a second but the home defence mopped up.
Although Stones gained an early free kick, play in the early stages of the second period was even. Wayne Walters was just wide with a decent headed effort to warn the Stones back line.
But Wealdstone edged ahead on 51 minutes with great persistence from winger Billy Gibson. The tall Watford man beat his defender on the edge of the box, cut inside and in the defensive scramble that followed Gibson was on hand to poke the ball home to the joy of players and fans alike.
As the away side’s frustration set in, Skipper Wayne Walters was booked by Referee Adrian Gillett who had a very good match acting decisively to sort out any challenges that threatened to raise the temperature of what was always going to be a keenly fought derby match that saw some increasingly hard tackles flying in.
Danny Spendlove was exchanged for Chris Ellerbeck as Stones sought to up the tempo going forward with fresh legs. Harrow felt aggrieved when they though they had equalised following a flowing move but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside early, to Stones huge relief.
As the lights came on and darkness fell the game became finely balanced as both sides sought to gain advantage and play became ever tenser and stretched.
Stones roared back and from a well flighted Corcoran corner, Martin was incredibly unlucky to see his well directed header smash off an upright and away to safety.
Callum Martin was substituted by Charlie Mpi and the rangy front player immediately started to cause the Boro rearguard problems but his control just let him down at crucial moments. Greg Ngoyi came on for the final few minutes and he played his part in keeping the pressure on the Reds back line.
Stones survived a late Boro rally and once again earned local bragging rights in a hard fought and atmospheric derby match victory that kept the 666 bank holiday crowd enthralled.
Wealdstone: Woods, McCoy, Chappell, Locke, Massey, Corcoran, Gibson, O’Leary, Spendlove, Martin, E’Beyer. Subs used: Ellerbeck, Mpi, Ngoyi. N/u: Fitzgerald, During.
MoM: Callum Martin