Wealdstone 1 – 0 Billericay Town
1 - 0
Wealdstone produced a very solid performance on Saturday to claim, remarkably, their first ever league win over Billericay Town who had earlier entered The Vale bemused at being greeted by hundreds of excited Manchester City fans who had stopped off en route to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final.
The Essex side have been somewhat of a ‘bogey side,’ for Wealdstone in recent years, which will make this victory all the more satisfying. It was a much improved performance from Stones who moved the ball around well and snuffed out the attacking threat of a tall and physical Billericay side, and could have won by a greater margin had it not been for some strong goalkeeping from Town’s Nicky Morgan.
Billericay started the afternoon in lively fashion, and had their first chance as early as the first minute, when after Alan Massey had pushed James Lawson in the back 25 yards from goal, Adam Flanagan stepped up to fire a powerful free kick which Jonathan North did well to tip over.
It certainly was a frantic opening few minutes, with Nikki Ahamed firing over from distance before Eddie Adjei poked a shot just wide of the post after a clever flick from Sean Cronin.
The game then settled into a rhythm, with Wealdstone having the better of possession and moving the ball around a lot more neatly than in recent weeks.
Wealdstone then took the lead in spectacular fashion on 22 minutes. Ahamed played a good ball through to Cronin whose lay off found Peter Dean 20 yards out. From that position the striker was able to curl a delightful left footed shot into the top corner which left giant Billericay ‘keeper Nicky Morgan with no chance.
Dean again went close on 29 minutes, seeing his shot saved by Morgan after a good interchange with Watford loanee Gavin Massey who was enjoying a much improved performance.
Dean’s shot turned out to be the last real chance of the half, although Wealdstone were playing some good football, and defending well to keep Billericay’s physical front line at bay.
The second half began with Wealdstone on the front foot again, and they created a good opportunity just two minutes in when Brooks’ quickly taken free kick found Lee Chappell in space on the left flank. The Stones skipper was able to send over a cross which just evaded the onrushing Dean and Massey.
Ahamed then came close on 58 minutes, hitting a powerful volley from 20 yards which looked goal bound until it unfortunately struck Wes Parker and deflected over.
Billericay then had their first chance of the half three minutes later, when Junior Luke fired over a cross which found the unmarked Cedric Ngakam, however he could only head well over.
The experienced Micah Hyde then came close for the away side, firing in a superb free kick from 40 yards which just went wide of the post.
Straight after the free kick Billericay found themselves down to ten men due to what can only be described as an act of sheer stupidity from Chris Wild. The towering central defender first found himself in the book for dissent and but continued to show dissent and was dramatically shown a second yellow card seconds later.
Gavin Massey had looked particularly lively for Wealdstone, and he came close on 75 minutes when his low drive from the edge of the box was well saved by Morgan.
Morgan was again called into action three minutes from end, saving well after a decent run and shot from the impressive Kurtney Brooks who was later named man of the match. From the resultant corner Morgan again was in inspired form to deny Gavin Massey with a superb one handed save as Stones looked to put the result beyond doubt.
Massey came even closer to adding a second for Stones in the first minute of injury time, firing just wide across the face of goal after a defensive slip.
Billericay were unable to cause any problems for Stones in the remaining few minutes, and the home side were able to comfortably hold out for a second straight league win.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Chappell (c), Parker, A. Massey, Cronin, Ahamed (C. Martin 82), Brooks, G. Massey, Dean, Adjei. Subs not used: Conteh, Duncan, P. Martin, Thomas.
Man of the Match: Kurtney Brooks
By Stuart Warren