Wealdstone 1 – 0 Hendon
1 - 0
Wealdstone sealed their first win of 2011 on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over near neighbours Hendon. Having gone without scoring in their previous five games, Stones ended their goal drought in the 33rd minute of this physical encounter when Hendon defender Daniel Sintim turned Lee Chappell’s well flighted free kick past his own goalkeeper in what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
The big team news before kickoff was not only the inclusion in the starting XI of new loan signings Richard Jolly and Kieran Knight, but also a return to the substitutes bench for highly rated striker Callum Martin who returns after a lengthy lay off through injury. Stones fans will be hoping the 24 year old can now stay free of injury to help lift the side out of their recent slump in form. With new signings Jolly and Knight partnering each other up front, it was Stones who started the brighter of the two sides, having the first opportunity of the game in the third minute when Danny Spendlove played a cleverly lofted ball to Alex Dyer who’s effort from an acute angle was turned away by Berkley Laurencin in the Hendon goal.
Laurencin then had to be alert two minutes later to save low down from a 20 yard effort by Kurtney Brooks. It was a decent start from the home side, and they again came close on 12 minutes when Jolly found himself through on goal following a quick free kick by Peter Dean, however he was just beaten to the ball by Laurencin. Jolly did manage to get a shot on goal a minute later, seeing his effort blocked by the busy Laurencin after a good interchange with strike partner Knight. Peter Dean was next to go close, seeing his 25 yard free kick fly just over the bar after Jolly had been impeded.
Hendon had their first chance of the afternoon on 32 minutes, when Aaron Morgan got to the byline and pulled the ball back to Lee O’Leary whose close range effort was blocked on the line by Lee Chappell. The deadlock was then broken a minute later. Lee Chappell curled a free kick goalwards and Hendon defender Daniel Sintim could only head the ball past his own ‘keeper to put Stones 1-0 up. The relief was plain to see on the face of the Wealdstone players; however they were dealt a blow immediately after the goal as Kieran Knight had to be withdrawn after picking up a painful looking knock earlier in the half.Knight had been enjoying a solid debut, holding the ball up well and bringing others into play; however his injury meant there would have to be a slight change in tactics from Stones as he was replaced by the more direct Greg Ngoyi.
Hendon made two changes of their own at half time, bringing on Danny Dyer and John Fletcher in replace of Kevin Maclaren and Michael Peacock. The changes seemed to have a positive effect for the visitors as they began the half pushing forward, with the pacey Danny Dyer causing Stones problems down the right hand side.
It was a former Wealdstone player who came closest to an equaliser early on, when Lee O’Leary crashed a header off the crossbar following a well taken corner. Dyer then went close for Hendon, twice seeing his shots well saved by Jonathan North, before Morgan also saw a driven effort palmed away by the former Watford stopper.Captain Lee Chappell had to be alert to make his second goal line clearance of the afternoon in the 64th minute, when he headed Belal Aite-Ouakrim’s effort off the line after North had been deceived by a wicked deflection.
Stones made their second substitution of the afternoon on 72 minutes, with Callum Martin making a welcome return to the side, replacing Danny Spendlove on the left. Martin was given a good ovation from the Stones faithful as he made his way onto the pitch after a lengthy lay off. Hendon bombarded the Wealdstone defence during the closing stages, with substitute Glenn Garner missing a guilt edged chance for the away side, somehow heading wide when unmarked from 6 yards. Dyer also came close, flashing an effort just wide of the far post, before Wes Parker made a brave block on Scott Cousins as he was about to pull the trigger.
Wealdstone were able to hang on for a much needed victory though, and will be looking to make it two wins in three days against Hastings United on Monday night, 7.45 kick off.
Wealdstone: North, Parker, Chappell(c), Cronin, Massey, Dyer, Dean (Gill 86), Brooks, Knight (Ngoyi 33), Jolly, Spendlove (Martin 72). Subs not used: Worsfold, Barden. Man of the Match: Jonathan North Attendance: 428
By Stuart Warren