Wealdstone 2 – 1 Hastings United
2 - 1
Richard Jolly scored his first goal for Wealdstone since returning on loan as they secured back to back league wins for the first time since August. Stones were made to work hard for their victory though as a late goal from Hastings Josh Millwood ensured it was a nervy last few minutes for the home side after a wayward second half performance and numerous missed opportunities in the first allowed the visitors an unlikely way back into the game.
The player news after Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hendon was that popular striker Greg Ngoyi had decided to leave the club, deciding that his future lies away from Wealdstone. With Ngoyi having left the club and loanee Kieron Knight missing out with a dead leg injury, Gordon Bartlett opted to push Peter Dean back up front to partner Richard Jolly.
It took Jolly just 3 minutes to open the scoring for Stones, when Danny Spendlove seized on a loose ball and fed Lee Chappell on the left hand side, who got to the byline and fizzed the ball across the box to the back post where Jolly was able to bundle home from close range. It was the perfect start for Stones, although Hastings looked to reply mmediately, with Tim Olorunda seeing his effort from distance fly just wide. Wealdstone captain Lee Chappell was playing in a more advanced role than normal, and it certainly looked like he was getting a lot of joy down the left hand side as the Hastings backline failed to deal with his direct running and high work rate. Chappell sent over a great cross on 15 minutes which just evaded Dean and Jolly, and then again five minutes later combined with Jolly in a move which ended up with the latter firing into the side netting. Chappell had an effort on goal himself on 24 minutes, cutting inside and firing a powerful right footed effort which was palmed into the path of Jolly who slotted the loose ball home, however he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
Hastings had their first effort on target on the half hour mark, with Ben Davisson teeing up Harry Beautyman whose powerful effort was well saved by Jonathan North. Stones had looked threatening when they got forward, and they doubled their lead in spectacular fashion on 37 minutes. Danny Spendlove outpaced his man down the right before firing the ball into the box where Peter Dean hit an exquisite volley on the turn to ensure his side took a two goal lead into the break.
Chappell started the second half as brightly as he had finished the first, first of all side footing just wide after a great ball from Kurtney Brooks before firing into the side netting from Peter Dean’s pullback. Stones were then dealt a blow on 57 minutes as influential defender Wes Parker had to be withdrawn due to a knock he had picked up earlier in his half, with his replacement being young attacker Warren Morgan who joins on work experience from Reading. The change meant that there was a reshuffle with Chappell moving back to left back and Morgan playing wide right, with Spendlove switching to the left flank. Hastings goalkeeper then had to be alert, making a great block from a close range Jolly effort, before the still far from razor sharp Jolly again came close, slotting the ball wide from close range after a great run and cross from Alex Dyer.
As the half wore on Hastings began to get more of a foothold on proceedings, and substitute Andre Taiwoo came close with a powerful low drive which North palmed onto the post. Peter Dean then squandered a great chance to put the game bed with 10 minutes remaining when he ended a great counter attacking move by rounding the goalkeeper, however he could only shoot into the side netting with the goal gaping. Some sloppy defending from Stones was punished five minutes from time when a free kick was played into the box where Sean Ray flicked it on to Josh Millwood who slotted home from close range. Despite a nervy last few minutes Wealdstone, they were able to hold out for another much needed win, however they will certainly feel they should have perhaps finished off their opponents much earlier on.
Next up is a tough looking trip to Essex to face Concord Rangers before they face a home encounter with Harefield United in the MCFA Charity Cup Quarter Final on Monday 31st January, 7.45 kick off
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker (Morgan 57), Cronin, Dyer, Spendlove (Gill 74), Brooks, Dean (Martin 85), Jolly, Chappell (c). Subs not used: Leggett
William Hill Man of the Match: Danny Spendlove.
Star Man: Lee Chappell
By Stuart Warren