Wealdstone 4 – 0 Harrow Borough
4 - 0
Wealdstone again justifiably won the local bragging rights in this feisty and hugely absorbing Boxing Day encounter between the two Ryman League Premier Division rivals. In front of their largest crowd of the season at a little under 900, Stones made a slow start but a spectacular own goal from the Reds Danny Leech changed the game and allowed the home side to largely
control the rest of this festive derby encounter that near the end had the capacity to boil over.
But it still took some clinical finishing from ace marksman Richard Jolly and new terrace hero, loanee Britt Assombalonga and rock solid defending – the hall mark of any successful side – for the home outfit to see off the intermittently determined challenge of Harrow; the Reds have now suffered five straight defeats not helped by their ever changing squad
emanating from managerial events of the summer.
Lee Chappell made a welcome return to the Stones line-up with the other half of the Watford loan duo, Connor Smith, not available for this match. Chappell’s boundless energy undoubtedly aided Stones performance and the wing back was unlucky not to get on the score sheet with a great header in the first half.
So it was a cagey start from both sides, who took time to settle on a greasy surface, but a clever early ball from Jolly almost allowed Peter Dean a clear strike on goal but he was well wide of the mark.
Borough hit back down the slope and moved the ball across the width of the park competently but without creating real danger for the focussed Stones back line. Jolly was just offside from an Assombalonga pass but both sides looked to be firing blanks as the games failed to ignite. But proceedings were suddenly brought to life in the most unfortunate circumstances for the normally reliable Danny Leech. On 21 minutes Assombalonga got clear on the right flank and crossed into the box; Leech
got to the ball first but somehow sliced his clearing strike into his own net past a helpless Will Viner.
The tempo of the game was immediately altered and Stones began to look far more settled and now, finally, got their passing act
together. Only 9 minutes later a piece of magical skill on the edge of the box from Alex Dyer, dancing around two defenders, allowed the fox like Jolly to steal in and side foot the simplest of chances past Viner to double the home sides lead, hugely deflating Harrow in the process.
But Borough hit back strongly with a good spell and the experienced Rob Wolleaston got clear of the Stones defence but his strike just eluded the far post to Jonathan North’s huge relief. The Reds best player JJ Bates looked threatening on the ball but tellingly his possession was outside the danger areas. Stones picked up the pace and in a lively passage of play enjoyed by the vociferous home support both Assombalonga and Chappell went close to increasing their side’s lead. The tireless strength in the midfield of Chris O’Leary was wearing for The Reds who were losing the aerial battle.
The second period started well for the away side and they pressed strongly in an attempt to get an early goal back. But as the Reds pushed up this allowed Jolly and Assombalonga to break quickly and a great run and shot by the striker almost brought reward. Borough’s new signing, big Danny Buckle, tried his luck at last with an effort that went just wide.
Alex Dyer was substituted following a heavy challenge and Kurtney Brooks replaced and was immediately in the thick of the action with some robust challenges. The away side continued to push and probe for any opening but continually found Wes Parker and Alan Massey in no mood to allow time and space, snuffing out any danger.
The killer third goal for Stones arrived on 77 minutes; man of the match Assombalonga again twisted and turned in the box and finally found the opportunity to shoot past Viner and into the far corner of the net. Borough now knew the game was up but Stones still looked for more and with just a minute to play they completed the scoring with a magnificent effort. Alan Massey tore down the left flank and whipped the ball across the box to the arriving Jolly who smashed into the top of the net for his 25 goal of the season; a memorable volley to round off a good day’s work for Wealdstone who moved up three places in the table.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, Cronin, Dyer, Assombalonga, O’Leary, Dean, Jolly,
Chappell. Subs used: Brooks, Hicks, Fitzgerald. N/u: McCubbin, Ahamed.
MoM: Britt Assombalonga