Report – Hitchin Town 2 – 4 Wealdstone
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Wealdstone’s final pre-season warm up game was a positive affair and despite pre-match worries over several missing personnel due to knocks sustained during the midweek debacle at Hampton and training, the squad came through in entertaining style.
One player who will be out for the big kick-off next Saturday is left back Ryan Sellers as a scan has revealed ankle ligament damage that will require a further four-week healing period following the injury sustained during the Watford match.
Stones started Mustafa Tiryaki up front and the big man made an immediate impact and combined well with Elliot Benyon who netted after only a minute’s play but the former Torquay United man was ruled offside.
The Canaries, who just missed out on promotion form the Southern League Premier over the past two seasons, looked very lively following that scare and their touch- line – hugging wing back, Jay Dowie, was stretching Stones defence with Jonathan North relived to see a long range strike fizz wide.
But Stones soon hit back, displaying some slick play with Abobaker Eisa running with pace and skill to worry the home back line; then Tiryaki headed just wide from the same player.
Stones deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes when Eisa cut in and rifled home past keeper Michael Johnson with aplomb
The away side continued to dominate proceedings and should have made their superiority count further but they had nothing more to show for their hard work at the break.
Hitchin took full advantage of a rare loss of possession in midfield after 10 minutes of the turnaround; Liam Brooks headed past a stranded North.
But in a free-flowing passage of play it was Stones that regained the initiative. Jerome Okimo was sent flying in an illegal challenge outside the area and the resulting free kick was powered home by Tiryaki for 2-1.
But typical of the end to end play it wasn’t long before the Canaries sung again with another equaliser. Josh Hill brought down a forward who had broken completely free and the spot kick was smashed home by Ben Walster.
Play became disrupted as several substitutions were made by both sides but it was Wealdstone that took greater advantage.
The goal of the match was netted by Danny Green who cleverly made space some 30 yards out and gave Johnson no chance with a lovely dipping strike on 73 minutes.
And soon after sub Dan Fitchett had the easiest of tap ins to wrap up the scoring.
It remained for the ever-reliable North to make a great save late on following some sustained pressure but that was that.
Stones now begin their final preparations for the big kick-off at The Vale next Saturday (August 5th) when they entertain Concord Rangers in the VNLS for what will sure to be a very tough but highly intriguing opener.
Wealdstone: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Hunt, Hill, Brown, Wellard, Green, Benyon, Tiryaki, Eisa. Subs (all used): Wiltshire, Hippolyte-Patrick, Olafsen, Crilley, Fitchett.
Report: Nick DuGard
Pictures courtesy of Hitchin Town FC