Wealdstone 2 – 1 Leeds United
2 - 1
This fascinating friendly match pitted Wealdstone against one of the most famous and well supported clubs in the country in the almost surreal setting of The Vale on a damp Tuesday night. Leeds had seven players in their side with first team experience including Stones ‘old boy’ and £3million rated Jermaine Beckford, and Stones proudly more than matched their League One opponents gaining a memorable win in remarkable style.
Prior to kick off Jermaine Beckford, Leeds skipper for the match, was presented with a framed montage of images of his time at Wealdstone as a record Vale crowd of 1102 looked on in anticipation.
As on Saturday against Watford, the home side looked pumped up and eager to impress against their much loftier opponents. Within one minute of the first whistle Stones were putting pressure on the Elland Road outfit and gained three corners in succession. Their confidence and possession grew as the Leeds defence looked decidedly uncomfortable, resulting in Alan Massey and Darren Locke both going close to test Higgs.
Kieron Forbes then broke speedily from the midfield but his shot was too tame to make the keeper work. And again as on Saturday Stones were not being precious about putting their foot in as skipper James Gray sailed close to the wind with a late challenge on Beckford.
Leeds suddenly started to play and their midfield began to find Beckford who oozed class on the ball with probing runs. But Stones were still able to play some good passing football as Ross Lafiette put in a decent strike.
On 22 minutes and against the run of play, Leeds broke fluidly and a good cross found the head of Tresor Kandol who found the top corner of the net to just beat Sean Thomas.
Leeds now piled forward to seize the advantage and when Beckford turned and struck a lovely 25 yarder Thomas was able to bring off a brilliant save to deny the ex Stones man.
Ben Alexander worked tremendously hard to hold the ball up for the Stones midfield but was finding few openings himself. Ryan Ashe was looking increasingly influential following his extended summer break.
James Gray was sin binned by the Referee following a scuffle with Bradley Johnson who was clearly ruffled by the Yorkshire man’s uncompromising style. Garry Jones replaced him.
Stones ended the half on a high as they got the reward their excellent possession deserved. Danny Spendlove took a corner on the left and when the Leeds defence failed to clear the ball they were rocked with a bullet shot and the equaliser from Kieron Forbes.
Jamie Osborne replaced Ben Alexander at the turnaround as the game opened out. Thomas saved low down from a speculative strike as Stones pressed forward with Spendlove finding more space down the left flank.
Stones could have been punished as Beckford was brought down by Locke just outside the area but the resultant kick was wasted.
But Stones looked increasingly threatening as Leeds failed to break through a stubborn home rearguard with Massey and McCoy again playing superbly.
On 64 minutes Wealdstone took the lead when Ross Lafiette found space, turned, and stabbed the ball home past a flailing Higgs.
Leeds came back and again Jermaine Beckford was denied by a super save from Sean Thomas who looked on top form. A flurry of home substitutions didn’t affect play but when Beckford came off to warm applause the visitors attack looked far less potent.
Greg Ngoyi added a lively dimension as he headed on well for Osborne to chase. Forbes created a late problem for the ruffled Leeds defence as be broke down the right and cut in but the ball was just cleared to safety.
Leeds sub Whitwell came closest to pulling a goal back as he stretched to direct the ball just past the far post.
It almost beggars belief that Stones could be so comfortable at the end but it is a measure of their huge progress over the last year and an exciting and an historic win was duly recorded.
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Massey, Gray, Locke , Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Alexander, Lafiette, Spendlove. Subs: Osborne, Jones, Hicks, Smith, During, Lewis
Leeds United: Higgs, Darville, Huntington, Milne, Sheehan, Prutton, Falkingham, Johnson, Showunmi, Kandol, Beckford (Whitwell 75). Subs (not used): R Jones, Hatfield