Wealdstone 2 – 1 Hastings United
2 - 1
Wealdstone’s fragile rehabilitation, following the traumas of the previous few weeks, continued on Saturday at The Vale against a struggling Hastings United side.
Stones completely dominated the first half capped by two goals in two minutes from sharp shooter Richard Jolly, but they fell back into their bad habits in the second period and would perhaps have paid a high price for these misdemeanours against a stronger side.
The more superstitious amongst the Stones faithful will point to the ‘jinx’ of scoring up the slope – remarkably this season not a single competitive goal in league or cup has been scored at the Gun Turret end of The Vale. Lee Chappell and Danny Spendlove were unavailable so Ricky Miller was drafted in up front; Alan Massey moved into the left back position with Sean Cronin partnering skipper Wes Parker in the heart of the defence.
Wealdstone completely bossed the opening exchanges and both Massey and Cronin went close with gutsy efforts. The home side attacked the ball and closed down at every opportunity and were putting a shaky looking U’s side under constant pressure. The away side had only a couple of long range efforts to show for their very limited possession during the entire half.
Stones superior possession and aggressive forward play finally paid dividends in the 39th minute, just when it seemed that they might not make a breakthrough. A superb build up involving five players saw David Hicks stylishly back-heel a ball into the path of Richard Jolly who had time and space to stroke the ball into the net. Stones immediately sensed a second goal and two minutes after the restart they seized on a loose ball and Jolly cleverly flicked over a stranded Lloyd Anderson and guided the ball into a gaping net for a two goal advantage.
And it could have been a hat-trick for the mercurial Jolly but his third was pulled back for an off-side against his provider. Then Alex Dyer’s goal bound strike was somehow ricocheted away by, of all people, Richard Jolly who presence in the box for once was momentarily unwanted.
In the second period Stones inexplicably went into their collective shells and not for the first time this campaign could have undone all of their previous good work, adding to Gordon Bartlett’s current frustrations with his charges mental approach and faulty decision making.
Nevertheless man of the match Scott McCubbin and then Ricky Miller both spurned chances to kill the game off early in the half. But Stones were increasingly losing the initiative and more significantly weren’t closing down the midfield as they had done so effectively in the first period. As the half wore on Wealdstone’s attacks became increasing impotent with reduced
urgency all over the park.
Ironically then it was against the run of play when Hastings grabbed an unlikely lifeline that seemed to surprise them as much as it did the crowd; on 76 minutes Zac Attwood prodded past an exposed Jonathan North and the doubts were starting to creep in.
Fortunately for Stones, the U’s possessed neither the wit nor invention to capitalise on the homes sides psychological baggage and in the end the game was seen out far comfortably than many expected. Indeed had substitute Eddie Adjei had his own wits about him he could have sewn the game up well before the 3 minutes of added time – he struck wildly past the post and
then couldn’t put Jolly through on goal on two gilt edged occasions.
It would be churlish to deny Stones the right to be satisfied with at least one half of good football which showed some really
positive play, with maximum points the reward.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, Cronin, Dyer, McCubbin, Hicks, Miller, Jolly, Brooks. Subs used: Adjei, O’Leary. N/u: Parsons, Ahamed.
MoM: Scott McCubbin
By Nick DuGard