Wealdstone 0 – 0 Watford
0 - 0
A young Watford development side were held to a goalless draw by Wealdstone on a sultry summer’s evening at The Vale on Wednesday. Stones can be pleased with their energetic performance against a strong Hornets side sprinkled with professionals and some senior first team squad players.
A stronger first half for the Stones saw them play their passing game that could have brought reward from a couple of efforts from Scott McGleish but they constantly had to defend alertly. For Hornets, former Stones loanees Connor Smith and Luke O’Nien were joined by trialist Kevin Tapoko in a midfield trio, with Alex Jakubiak and Diego Fabbrini in attack alongside Academy second-year Tom Rosenthal.
Scott McGleish had the first sight of goal three minutes in, beating Hornets captain Johnson to a long ball and lobbing over the bar with his right boot. The Hornets counter-attacked just before the 15-minute mark through Jakubiak, he paced forward and crossed to Smith at the back-post but the Irish midfielder could only connect with his shin to send it wide from close-range.
Rosenthal was one of Watford’s main threats in the opening period, and when he broke forward and fed Fabbrini, who in turn laid on to Tapoko, the ball returned to Rosenthal who slid a 20-yard effort low into the arms of keeper Jonathan North. Stones were enjoying the better openings, and Bond was called into action on the half-hour, stretching every muscle in his right arm to tip an excellent Jack Mills free-kick over from 25 yards.
It was Watford’s turn for a set-piece with 38 minutes played and O’Nien wasn’t far off, striking his free-kick round the wall and just the wrong side of North’s post. Rosenthal tried his luck from outside the box, hitting a ferocious effort which whistled just over the bar at the end of a goalless first half.
It was a low-key start to the second half, with few openings of note for either side until Sean Cronin powered in for Stones to head a corner over the bar on the hour. Jakubiak sped into the right-hand side of Stones’ box and cut inside, but North was equal to the striker’s low shot, with Dennon Lewis replacing Tapoko moments later. Another chance was to follow for Jakubiak, and probably his best yet, turning an 80th minute Lewis centre wide after a fine through ball from substitute Martin, in what proved to be the evening’s last real opportunity.
Stones: North (GK), Mills, Okimo, Hamblin, Cronin, Godfrey, Wright, Martin, McGleish, Collins, Pigden.
Subs all used: Parker, Carter, Turner, Little, Hickey, Hammond, McCluskey, Bentley, Malcolm
Hornets: Bond (GK); Young, Johnson (c), Brown, Doherty (Martin, 64); Smith (Stewart, 72), O’Nien, Tapoko (Lewis, 79); Rosenthal, Jakubiak, Fabbrini (Folivi, 70).
Subs not used: Rowley (GK), Hall, Choi.
Steve Foster Pics HERE