Wealdstone 1 – 2 Hayes & Yeading Utd
1 - 2
Jefferson Louis endured mixed fortunes as Wealdstone waved goodbye to their last chance of silverware this season on Monday night.
The veteran striker had a first half effort chalked off, before scoring his first goal in a Stones’ shirt, but later missed a sitter.The miss proved pivotal as within five minutes Hayes & Yeading had not only levelled, but gone on to score what would prove to be the winner.
With the two sides due to meet in a crucial league match on Saturday something of a phoney war might have been expected in terms of team selections.
But despite four changes Stones fielded a strong team including Richard Jolly and West Ham loanee Nathan Mavila, while Hayes & Yeading too were close to full strength.
The game was open from the outset, yet poor final passes from both sides made for a first half of few chances.
Stones had most of the best openings, Shaun Lucien forcing a fine save from Calum Kitcha following a good one-two while Carl Martin should have headed home from six yards out, but failed to hit the target.
The closest the visitors came was courtesy of a delicious cross from the dangerous Rhys Murrell-Williamson which Elliott Benyon glanced just wide with Jonathan North stranded.
Louis thought he had broken the deadlock a minute before the break, but his header was rightly ruled out for a push, leaving the game goalless at the interval.
The former Oxford United man would though put Stones ahead eight minutes after the restart, bursting forward down the right and holding off the challenge of a defender before firing across Kitcha and inside the far post.
Sadly for Louis that special moment would be followed by one to forget with an hour played.
A moment of brilliance from Mavila brought about the opening, the first year pro at Upton Park losing his marker with an audacious overhead flick before unleashing a shot Kitcha did brilliantly to fingertip onto the underside of the bar.
Even so when the rebound fell to Louis the goal was gaping, but he miss-kicked the gift horribly wide.
Reprieved, Phil Babb’s side struck back in ruthless fashion. Within a minute Murrell-Williamson’s arrowed a shot from the left edge of the box into the far corner to level matters.
Just four minutes later the Stones defence failed to deal with a cross from the left and Benyon swooped on the loose ball to put the visitors ahead Jolly fired one good chance straight at Kitcha and Mavila too went close to forcing penalties, but the equaliser never came.
With precious league points at stake, we should expect an altogether more intense clash when the two sides meet again on Saturday.
Team: North, Martin, Watts, Hamblin (Godfrey 63), Cronin, Ball, Lucien, O’Nien, Louis, Jolly (McGleish 78), Mavila.
Subs not used: Corcoran, Gokman, Malone (Gk).
Match reportby John Batham