Dartford 1 – 2 Wealdstone
1 - 2
Wealdstone secured a remarkable against the odds victory at a windswept Princes Park on Tuesday and in the process claimed their first victory since December 19th.
A win, let alone a draw seemed unlikely after a dominant Dartford had taken the lead early in the second half. But after veteran Scott McGleish had proved that class is ageless with a superb leveller, Stones snatched the lead in a further twist when the dropped Jefferson Louis came off the bench to clinch a hugely valuable win. This was Louis’s first goal in open play in seven games but what a important strike it was lifting Wealdstone up to 15th in the table.
The game was not without cost however; a horrible leg injury was sustained by centre half Tom Hamblin and the excellent Jack Smith also hobbled off.
Stones already depleted are now down to the bare bones; Keeper Joe Taylor came in for the unavailable Sam Howes.
The game kicked off in a swirling wind and Dartford were first to threaten when their striker Andy Pugh poked a shot across the face of goal.
At the other end, Elliot Bradbrook got his head to a Stones cross but the ball only travelled as far as Matt Harriott, whose left-footed strike bounced wide of the far post.
Dartford might have scored from a counter-attack which followed. Simmons crossed low from the left-hand side and the ball ran for Pugh, whose close-range effort was kept out by Taylor.
Wealdstone lost Tom Hamblin to a leg injury midway through the first half, their captain stretchered off after lying prone for several minutes.
Dartford’s next chance came from the same flank. Left-back Mark Onyemah beat two Wealdstone players and his low cross ran all the way through the six-yard box to Hayes, whose shot was charged down.
It was all Dartford now and Hayes forced a corner when his shot was spilled round the post by Taylor.
The pair resumed their duel moments later when Taylor mishandled another Hayes strike but recovered brilliantly to keep Pugh’s header out with the goal gaping.
Dartford’s Ebou Adams turned sharply and drove a left-footed shot narrowly wide before they had the ball in the net in stoppage-time. Pugh followed in to score after Onyemah’s powerful shot had been parried by Taylor, but the assistant flagged for offside.
It seemed that referee Anthony da Costa had over-ruled his colleague after a discussion in the corner but in fact he was pointing up field for a Wealdstone free-kick for offside.
But six minutes into the second half, the home side did take the lead. Simmons rode a challenge, spread play wide to Hayes and his delivery from wide on the right was neatly finished by Pugh.
The game then went through a lull and Dartford looked comfortable until Scott Davies’ long throw was flicked across goal, the ball dropping just wide of the far post.
A second Darts goal almost arrived when Hayes’ cross was cleared only as far as Adams, whose 20-yard strike was heading for the bottom corner until Taylor dived low to push it behind.
Bradbrook did well to turn Hayes’ deep cross back through the six-yard box and Pugh looked certain to make it 2-0 but he missed his kick in front of an open goal.
And that missed opportunity was punished just a minute later. Dartford got in a terrible mess inside their own penalty area and McGleish found the bottom corner with a classiest of finishes.
Then minutes later Louis, on from the bench, spun on the edge of the box and rifled the ball powerfully past Ibrahim’s left hand.
Wealdstone: Taylor, McLeod-Urquhart, Smith (Binns 86mins), Cadmore, Hamblin (Parker 22mins), Godfrey, Lucien (Louis 74mins), Harriott, McGleish, Davies, Hudson-Odoi. Subs not used: Ball.