Match Report – Hemel Hempstead Town 1- 3 Wealdstone
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A wonderfully taken second half hat-trick by Elliot Benyon sealed a vital 3-1 victory over neighbours Hemel Hempstead in a fiery fixture at Vauxhall Road to lift the Stones up to 8th in the Vanarama National League South.
Gordon Bartlett made three changes to the side that lost to Welling. Despite his soul-crushing own goal, Elliott Godfrey was in for Ricky Wellard, Wes Parker and Jonny Wright also returned to the starting line-up in place of the unwell Ciaron Brown, and Sahr Kabba.
Although Stones tempo was improved to last week’s defeat against Welling, the first period was a largely lacklustre affair similar with Stones’ best chance coming immediately into the half.
The ever alert Benyon chased down a poor back pass by Kyle Connolly with keeper Jamie Butler rushing out to clear, he only put it as far as Godfrey who attempted to chip the keeper but the towering frame of Tony Diagne managed to get a vital head on the ball to block.
The Tudors best chance came not long after when Sam Corcoran had an effort cleared off the line by Josh McLeod-Urquhart. But the end-to-end opening of the game soon died down when Sam Cox received treatment for another injury to his nose with Corcoran receiving a booking.
Jordan Parkes offered most of Hemel’s attacking threat and got his goal on 48 minutes. Michael Thalassitis shrugged off McLeod-Urquhart and dribbled into the box, his effort was only parried by Jonathan North into the path of Parkes who slotted in the games opener.
Wealdstone replied in spectacular style shortly after. A corner was whipped in with Eddie Oshodi flicking a header to Benyon at the far post and the striker perfected an unstoppable acrobatic volley to level the score.
Wright nearly put the visitors ahead getting a toe-poke onto the end of a long ball but it rebounded off the outside of the post and out for a goal kick.
The hosts then upped the ante and should have gone ahead on 79 minutes. Parkes whipped in a crossing free-kick to sub Graeme Montgomery and he combined with fellow sub Lewis Taaffe, nodding the ball back across goal only for Taaffe to blaze over the bar with the goal gaping.
North made a smart save minutes later. Parkes crossed in a similar ball which evaded a lot of heads and forced the keeper into a reflex save, he then pounced on the rebound before Thalassitis could poke home.
But on 90 minutes it was that man on fire Benyon who put the Stones ahead. He latched onto a long ball over the top of the defence putting him one-on-one with Butler. He rounded the keeper at a tight angle and just managed to get the ball over the line.
The hosts then went all-in throwing every man forward. But deep in added time Sub Ricky Wellard cleared the ball from danger to Benyon, who spotted Butler off his line and hit a delightful lobbed effort over the keeper to seal his hat-trick and the victory.
WEALDSTONE: North, McLeod-Urquhart, Brown, Parker, Goulding, Cox, Godfrey, Green (Koroma 55), Benyon, Whichelow (Wellard 82), Wright (Gibson 90) Unused subs: Kabba, McGleish
By Chris Woods
Listen toGordon Bartlett’s post match reaction HERE
Alan Palmer pictures HERE
WFC Instagram pictures HERE