MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 0-1 Notts County
Wealdstone fell to a narrow defeat against Notts County as they battled the Magpies in a hard-fought contest at The Vale.
A second half goal from Magpie’s debutant Mark Ellis was enough to edge the game and earn three points for the playoff hopefuls.
Newly appointed manager Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that beat King’s Lynn Town on Tuesday, with Danny Parish returning to the starting line-up to lead the line for the home side.
The Magpies started the brighter of the two teams, attacking the Stones from outset as they looked to seize an early advantage, with the first chance falling to forward Ini Effiong in the eighth minute, who headed over the crossbar for the visitors.
Notts County enjoyed the greater amount of possession during the early exchanges, however solid and compact defending from Wealdstone throughout, ensured it remained a cagey affair.
Midway through the first half, a strong run from Danny Parish earned the Stones a free kick just outside the Magpie’s area, with Ashley Charles’ stepping up for the home side and striking a powerful effort marginally over the crossbar.
As the half progressed, the Stones began to settle down into the rhythm of the game, matching Notts County’s tempo and physicality across the pitch.
Before the interval, Enzio Boldewijn and Michael Doyle both had efforts expertly saved by Wealdstone’s number one Harry Isted to preserve a goalless first half.
The second half continued in the same tightly contested vein. The Magpie’s came close to scoring five minutes from the restart when Effiong advanced down the left wing past Michael Phillips and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but Stones’ Captain Jerome Okimo was well-position to clear for the home side.
Notts County finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Ellis rose highest to flick Captain Michael Doyle’s searching cross into the top corner and notch a goal on his debut.
The visitors looked to double their lead, and came agonisingly close in the 81st minute. Jim O’Brien beat two defenders and drove an effort towards the far bottom corner from the edge of the area, but Isted, who was in inspired form all afternoon, produced a superb finger-tip save.
The Magpies continued to mount more pressure in the closing minutes, with Calvin Miller prompting another excellent save from Isted to deny him stealing a late goal for the visitors from a quick counter attack.
Wealdstone return to action next Saturday 20th March as they travel to the Bob Lucas Stadium to face Weymouth, in a 3pm kickoff.
WEALDSTONE: Isted, Phillips, Cawley, Okimo (c), Efete, Charles, Dyer, Green (Wishart 87), Mendy, Lewis (Lafayette 78), Parish (Hughes 67).
Subs not used: Askew, Hearn.
NOTTS COUNTY: Slocombe, Rawlinson, Ellis, Lacey, Kelly-Evans, Doyle (c), O'Brien, Miller, Boldewijn, Effiong (Sam 86), Wootton.
Subs not used: Turner, Barnett, Knowles, Rodrigues.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee