MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 2-1 Dover Athletic
Stuart Maynard’s men completed the double over struggling Dover Athletic, as Wealdstone produced a spirited second half fight back to deny the Whites their first win of the season at The Vale.
A first half goal from Alfie Pavey put Andy Hessenthaler’s side ahead, but a second half resurgence, courtesy of goals from Connor Stevens and Ashley Charles, earned the Stones their first points in five league matches.
Maynard awarded Douglas Taylor his first start, in place of the suspended Josh Umerah, while George Wickens, Jack Cook and Charlie Cooper returned to the starting line-up after serving their suspensions.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks, generating a chance within the first minute of play as Koby Arthur broke free, but Wealdstone’s number one, Wickens, was quick off of his line to thwart the danger.
A minute later, Stoke City loanee Taylor fed the energetic Craig Fasanmade down the left wing, with the forward charging inside and driving an effort from the edge of the box which fizzed narrowly past Adam Parkes’ post.
The Whites were agonisingly close to taking the lead in the ninth minute when Sam Wood met Ben Williamson’s cross, but the captain’s effort flashed just wide of the goal.
Dover Athletic broke the deadlock on the 23rd minute mark as another teasing cross from Wood found Pavey, who chested the ball down and powerfully dispatched his shot into the top corner.
Henry Woods looked to double the Whites’ lead in the 30th minute, but his unopposed strike from the edge of the box was well-claimed by Wickens.
Four minutes later, Woods popped up with another 20-yarder, but defensive stalwart Stevens reacted with a crucial header to divert the ball over the crossbar.
As the Stones looked to draw level, a long throw from Cook found Stevens, who swivelled and shot, but the defender’s effort was just wide of the target.
Five minutes before the stroke of half time, the home side looked to have created an equaliser as the pacy Fasanmade raced through on goal and rounded the keeper, only to be tripped by Parkes in the process.
Referee Savvas Yianni awarded a penalty to the Stones; however Parkes saved Charles’ spot kick and rebound to maintain his side’s advantage.
Wealdstone emerged from the interval keen to reduce the deficit with a double attacking substitution as Ira Jackson and Medy Elito were introduced.
The Stones were nearly successful in the 52nd minute when captain Jerome Okimo burst down the left wing and cut the ball back for Charles, but the midfielder’s shot was vitally blocked by Woods.
Dover were left with a heart in their mouths moment when a loose ball forward from Cooper was not controlled properly by Parkes as nearly directed into his own goal, but the keeper recovered well and duly collected the ball before crossing the line.
In the 63rd minute, the Stones finally drew level through man of the match Stevens, who met Cooper’s corner with a towering bullet header which went straight into the top corner.
Galvanised by the goal, Wealdstone looked to capitalise further when Cook picked up the ball 30 yards out and dribbled into the box, flashing a shot just wide of the top corner.
Charles popped up to atone for his penalty miss in the 69th minute, tapping in Cooper’s header from close range.
The Stones looked to extend their lead further as Jackson latched onto a long ball and surged forward past his defender, but the attacker slipped just as he was about to shoot, sending the ball over the crossbar in the 78th minute.
Two minutes later, the Whites looked to level from a 25-yard speculative effort from Arthur, which flew just over the crossbar.
Wealdstone continued their late flurry as Cooper’s drilled free kick was well-held by Parkes at the near post in the 89th minute.
On the stroke of regulation time, Stevens charged forward from defence with the ball and released Fasanmade, but his effort was straight at Parkes.
The Stones return to action next Saturday as they travel to the Kingfield Stadium to face Woking in a 3pm kick off.
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, Cook, Stevens, Mundle-Smith (Elito 46), Tavares, Charles, Dyer, Cooper, Okimo (c), Fasanmade, Taylor (Jackson 46).
Subs not used: Marigliani, Buse, Mascoll.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee