MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 2-1 Yeovil Town
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Wealdstone produced an inspired performance under the lights at The Vale last night, beating mid-table and former Championship side, Yeovil Town.
A first half quick-fire double from Josh Umerah and Ira Jackson secured a vital three points for the Stones in their fight for survival, with Dale Gorman scoring a consolatory penalty for the Glovers.
Stuart Maynard made six changes to the side that were defeated by Grimsby Town in Wealdstone’s last outing. Nathan Ferguson and Aaron Henry made their debuts, Jack Cook and Nik Tavares returned in defence, while Jackson and Umerah bolstered the Stones’ attack.
The Stones were quick out of the blocks, playing on the front foot from the outset as they galvanised their first attack within seven minutes. The lively Jackson broke for Wealdstone, surging forward with the ball and smashing a superb long-range effort which had to be tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Grant Smith.
A minute later, the Stones came close to scoring again, as debutant Henry whipped in a teasing corner, which was flicked on by Jerome Okimo for Tavares at the far post, just evading the wingback’s outstretched leg.
The visitors responded with Tom Knowles squeezing a cross through to Morgan Williams, who nipped in at the front post to flick the ball towards goal, but George Wickens was quick to respond to thwart the danger.
Yeovil Town began to grow into the game, crafting a chance in the 13th minute through former Stones player Charlie Wakefield, whose shot was excellently saved by Wickens.
In the 21st minute, the Glovers converted past Wickens, as Josh Staunton produced a sweet volley into the top corner, but the assistant referee ruled out the goal for offside.
Five minutes later, the Glovers tested Wickens again as Knowles powered a shot on target, which was spilled by Wealdstone’s number one, but Tavares was well-positioned to clear the rebound.
Maynard’s attacking formation paid dividends in the 39th minute as the Stones deservedly broke the deadlock. The impressive Tavares worked the ball to Jackson in the box, who turned and shot; Ben Barclay’s block took the sting out of the shot, but top goalscorer Umerah pounced to slot the ball past Smith and send the Stones into the lead.
One minute before the stroke of half-time, Wealdstone doubled their advantage as Henry swung in another dangerous corner, which was flicked on by captain Okimo, for Tavares to poke home past Smith and notch his first goal for the club.
The Glovers returned from the break keen to reduce the deficit as Knowles cut inside from the left wing, beating Cook, but defensive stalwart Connor McAvoy was on hand to block his 20-yard effort.
Yeovil Town were handed a lifeline in the 62nd minute as referee Aji Ajibola awarded a penalty to the visitors for Medy Elito’s foul on Gorman.
Gorman stepped up to duly convert from the spot, dispatching past Wickens, even though the keeper had dived the right way, ensuring a tense finale to the contest.
Ten minutes from time, the Stones were close to putting the result beyond doubt as Tavares advanced to the by-line and crossed to Umerah, who spun and shot; substitute Charlie Cooper latched onto the rebound and was brought down in the process, but penalty appeals were waved away by the referee.
The 82nd minute saw the introduction of the talented Rhys Browne, who had been sidelined with injury for the past six weeks. The forward lit up the Vale with his brief cameo, collecting the ball out wide, cutting inside and beating his defender to swerve a fantastic effort just wide of Smith’s post.
Wealdstone were resolute in their defending, nullifying the Glovers’ attacking threats throughout to hold firm for the win, with Okimo, the Stones’ longest serving player, once again marshalling the backline expertly.
Man of the moment, Browne, was close to scoring in additional time, breaking free and playing a smart one-two with Jadyn Mundle-Smith, before shooting on target, only to be denied by Smith.
The Stones return to action on Saturday as they travel to The Hive Stadium to face local rivals Barnet in a 3pm kick-off.
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, McAvoy, Cook, Okimo (c), Tavares, Henry, Ferguson, Mascoll (Mundle-Smith 73), Elito (Browne 82), Jackson (Cooper 67), Umerah.
Subs not used: Sesay, Dyer.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee