MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 0-1 FC Halifax Town
Wealdstone fell to a frustrating defeat at the hands of promotion contenders Halifax Town at The Vale this afternoon.
Although Pete Wild’s team dominated the contest, a 34th minute penalty from Matty Warburton proved to be the decisive difference between the two sides, as the Shaymen notched another three points, while the Stones slipped to their third successive league defeat.
Wealdstone manager Stuart Maynard made two changes to the side that were narrowly edged by high-flying Bromley last week. Will Dennis made his debut in goal, replacing the suspended George Wickens, while Craig Fasanmade was named in the starting line up after returning from his successful loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town
The visitors started on the front foot from the outset, galvanising a chance within two minutes of kick off as Kieran Green’s effort was dragged wide of Bournemouth’s loanee goalkeeper, William Dennis’ post.
The home side responded well, with top goalscorer Josh Umerah stinging the palms of Halifax’s Sam Johnson in the 4th minute, from a tight angle.
Five minutes later, Connor McAvoy found Jamie Mascoll free on the edge of the box with a low cross, but the wingback’s effort was well-held by the Shaymen’s number one.
As the first half progressed, Halifax began to grow into the game, with their best effort coming in the 24th minute when talisman Bill Waters’ shot from close range was initially blocked by Dennis, but Tom Bradbury could only blaze the rebound over the crossbar.
The Shaymen’s high press suffocated Wealdstone throughout the first half, thwarting their ability to utilise their pacy, attacking wingbacks.
Aiming to increase his season’s total of eight goals, Umerah proved to be the Stones’ main attacking threat, however he was unable to capitalise, firing two successive chances over the bar.
The pivotal moment of the match came in the 33rd minute, when referee Elliott Swallow adjudged Craig Fasanmade to have fouled Green in the box, with Warburton clinically dispatching from 12 yards into the bottom right hand corner.
Four minutes before the stroke of halftime the Shaymen looked to add a second, with Kian Spence demonstrating his long range shooting ability, but Dennis was equal to the effort.
The second half continued in the same vein, with Halifax dictating play, while Wealdstone lacked cohesion and incisiveness; frequently turning over possession.
Halifax were agonisingly close to doubling their advantage in the 81st minute when they produced a swift counter attack, resulting in Warburton drilling a low ball across the box to Elliot Newby, but Dennis reacted with a vital save to deny the attacking midfielder.
Two minutes from time, the Stones were close to rescuing a point at the death when the energetic Umerah span and unleashed a fierce shot from 20 yards, but his effort flew just over the crossbar.
Wealdstone return to action next Saturday 18th December at 3pm when they travel to face Needham Market in the FA Trophy.
WEALDSTONE: Dennis, McAvoy, Cook, Okimo (c), Sweeney, Charles, Dyer, Cooper, Mascoll (Stevens 82), Fasanmade (Jackson 68), Umerah.
Subs not used: Marigliani, Buse, Mundle-Smith.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee