Report - Chelmsford City 1 - 3 Wealdstone
Wealdstone eased to victory against Chelmsford City and remain top of the National League South after a dominant display at the Melbourne Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A first half header from Danny Green, accompanied by second half goals from Billy Clifford and Jerome Okimo, cancelled out Dave Winfield’s late consolation header.
The home side provided a quick start within the first minute when Sam Higgins sent through Shaun Jeffers who struggled to threaten with his strike.
Moments later the Clarets were behind the Stones again, Wealdstone centre-half Connor Stevens was the first victim of the slippery surface but Higgins was unable to capitalise.
Wealdstone were then provided their opening opportunity within 10 minutes and Clarets defender Mickey Spillane offered Ross Lafayette a one-on-one which was saved by Carl Pentney.
Within the same move, Lafayette turned into the provider as he looked to square to Dennon Lewis at the back-post but Winfield slid in to intercept.
The Stones grabbed the ascendency in the 17th minute after earlier errors in-front of goal for Chelmsford, Green latched onto a great cross by Nick Arnold and headed past Pentney from close-range.
Rod Stringer’s Clarets needed to find a response to going behind, it did not come for 11 minutes until Chris Whelpdale unleashed a strike which was comfortably saved by Aston Oxborough.
The hosts still looked dangerous in attack and Whelpdale’s in-swinging cross from the left was flicked on by Jeffers but was straight at Oxborough and easily caught.
Chances for Lewis and Sanchez Watt were no issue for the Clarets; the Stones took a one-goal advantage into the half-time interval.
Wealdstone came out for the second half much quicker than the first and the Stones’ lead was doubled less than five minutes after the break with an incredible 30-yard free-kick from Clifford.
It only took five minutes and the Stones began pulling away as another free-kick, this time from Green, was flicked-on by Stevens and bundled in by Okimo.
The home side struggled to recover from going behind and almost allowed Watt to add a fourth just after the hour-mark as the winger gracefully skipped past two Chelmsford defenders before firing wide from the edge of the box.
Lewis was up-and-down the left channel all afternoon and deserved a goal for his efforts. When the forward broke away down the left, Lewis’ strike was dangerous and Winfield heroically blocked from close-range.
Chelmsford were lacking a reaction up-front and were not handed any luck in the 65th minute. Higgins’ strike across the goalmouth was flying wide but ricocheted off Jeffers and agonisingly clipped the post.
The game was beginning to peter out with the Stones completely in control throughout the closing stages before the 86th minute when Winfield rose highest from Billy Knott’s corner to net on his league debut.
Perfect substitutions were made by Stones manager Dean Brennan to see out the game, with midfielder Ashley Charles providing fresh legs in the middle and Afolabi Coker solidifying the defence late-on.
Wealdstone did not look like falling victim to a late Clarets comeback after Winfield’s header and saw out the game to earn their 12th victory of the season.
Chelmsford City suffered their first home defeat of the season and only their third defeat at the Melbourne Community Stadium since September 2018, two of which were inflicted by the Stones.
Dean Brennan’s men remain five points clear in the National League South as they return to FA Cup action at Maidenhead United next Saturday, kick-off at York Road is 3pm.
Report by Dec O'Reilly
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford (Coker, 84), Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Watt (Charles, 69), Lafayette (Noel-Williams, 90), Green, Lewis.
Subs not used: Ringer, Saunders.
Match Photos by Adam Williams are available HERE
Post-Match reaction from Dean Brennan and Nick Arnold are available below: