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Report - Hemel Hempstead Town 0 - 1 Wealdstone

There were 3 changes for Wealdstone from the side the 3-3 draw against Bath City at the weekend with an important return for Connor Stevens who returned from a head injury. Danny Green came in to replace Bradley-Hudson Odoi and Simon Mensah was reduced to the bench.

There was a gradual amount of early pressure from Hemel Hempstead, with a couple of corners that were confidently cleared away by Stones. However, the first chance came in the 8th minute when Rob Sinclair met the cross from the left, but his shot was blocked by Joe Payne. Wealdstone responded well, though, with Danny Green firing a shot just wide, Green looked lively.

Stones were slowly building pressure and having more possession than Hemel would’ve liked. Their start was much more controlled and professional than against Bath City and Wealdstone had a number of successive corners that were dealt with well. Hemel Hempstead were more effective and dangerous in the final third, even with less possession and there was a slight panic from a Stones perspective when Jonathan North and Glenn Wilson hesitated on a through ball.

Both sides were getting short sights of the opposition goal, with Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson adamant that his side’s shape is kept with Hemel looking to get in behind. Danny Green saw a glimpse of the near post and drove a powerful low shot inches wide before Scott Shulton responded by firing over the bar.

With 33 minutes gone, the deadlock was broken. A rare short corner was swung in by Rhys Tyler and David Pratt was first to rise, flicking his header across Laurie Walker into the far corner. Although Hemel Hempstead responded quickly, with a header cleared off the line by Danny Green,

Stones went into the break leading the game.

Wealdstone were pressing the home side into mistakes and their game plan was working well, preventing Hemel from reaching a confident rhythm. In fact, it was Stones who were putting dangerous crosses into the penalty area, Danny Green their main asset going forward. He released Rhys Tyler in behind whose hard-hit cross was parried out for a throw in.

With an hour gone in the match, Hemel Hempstead couldn’t get a hold on possession and their opportunities were limited by the well-drilled Wealdstone defence. The addition of Connor Stevens in the side, playing at right back, provided that solidity.

It was a bad challenge from Scott Shulton on Godfrey Poku that led to some needless fouls and two yellow cards, but from a local derby, it was surprising not to see more.

Hemel’s urgency wasn’t shown until the last 8 minutes of the game. With the match still sitting tightly at 1-0 to Wealdstone, Hemel had their best chance of the game and North pulled off a superb save down to his left in the 91st minute. Tom Knowles crossed the ball and Sinclair sent it goalbound, but Wealdstone scrambled it clear to snatch three points and get a massive win at Vauxhall Road.

Wealdstone Assistant Manager, Jamie Leacock, said “In terms of the points it’s absolutely massive. Getting that point over the weekend and 3 tonight is absolutely huge. For the boys psychologically it gives them massive confidence.

“We changed the shape tonight and we started the game really well, and right from the warm up the manager made it clear we were going to come out the blocks tonight so just credit to the boys, they were brilliant, absolutely superb tonight.”

Wealdstone: North, Tyler, Payne, Stevens, Okimo (C), Wilson, Sheppard (Mensah, 20), Poku, Bubb, Green, Pratt UNUSED: Charles, Hudson-Odoi, Regis, Monakana

Sam Watts

Dan Finill pics HERE


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