Report - Northwood 0 - 6 Wealdstone
National League South champions Wealdstone travelled to face Isthmian League South Central Division side Northwood in their fifth pre-season friendly.
A second half goal fest from the Stones hit the Woods for six as they secured a resounding victory over their neighbours. Danny Parish netted a hat-trick, and strikes from Ross Lafayette, Ashley Charles and Trialist N completed the rout.
It was a quiet first half for Wealdstone on the attacking front as Northwood pressurised their visitors from the outset, with Lewis Everett producing a fantastic reaction save at the near post to deny Woods’ forward George Isaac, in the 12th minute of play.
As Northwood continued to press for an opener, Everett was called into action again in the 22nd minute, pulling off another excellent save from Isaac’s powerful effort.
Wealdstone’s best chance of the first half came in the 32nd minute; Dennon Lewis beat his player on the left wing and whipped in a cross towards the far post, with George McLennan’s header being well-saved by the Northwood trialist goalkeeper.
Manager Dean Brennan made ten changes to the line-up for the second half, which included two academy players, Eli Hearn and Jonas Lopes, from Wealdstone Development Pathway Programme.
The two young players started in defence alongside two of last season’s Vanarama National League South Team of the Year players; captain Jerome Okimo and goal scoring right back, Michee Efete.
The Stones started the second half with impetus and were rewarded for their efforts in the 54th minute as last season’s top goal scorer Lafayette chipped the Woods 'keeper in fine style to open his pre-season account.
Four minutes later, Parish dispatched past the Northwood goalkeeper with a clinical finish, firing in the first of his three goals of the evening.
In the 71st minute, another promising academy player, Tecane Shrowder, was introduced for the Stones, replacing an injured Dan Wishart.
By this time, the Stones were beginning to demonstrate their attacking prowess and Parish was on hand again to net his second, with another composed finish, in the 82nd minute.
The floodgates had well and truly opened, with Charles firing in Wealdstone’s fourth goal, three minutes later, sending them into a commanding lead.
In the 88th minute, Trialist N struck a powerful effort past the Woods’ goalkeeper to score a well-deserved fifth goal for the Stones.
A minute from time, hat-trick hero Parish, who was firing on all cylinders, netted his third of the evening, rounding off an excellent second half performance.
A special mention must be given to the young academy players for their strong performances, particularly Hearn, who effortlessly slotted in at the heart of the Stones’ defence and impressed throughout.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
Wealdstone First Half: Everett, Sheppard, Cawley, McLennan, Mendy, Trialist E, Phillips, Trialist N, Emmanuel, Lewis, Hughes.
Wealdstone Second Half: Trialist G, Efete, Hearn, Okimo, Lopes, Charles, Trialist F, Trialist N, Parish, Wishart (Shrowder, 71), Lafayette.