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  • Nicole Cho-Yee

REPORT | Wealdstone 1-0 Chesterfield

Interim Wealdstone manager Sam Cox masterminded a second successive win for the Stones at Grosvenor Vale, steering them towards victory over champions Chesterfield, and sealing a massive three points towards their fight for survival.

A second-half goal from substitute Dillon De Silva proved to be the vital difference between the two sides, bolstering the Stones to 17th in the National League table.

With three games in the past week, Cox make four changes to the side that beat Dorking Wanderers on Thursday evening, with Sam Bowen, Kallum Cesay, Micah Obiero and Manny Duku returning to the starting line-up.

League winners Chesterfield started the match in imposing fashion, dictating the rhythm of play as they dominated possession during the early stages.

Against the run of play, the Stones galvanised a counter attack in the tenth minute when Tarryn Allarakhia released Duku through on goal, but Branden Horton thwarted the striker with a vital last-ditch tackle.

A minute later, it was the visitors’ turn to test Marcus Dewhurst, though Joe Quigley’s strike was straight at the Wealdstone shot-stopper.

The Stones gradually settled into the game and had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 17th minute when Allarakhia and Duku broke free at speed; however the latter was denied by a smart save from Harry Tyrer.

Wealdstone began to play with intent and the lively Allarakhia embarked on a trademark mazy run, unleashing a fierce effort midway through the first-half that had to be palmed clear by Tyrer.

The Spireites resumed with their dominant build-up play as they looked to unlock an opening, but the Stones soaked up the pressure well with some resolute defending.

With eight minutes of the first-half remaining, Chesterfield skipper Jamie Grimes rifled a powerful long-range strike which was initially saved by Dewhurst; Quigley then prodded home the rebound, though referee Aji Ajibola disallowed the goal for a foul on the Stones’ keeper.

Mason Barrett, fresh from notching his first Wealdstone goal, nearly made it two in two, heading Bowen’s pinpoint free-kick narrowly wide in the 59th minute.

As the second-half progressed, the Stones grew in confidence and the introduction of talented Sri Lankan international De Silva gave the Stones a cutting edge up front.

Cox’s changes proved to be a masterstroke as Wealdstone broke the deadlock in the 74th minute when substitute Jack Young fed De Silva, who coolly slotted home, boosting the Stones’ chance of survival.

With a tense final quarter of an hour, the visitors thought they had levelled with five minutes to go when Ash Palmer converted past Marcus Dewhurst, but the Stones were reprieved when the Spireites’ defender was adjudged to be offside.

Wealdstone held firm to secure a monumental victory over their promoted counterparts, while resigning Paul Cook’s team to their third straight defeat.

The Stones’ clean-sheet against the champions also marked only the second time this season that the Spireites had been nullified from scoring.

Wealdstone return to action on Tuesday evening at 7.45pm when they entertain Eastleigh at Grosvenor Vale in their last home game of the season.

WEALDSTONE: Dewhurst, Cesay, Barrett, Cook (c), Mundle-Smith, Dyer, Bowen, Kretzschmar (Young 74), Obiero (Adeyemo 86), Allarakhia, Duku (De Silva 57).

Subs not used: Ferguson, Dreher.

Attendance: 2,143

Report by Nicole Cho-Yee


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