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  • Writer's pictureWill Beaman

REPORT | Wealdstone 4-4 Hartlepool United

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Sean Adarkwa’s hat-trick wasn’t enough as Wealdstone played out a game of the season contender with Hartlepool United in a tense affair at Grosvenor Vale,


The Stones started the game in perfect fashion and were ahead just three minutes in thanks to a fine finish from Max Kretzschmar, after some poor defending from the visiting team.


Adding to the goal he scored last week at Dagenham & Redbridge, Adarkwa added two more goals to his Stones tally when he showed good composure in the 12th and 27th minute to put the Stones into what should’ve been an assailing lead.


With it looking like the home side were going into the break with no worries, Hartlepool weren’t there to make life easy for the Stones, and two lapses in concentration saw Stuart Maynard’s side concede two goals, courtesy of Callum Cooke and Joe Grey, right before half-time to make the game a tight affair at the break.


A tightly contested, but thoroughly exciting, second-half played out with both teams creating chances that easily would’ve gone in on another day, and it was the Stones that found their fourth in the 76th minute after another clever finish from Adarkwa earnt the striker his first Stones hat-trick.


But the game wasn’t finished there, and the visitors made sure it would be a tight end to the game when former Stones striker Josh Umerah put a pinpoint finish past Marcus Dewhurst to make it 4-3.


With the hectic nature the game was being played, it was never going to finish calmy, and the away side levelled the score at the 90 minute mark through a 30-yard striker from Mitch Hancox.


Maynard made four changes to the side that beat Billericay Town in midweek with Ashley Charles, Tarryn Allarakhia and Kretzschmar coming into the side to replace Abdul Abdulmalik, Brandon Mason and Nathan Ferguson. After his goalscoring performance at Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend, Adarkwa replaced Tahvon Campbell in the side.


A perfect start for the Stones saw them take the lead, just three minutes in, after a poor defensive clearance saw the ball fall straight to Kretzschmar, unmarked in the box, who calmy slotted his effort past Joel Dixon to give his side an early lead.


Just a minute later, it looked as though the Stones might double their advantage when the ball fell to Sam Bowen on the edge of the box, a spot in which he usually finds the back of the net, but a fine save from Dixon, down to his left, denied the Welshman.


But the Stones pressure continued, and their second goal came in the 12th minute when Adarkwa picked up the ball in the attacking half, drove towards goal and hit a finely struck effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to make it two goals in his last two National League games.


With Hartlepool still yet to even test the Wealdstone goal, 27 minutes in, the Stones began to run away with the game when another fine finish inside the area from Adarkwa made it 3-0, making it a long way back for John Askey’s side.


The visitors first chance of the game came from a direct set-piece in the 34th minute when Cooke hit a sweetly struck free-kick, right on the edge of the box, just over the crossbar as the away side looked to get back into the game.


With two minutes to go until half-time, Hartlepool did start to mount their comeback looked and pulled a goal back when Cooke headed past Dewhurst from a floated ball into the box.

Another goal came for the visitors in quick succession when Grey volleyed past the Stones keeper, making it a much more tense affair than it should’ve been going into the break, given the Stones three goal lead early on.


Clearly still riding on the momentum they ended the half with, it was Askew’s side that went close to levelling the score when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball sit up nicely for Cooke on the edge of the box, who smashed his effort off the crossbar.


Knowing how important the next goal would be, both teams continued to fashion chances, and it was the Stones who went close to scoring their fourth when Micah Obiero weaved inside the box and curled an effort narrowly past the top corner.


A thoroughly exciting fixture continued to deliver, and a heart-in-the-mouth moment for Wealdstone fans came in the 60th minute as a sliding goal-line clearance from Brooklyn Ilunga denied what looked a certain equaliser after Cooke’s chipped effort had passed Dewhurst.


The first goal of the second-half fell the way of the Stones in the 76th minute when Allarakhia’s curling effort forced a save out of Dixon, who’s parry landed straight into the path of Adarkwa, who finished well to score his, and the Stones, first hat-trick of the season.


Trying to put the game out of sight, just a minute later, the Stones somehow weren’t able to score their fifth goal of the game as a goalmouth scramble saw the ball rattle off the post twice.


But in the same fashion that game had been flowing in for the prior 80 minutes, there was still more drama to follow, and the visitors once again put the game into touching distance when former Stones striker Umerah finished well past Dewhurst, as he did on many occasions previously at Grosvneor Vale.


As expected, it was a tense end to the game that was levelled by a simply stunning 30-yard strike from Hancox that made the game finish level at 4-4.


Looking to bounce back from what will feel like a disappointing draw, the Stones travel to face Maidenhead on Boxing Day for their next fixture.

WEALDSTONE: Dewhurst, Cook (c), Barrett, Mundle-Smith, Ilunga, Charles, Bowen, Kretzschmar (Ferguson 70), Allarakhia, Obiero, Adarkwa (Andrews 89).

Subs not used: Abdulmalik, Campbell, Mason.

Attendance: 1,457

Report by Will Beaman


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