Report - Wealdstone 0 - 3 Colchester United
League Two side, Colchester United, demonstrated their professional status on Tuesday night, beating Wealdstone with a convincing performance at the Vale as the Stones continued their pre-season preparations.
A first half finish from forward Paris Cowan-Hall, along with second half strikes from Michael Fernandes and Luke Gambin, secured victory for the visitors.
Wealdstone manager Dean Brennan again elected to utilise this pre-season fixture to experiment with the line-ups, making ten changes on the 60th minute mark.
The Stones held their own in a competitive match against the League Two outfit for much of the first half, with the familiar central defensive partnership of Captain Jerome Okimo and Connor Stevens, along with new full-backs Michee Efete and Nick Arnold, thwarting the U’s attacking prowess.
Colchester United were able to break the deadlock in the 16th minute; mounting an attack, which resulted in Jevani Brown’s shot being well-saved by Wealdstone goalkeeper Theo Richardson. However, the U’s Cowan-Hall was quickest to react; slotting home into an open net.
In the 19th minute Wealdstone came close to equalising, midfielder Connor Smith whipped in a fantastic ball for Jacob Mendy, but his long-range looping header flew just wide of the target.
The U’s enjoyed the lion’s share of possession throughout the first half, and came close to extending their lead further in the 23rd minute. A quick counter attack resulted in Brown threading through Cowan-Hall, but his dinked cross to the back post evaded Frank Nouble.
As the first half progressed, Wealdstone pressed to level the match. Excellent link-up play between Danny Green and Mendy in the 33rd minute saw the latter produce a curling effort from the edge-of-the-box which was well-saved by U’s keeper Dean Gerken.
Three minutes later, Smith came close to equalising, despatching a thunderous first-time volley from outside-of-the-box, which glided just over the crossbar.
As the first half drew to a close, Okimo came agonisingly close to levelling for the Stones. A perfect corner from midfielder Billy Clifford saw Okimo rise highest, but his headed effort flew just wide of the far post.
The second half saw Colchester United continue to dominate possession as they looked to increase their lead further. Right-back Kane Vincent-Young proved to be a real attacking threat down the right-wing, producing a brilliant curling first-time effort from the edge-of-the-box, in the 57th minute.
In the 60th minute, Brennan made ten outfield changes to the Wealdstone side, with Jake Sheppard taking the captain’s armband.
The U’s extended their lead in the 66th minute. A lovely defence-splitting flick-on by Gambin found Fernandes, who was able to race free and round Richardson to slot into an empty net.
Colchester United cemented the win in the 79th minute, as the lively Gambin, who had looked dangerous since his introduction, struck a low left-footed shot goal bound, which rolled under Richardson into the far corner of the net.
The Stones return to action away at The Meadow on Thursday 18th July at 7:45pm, with another pre-season fixture against Chesham United.
Wealdstone: Richardson, Efete (Sheppard, 60), Arnold (Sellers, 60), Clifford (Saunders, 60), Stevens (Coker, 60), Okimo (Offuso, 60), Mendy (Beckles-Richards, 60), Smith (Cook, 60), Lafayette (Noel-Williams, 60), Green (Watt, 60), Lewis (Lopes, 60). Subs not used: Paterson, Ringer.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
Match photos by Adam Williams can be viewed HERE
Post-match thoughts from Dean Brennan: "We gave a good account of ourselves against a top League Two side. We worked extremely hard and made it a competitive game.
"It wasn't the scoreline that we wanted but our players gave their all and collectively we put in a solid performance.
"In the next couple of games [against Chesham and Watford U23s], we will look to get more match minutes into half-a-dozen players who are behind in their individual pre-season programmes."