Report - Wealdstone 2 - 1 Maidstone United
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
League leaders Wealdstone entertained Maidstone United at The Vale on Saturday afternoon, keen to extend this season's unbeaten home record, while solidifying their status at the top of the table.
Fantastic first half goals from Billy Clifford and Jacob Mendy enabled the Stones to edge a feisty and competitive contest, stretching their winning record to seven out of eight matches.
Maidstone dominated the first 20 minutes of the match, registering their first shot on target within just three minutes of play, as Dan Wishart struck a low driven effort from the edge of the box; prompting Stones' goalkeeper Aston Oxborough to produce a solid save.
Wishart, who had been particularly dangerous for Maidstone down the left wing, struck another goal bound effort in the 13th minute, which fizzed just past Oxborough's near post.
In the 22nd minute, Wealdstone took the lead through a moment of brilliance, whereby midfielder Clifford's whipped delivery from the corner, curled directly into the top of the net.
The goal provided a catalyst for Wealdstone as the pendulum of momentum began to swing in the home side's favour, as they demonstrated more urgency and flair in their attacking play.
On the stroke of half time, Wealdstone doubled their lead in emphatic fashion, through hotshot Mendy. The attacking midfielder found space on the edge of the box and clinically despatched a fabulous low, driven effort past Maidstone goalkeeper Jake Cole.
The Stones started the second half in impelling fashion, galvanising two excellent opportunities within the first six minutes. Clifford struck a long range effort which dipped just above the crossbar, after a clever one-two with Danny Green; while, Ross Lafayette produced a fine point-blank save from Cole, after an acrobatic first-time volley.
In the 60th minute, the home side were tantalisingly close to increasing their lead further. Man of the moment Lafayette fed Michee Efete, whose cross found Arnold free in the penalty area; but, his effort was brilliantly blocked by defender Noah Chesmain on the goal line.
As the second half progressed, the Stones continued to dominate proceedings, as Green's lofted freekick in the 67th minute, found Jerome Okimo at the far post, but his diving header fell just wide of the target.
Substitute Jake Sheppard came close to putting the result beyond doubt in the 82nd minute of play, as he latched onto Dennon Lewis' chipped cross, and powerfully struck towards the top corner. However, Maidstone defender Lewis Knight produced a vital header to deny Sheppard his first goal of the season.
Against the run of play, the visitors reduced the deficit in the 86th minute of the match. Wishart, who had been a persistent threat throughout, fired from close range past Oxborough to bring about a tense finale.
In the dying minutes of the match, Maidstone pushed for an equaliser as Ibby Akanbi broke away down the right wing and drove in a testing cross, but Nick Arnold was on hand to smartly slide the ball clear of danger.
Table toppers Wealdstone, weathered the late storm from the visitors to hold firm and secure another three points, while maintaining their winning home record.
The Stones return to action on Tuesday 3rd September when we make the short trip to Clarence Park against St. Albans City, kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford (Sheppard, 66), Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Mendy (Watt, 70), Lafayette, Green (Roberts, 84), Lewis.
Subs not used: North, Coker.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
Photos by Adam Williams are available HERE
Dean Brennan's Post-Match interview is available to watch below: