Reversed Report - Braintree Town 0 - 4 Wealdstone
Wealdstone cruised to an impressive victory against Braintree Town in our Stones Reversed fixture at Cressing Road in the National League South.
Fans watched and followed all the social media coverage in the absence of our proposed home fixture against the Iron, including watching the full 90 minutes live on our YouTube channel.
A first half own goal by Ollie Saunders, accompanied by second half strikes from Danny Green, Jacob Mendy and Billy Clifford, meant Wealdstone made it two wins from their opening three games of the new campaign.
Stones Manager Dean Brennan made one change from the side that lost at Dulwich Hamlet in midweek, Dennon Lewis came in for Sanchez Watt for his first start for the club.
The Stones started the more dominant of the two sides in the early stages. Nick Arnold located Connor Stevens in the penalty area and Stevens guided his header goalward, prevented only by Michael Johnson’s fingertip save.
Wealdstone dominated the opening phases of the game and took the lead on the 20th minute when Dennon Lewis jetted down the left, delivered a fierce low-cross which cannoned off Iron full-back Saunders into the net.
The Stones could have doubled their lead less than a minute later when Lewis won the ball from Rob Harvey high up the pitch. Lewis elected to shoot at the near-post but Johnson was equal to the strike and forced a strong save.
The upper hand was firmly with Wealdstone and midfielder Clifford almost capitalised in the 27th minute with a second Stones goal, an audacious half-volley from over 30 yards was comfortably gathered by Johnson.
There was no letting up from the Stones, three minutes later talisman Ross Lafayette twisted-and-turned on the edge of the box before hammering a left-footed strike into the palms of Johnson.
Lewis was becoming a creative catalyst as the game progressed. The former Watford forward almost found his scoring touch 10 minutes before the interval but again Johnson denied the Stones.
Brennan said after Tuesday’s defeat at Dulwich Hamlet that the Stones didn’t create enough goal-scoring opportunities, that was certainly not the case at Cressing Road.
Five minutes before the half-time break, Lewis became the provider on the right-hand side and squared the ball low to Lafayette in the area before former Stone Josh Urquhart cut-out Lewis’ dangerous pass.
Lewis caused havoc in the first half for the Stones, everything positive in attack was going through the winger. Lewis almost found his scoring touch before the break but curled an effort wide of Johnson’s far-post.
The Stones were firmly in control after the initial 45 minutes and took a one-goal advantage into the half-time interval.
An even start to the second half gifted the home side with an opportunity to draw level five minutes after the break. Saunders tried to redeem earlier wrongs, he jetted past Arnold but sliced his left-footed shot wide.
Braintree again looked the find the equaliser just before the hour-mark, substitute Alfie Cerulli controlled the ball in the penalty area before Tom Richardson fired straight at Norwich City loanee Aston Oxborough.
Just as the Iron began to create a couple of chances, Green doubled Wealdstone’s lead in the 73rd minute.
Green collected the ball from Lafayette’s back-heel on the edge of the box; two touches later Green had skimmed defender Jake Hutchings and ‘keeper Johnson before slotting into an empty net.
A chance for a dramatic Braintree comeback became less likely in the 83rd minute when Stevens slid a through ball into substitute Mendy, who cleverly flicked the ball over the defender before his half-volley rustled the back of the net.
Two minutes later, the Stones concluded the contest in emphatic fashion. Full-back Michee Efete’s header found Clifford on the edge of the box; after composing himself, Clifford delightfully guided the ball past Johnson into the bottom corner.
Wealdstone: Oxborough, Arnold, Efete, Clifford, Stevens, Okimo, Phillips, Smith, Lafayette (Roberts, 80), Green (Sheppard, 78), Lewis (Mendy, 60).
Subs not used: Ringer, Beckles-Richards.
Report by Dec O’Reilly