National League South: Bognor 0 Wealdstone 3
PUBLISHED: 08:08 21 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:08 21 January 2018
Stones produced a highly disciplined defensive and counter attacking performance, with new signings and debutants Marcus Johnson-Schuster and Ian Gayle putting in great shifts and keeper Jon North making some outstanding stops.
A spectacular own goal gifted the away side the lead in the first half, but sheer hard work and graft eventually brought further reward in the second with goals from Gayle and a beauty from Abo Eisa.
A minute after Wealdstone’s second goal, midfielder Ricky Wellard was sent off for a second yellow offence that will see him miss next Saturday’s home league clash with Weston-super-Mare.
But Stones coped comfortably with the Rocks desperate attacking spell in the last 20 minutes when reduced to 10 men.
The visitors began brightly on a wet but perfectly playable surface, and after a good Dave Pratt run they gained two corners in rapid succession.
But after a hesitant start the Rocks hit back with some decent forward play of their own and Ibra Sekajji shot wide when well placed.
Appeals for a home penalty were waved away in a good little spell for Bognor when Tommy Scutt was challenged in the box.
Eisa was not finding the space to use his blistering pace but stuck to his task with the ever-willing Pratt up front, but North had to be alert on 21 minutes when Rocks defender Sami El-Abd powered in a header.
Both sides were cancelling each other out in a midfield tussle, but with Stones digging in well and hitting back with Pratt the main outlet.
The fortuitous breakthrough for Wealdstone came on 39 minutes when Danny Green sent in a trademark free kick after Eisa had been upended outside the area and home winger Thomas Scutt majestically powered into his own net to hand the advantage to the away side before the break.
Pratt then went on a searing run but struck wide of the far post as the half ended and Stones looked livelier from the off in the second period with Bognor countering.
North saved magnificently to keep his side ahead and when Rocks skipper El-Abd hobbled off with an injury one sensed a further advantage to Stones and, so it proved.
Eisa finally broke free of the shackles and fired across goal with Pratt just missing out on 54 minutes.
But after a further period of decent possession from Bognor, Stones grabbed the killer goal 10 minutes later when another Green corner was fired in from the right and Gayle pounced to poke the ball past Dan Lincoln in a congested goalmouth.
A minute later and Wellard, last week’s FA Trophy hero, was dispatched after a second yellow card, but Stones re-organised efficiently and locked in.
Rocks saw a chink of light and piled forward as Stones defended in numbers, with the pressure culminating in another fantastic save from North who flung himself across goal to push away a flicked header
As Stones manager Bobby Wilkinson implored his charges to manage the game out they did just that and killed the contest off with 15 minutes to go, as Eisa blasted a fantastic effort into the top corner from a tight angle.
Wealdstone: North, Johnson-Schuster, Okimo, Oshodi, Gayle, Cox, Whichelow, Wellard, Pratt, Green, Eisa. Subs: Tiryaki, Allen, Fitchett, Artwell, Olomowewe.