National League: Wealdstone 3 Braintree Town 1
PUBLISHED: 10:46 03 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 December 2017
Wealdstone moved to within four points of second-placed Braintree Town after comfortably dispatching their lofty visitors at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday.
Goals from Taofiq Olomowewe, Dan Fitchett and Danny Green helped the Stones stroll into a three-goal lead, before Joe Ellul’s header set up a nervy finish for the home side.
Stones boss Bobby Wilkinson made three enforced changes to the side that produced a workmanlike victory at Chelmsford City in midweek.
Sam Cox and Eddie Oshodi missed out with suspensions and Mustafa Tiryaki was struggling with a hamstring problem, so Luke Williams, Glenn Wilson and Fitchett took their places in the starting line-up and Elliot Benyon returned to the bench after his loan spell concluded with Enfield Town.
The Stones took an eighth-minute lead when Braintree cleared a corner to Ryan Sellers, who had the freedom of Ruislip to take a shot from distance, which cannoned off Olomowewe in the box, wrong-footing Iron keeper Nathan McDonald and going into the opposite side of the goal.
Jonathan North then pulled off a first-class save as Braintree broke forward with Dernell Wynter, who put in a well-placed cross to Karl Oliyide but somehow North denied the forward’s header from point-blank range.
Within a minute of that stop the Stones had doubled their lead when a long ball caught out indecisive Iron defender Osa Obamwonyi who missed his header allowing Fitchett to sneak in behind and stroke past McDonald.
Stones should have had a third just before half time when Green picked out Fitchett with a great through ball and he then beat his man and had his shot parried away by McDonald into the path of Sellers, who shot wide with the goal gaping.
But Wealdstone had a deserved third just 36 seconds into the second half as Sellers’ cross was punched away by McDonald into the path of Green on the edge of the area and he showed the composure to exquisitely place into the far top corner.
North then repeated his first half heroics with another point-blank save, when a long free-kick was pumped into the box and the unmarked Ricky Gabriel did everything right at the far post, heading down toward goal, but somehow North stopped him.
However, North was finally beaten on 65 minutes as Ellul rose highest from a Braintree corner to head past the keeper and set up a nervy final 25 minutes.
Neither side was able to create any more clear-cut opportunities, though, with the hosts managing the game out superbly well defensively.
Weldstone: North, Olomowewe, Brown, Wilson, Day, Williams (Wellard 88), Sellers (Hippolyte-Patrick 80), Okimo, Fitchett (Goodger 80), Green, Eisa. Unused subs: Benyon, Whichelow.