National League South: Braintree 0 Wealdstone 4
PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:27 12 August 2019
Wealdstone cruised to an impressive victory against Braintree Town at Cressing Road on Saturday afternoon.
A first-half own goal by Ollie Saunders, accompanied by second-half strikes from Danny Green, Jacob Mendy and Billy Clifford, meant Stones made it two wins from their opening three games of the new campaign.
The visitors started the more dominant of the two sides in the early periods and defender Connor Stevens was presented the first chance of the afternoon after nine minutes.
A fantastic right-footed cross from Nick Arnold located Stevens free in the penalty area and he guided his header goalward, prevented only by Michael Johnson's fingertip save.
Wealdstone dominated the opening phases of the game and took the lead in the 20th minute when Dennon Lewis jetted down the left, delivered a fierce low-cross which cannoned off Iron full-back Saunders and 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 and elected to shoot at the near post but Johnson was equal to the strike and produced a strong save.
The upper hand was firmly with Wealdstone and midfielder Clifford almost capitalised in the 27th minute with an audacious half-volley from over 30 yards which was comfortably gathered by Johnson.
There was no letting up from the Stones and 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.
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Lewis was becoming a creative catalyst as the game progressed and the former Watford forward almost found his scoring touch 10 minutes before the interval but again Johnson denied the Stones.
Boss Dean Brennan had said after Tuesday's defeat at Dulwich Hamlet that the Stones didn't create enough goalscoring opportunities, but that was certainly not the case this time around.
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 the dangerous pass.
Lewis caused havoc in the first half for the Stones, with everything positive in attack going through the winger, and he almost found his scoring touch before the break but curled an effort wide of Johnson's far post.
An even start to the second half gifted the home side an opportunity to draw level five minutes after the break as Saunders tried to redeem earlier wrongs and jetted past Arnold but sliced his left-footed shot wide.
Braintree again looked to find an equaliser just before the hour, as 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 as he collected the ball from Lafayette's backheel on the edge of the box and two touches later had beaten 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 as full-back Michee Efete's header found Clifford on the edge of the box and he composed himself before guiding the ball past Johnson into the bottom corner.