National League: Havant & Waterlooville 2 Wealdstone 4
PUBLISHED: 20:12 19 January 2020
Wealdstone got the better of fellow promotion hopefuls Havant at Westleigh Park on Saturday.
A first-half header from Michee Efete, along with a second-half brace from Moses Emmanuel and a goal from Danny Green sealed an emphatic win for the Stones, as they produced a stunning comeback to beat the Hawks, for whom Dean Beckwith and Danny Kedwell found the target.
Manager Dean Brennan made two changes to the starting line-up which defeated Welling last Saturday, with midfielder Jacob Mendy slotting in for Jake Sheppard at left back and Ashley Charles stepping into midfield for the suspended Michael Phillips.
But Wealdstone had the worst possible start to the match, conceding in only the fourth minute as Andy Drury's corner was met by Beckwith, whose effort was adjudged to have crossed the line by the linesman.
The Hawks dominated the early stages of play and were unfortunate not to have increased their lead further, with Jonah Ayunga proving a constant threat for the home side.
But as the first half progressed, the visitors began to settle into the match, commanding more possession and generating more cohesive attacking play.
In the 25th minute, the Stones were duly rewarded for their vigour as their full-backs combined superbly to level, with left-back Mendy whipping in a teasing cross and man of the moment Efete, who has been in scintillating form, leaping to power a fantastic bullet header past Ross Worner.
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Spurred on by this goal, Wealdstone began to gather further momentum, with Clifford starting to dominate proceedings in midfiel, and ignite attacks for the Stones.
But Stones started the second half in a similar vein to the first, relinquishing another early goal within two minutes of the restart as Drury curled in a free-kick, which was met with a towering header from Kedwell at the far post to put the Hawks back into the lead.
Galvanised into action after surrendering another goal, Wealdstone increased their intensity and duly profited in the 58th minute as Clifford drove in a low cross for Emmanuel, who coolly slotted past Worner for his first goal for the club to level.
The Stones then stepped up into another gear, with danger man Emmanuel causing havoc for the Hawks' defence.
The striker completed his brace in the 75th minute, as the influential Clifford won the ball, drove forward, and then squared to Emmanuel, who clinically converted past Worner to give Stones into the lead.
As the match drew to a close, Wealdstone were firing on all cylinders and edged further ahead through Green, who popped up in the box to poke home the fourth goal in the 81st minute.
The Hawks rallied in the closing stages, but resolute and tenacious defending from the Stones, along with excellent game management, secured an outstanding away victory for the table toppers.
Wealdstone return to action on Tuesday in the Middlesex FA Senior Cup as they travel to face Staines Town at Wheatsheaf Park.