National League South: Wealdstone 1 Oxford City 0
PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 September 2019
Match report as Wealdstone make it eight wins in a row.
League leaders Wealdstone entertained Oxford City at The Vale on Saturday afternoon, keen to continue their outstanding start to the season while cementing their status at the top of the table.
A late second half goal from defender Michee Efete was enough to give the Stones the win and extend their lead at the top of the National League South to seven points with their eighth consecutive victory.
From the outset, the match was a lively and exciting affair, with both sides demonstrating attacking intent as they looked to take an early advantage.
Wealdstone were agonisingly close to taking the lead within the seventh minute of play as Jacob Mendy seized possession in the box and powerfully fired towards goal.
Only a vital point-blank save from Hoops goalkeeper Harry Isted prevented the attacker from adding to his tally of five goals this season.
The Stones continued to dominate the early proceedings, winning three successive corners in the first ten minutes, with Billy Clifford preying on the edge of the box and firing driven efforts either side of the crossbar.
In the 21st minute, Oxford City were tantalisingly close to scoring as Josh Ashby struck a fantastic free-kick from just outside the box.
However, Aston Oxborough produced a magnificent one-handed save to ensure the tie remained goalless.
As the first half progressed, Wealdstone began to galvanise more goal scoring opportunities than their opponents, exhibiting fluid and cohesive passages of play, crafted by the talented duo of Danny Green and Billy Clifford.
In spite of this, the visitors remained compact in their formation, defending stoically to thwart the Stones' attacks, and ensure that they went into half time on level terms.
The Stones started the second half in a commanding manner, nearly drawing first blood in the 47th minute as Green chested down to Mendy and his first-time volley flew inches over the crossbar.
Encouraged by the impressive start to the second half, Wealdstone generated a flurry of goal scoring efforts in quick succession.
In the 48th minute, Isted had to produce a dazzling double save from Dennon Lewis and Green to deny the home side from taking an early second half lead.
Much of the Stones' attacking prowess was instigated by Lewis who was in fine form throughout - utilising his blistering pace and skill to provide a constant threat down the left wing.
In the 56th minute, Michael Phillips produced a surging run through midfield, threading the ball through to Stones' top scorer Ross Lafayette, who drilled a shot marginally wide of the far post.
Substitute Phil Roberts made a significant impact for Wealdston, striking a spectacular effort from just inside the Hoops' half, which flew narrowly wide after he has spotted Isted off of his line in the 74th minute.
Two minutes later, Roberts produced another superb long range effort, skimming the crossbar from wide on the right wing.
In the 81st, somewhat against the run of play, the Hoops nearly took the lead as Joe Oastler powerfully headed Ashby's corner towards goal but Lafayette produced a brilliant goal line clearance to preserve the score.
A minute later, the rampant Lewis burst down the left wing to the by-line, chipping the ball to Green at the far post, who leaped to produce a pinpoint header towards the top corner but Isted responded with a fabulous finger-tip save.
In the 83rd minute, the Stones sealed a stunning late victory as Efete rose highest to head Green's corner past Isted and send the home fans into frenzy.
But an inspired performance from Oxford City saw them push Wealdstone to the final whistle.
Heroic and resolute defending from the central defensive partnership of Connor Stevens and Jerome Okimo, along with crucial saves from Oxborough enabled the Stones to secured a clean sheet and continue their winning record at The Vale this season.