National League South: Wealdstone 2 Hampton & Richmond 1
PUBLISHED: 10:11 14 October 2018
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Wealdstone ground out a narrow win to beat Hampton & Richmond in a terrific encounter on Non-League Day, with the win taking the Stones up to fourth place.
Goals from David Pratt and Bradley Bubb put Wealdstone 2-0 up, before Hampton & Richmond struck back in a dramatic first 15 minutes.
The away side went down to 10 men on the hour mark and despite throwing everything at Wealdstone, they held on for three points.
Bobby Wilkinson fielded a much familiar side on Non-League Day as he made just the one change from the last league match with Pratt coming in for the injured Bradley Hudson-Odoi.
It was a surprise, however to see experienced striker Chris Dickson on the bench for Hampton & Richmond who made two changes from the 2-0 loss to league leaders Billericay Town.
Wealdstone started on the front foot driving forward within the first minute of the game.
Fumnaya Shomotun beat three players on a mazy run into the penalty area before getting a shot away and the ball found its way to Pratt who headed in after just 90 seconds.
Hampton & Richmond couldn’t get a grip on the game in the first five minutes and Wealdstone were playing with rapid intensity.
There was a real sense of domination and Wealdstone were constantly pressing the Hampton & Richmond defence with Shomotun at the heart of the attack.
What followed was a manic 10 minutes of action as Freddie Grant met a wonderfully weighted pass and was pulled to the ground by Casey Maclaren, resulting in a spot kick.
A 2-0 lead was everything Wealdstone deserved but Daniel Green’s penalty was saved brilliantly down to the goalkeeper’s left.
The pressure was constant and Wealdstone’s fourth corner of the game was powerfully headed straight at Tom Lovelock by Grant.
Their fifth corner resulted in Lovelock scrambling, and Bubb flicking the ball home to give the home side a two-goal advantage.
Four minutes later Hampton & Richmond replied, perhaps caused by a lack of concentration at the back, when a floated cross to the far post evaded everyone but Maclaren, who made up for conceding the penalty by getting on the scoresheet.
After 25 minutes, there was a collective exhaling of breath around Grosvenor Vale, during the quietest moment of the match, but it hung in the balance and became more of a battle.
The second half started with caution from both sides, and was a complete contrast to the start of the first.
Hampton & Richmond opted for Dickson as a second striker, in place of captain Ricky Wellard, but Wealdstone had the game settled until around the hour mark, where the pace started to pick up.
Both sides were building constructively but Wealdstone were handed back the advantage when Maclaren was sent off for a tackle on Godfrey Poku.
This resulted in the away side bringing on striker Zak Joseph to desperately try for a goal, but Stones were locking in, making correct decisions defensively.
Opportunities came in spells, with Dickson volleying straight at Jonathan North and Wealdstone attempting to kill the game on the counter attack.
But as the game entered injury time, Stones managed the game out for a well earned three points.
First-team coach Mike Percival said: “We’re obviously delighted, it was a brilliant advert for Non-League Day. The boys’ commitment, their training, their desire was absolutely fantastic.
“Freddie (Grant) and Jake (Sheppard) were excellent, pushing them back in the first half, we executed the game plan. We’re obviously disappointed to concede the sloppy goal, but Hampton are a brilliant side with a brilliant manager.”
Wealdstone: North, Sheppard, Grant, Stevens, Okimo (C), Poku, Shomotun, Ahmidi, Pratt, Green, Bubb. Sub used: Lench. Unused subs: Wilson, Charles, Clark, Slew.