National League: Wealdstone 2 Gloucester City 0
PUBLISHED: 07:50 30 October 2018
Wealdstone returned to winning ways beating Gloucester City at Grosvenor Vale on Monday night.
The Stones were clinical, with their two strikers bagging a goal each in a deserved win.
The hosts started the match with good intention and possession was in their favour as they shifted play to the left side more than often to get Bradley Hudson-Odoi running at Gloucester right back Spencer Hamilton.
Set-pieces were the order of the first 10 minutes with Fumnaya Shomotun having his free kick turned away before David Pratt turned a corner goalbound.
Gloucester were almost behind on 11 minutes when some trickery on the left side from Hudson Odoi enabled him to produce a dangerous left footed cross, which was headed back across goal by Connor Stevens before Jack Deaman gratefully saw the ball turned over via his own crossbar.
But it was the visitors who had the next opportunity, as Joe Hanks found a couple of yards inside the 18-yard box but took too long to fire his shot away.
The deflection found its way to Jake Mawford but his scooped effort was too easy for Jonathan North.
Wealdstone were playing a high line from the off, trying to push Gloucester onto the back foot, and chances were coming their way.
A corner swung in by Shomotun was met by the latest make-shift left-back, captain Jerome Okimo, and his diving header was blocked and signalled a wave of appeals from the Stones fans behind the goal, with referee Matty Buonassisi shaking his head.
Pratt found himself in his preferred position up front, taking a break from dropping deep, and twisted and turned with his back to goal, holding off a defender but seeing his shot blocked,
There was an uncertain feel to the Stones back line, with Okimo playing left back instead of Rhys Tyler, who was on the right, as Glenn Wilson came in at centre back, with Jake Sheppard on the bench.
With Okimo picking up a knock, Sheppard did come on the field in a straight swap and at this point the only familiar sight was Connor Stevens.
However, Stones appeared comfortable once Sheppard came on, but the first half ended with a scuffle as Simon Mensah reacted in an unnecessary fashion to a foul by Fabien Robert.
The match opened up slightly in the early part of the second half, with Gloucester starting very well.
Robert was involved in everything positive for the away team, as he flicked a ball around the corner for Joe Parker who drove a low shot across goal, but North got down well.
But in the 54th minute it was Stones who took the advantage when a loosely controlled ball by Pratt on the right was challenged by Gloucester City left back Jack Deaman, who hooked it into the path of an onrushing Bradley Bubb, 25 yards out.
Bubb cushioned the ball onto his knee before firing a volley over goalkeeper Adam Przbek, with the Welshman caught off-guard as Stones opened the scoring.
Gloucester increased the pressure on Stones, but the home side profited from swift and pacey counter attacks predominantly led by Shomotun.
A tremendous tackle from Spencer Hamilton prevented Hudson-Odoi from doubling Wealdstone’s lead, but Stones were in a good position, leading the match and waiting to pounce on any over-commitment by Gloucester going forward.
Shomotun was replaced by Daniel Green, leaving the team with slightly less agility and pace, but slightly more accuracy.
Simon Mensah played a cute ball into Bubb but his heavy first touch limited his abilities to make use of his chance.
And Gloucester made a double substitution in the hope for an equaliser, but opportunities were few and far between.
The visitors were predominantly defending for the last 10 minutes, with Wealdstone working as a unit to close off the space and deny any openings.
There was a half chance for Gloucester in the last five minutes when Robert received the ball on the right from substitute Harry Williams, before giving it back, only for Williams to tamely shoot into the arms of North.
Hudson-Odoi then set up Godfrey Poku to smash a first time effort at the visiting goalkeeper, before the game was put out of question.
Poku was intelligent, getting inbetween the lines, and played a perfectly weighted pass into Bubb on the left side of the penalty area. The striker found his partner and Pratt slammed the ball home to give Wealdstone a deserved three points.
First-team coach Mike Percival took charge of the team in the absence of manager Bobby Wilkinson and said: “It was a scrappy game, I thought the boys looked slightly fatigued. But what we’ve done well is responded brilliantly. So proud of the group and how they’ve responded in the circumstances so credit to everyone.
“To keep a clean sheet is brilliant too. Jake [Sheppard] came on in an unnatural position and was absolutely outstanding. Glenn Wilson had his first start in 14 games, he was unreal. Connor Stevens keeps getting better and better. The back four were unbelievable, so credit to everyone.”
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