Wealdstone 0-0 Hemel Hempstead Town: Stones inch towards survival with vital point
PUBLISHED: 14:30 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:32 06 April 2016
Wealdstone extended their unbeaten run to three games with a hard-earned point against play-off chasing Hemel Hempstead Town on Monday evening.
The game, which had a real derby feel to it, threatened to boil over on several occasions after a series of robust challenges, but both sides ended the game with all of their men on the field.
Gordon Bartlett made changes aplenty from Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Havant & Waterlooville, with Jack Smith and loanees James Demetriou and Nathan Mavila all starting in the absence of injured trio Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Scott McGleish and Dale Binns.
New additions Luca Losi and Mpania Kalenga were also included in the squad.
The first half was a fairly dull affair with both sides cancelling each other out. It livened up 10 minutes before the interval though, with Stones threatening to take the lead.
Hemel’s keeper Jamie Butler quite brilliantly denied a certain goal with his knee after a powerful effort from Elliott Godfrey, with Johnny Wright blazing the ball over the bar from the rebound after Demetriou teed him up in a central position.
Jonathan North, in just his second game back after returning from injury, then came to the rescue for the hosts denying former Stones midfielder Graeme Montgomery at point-blank range with a superb stop.
The atmosphere went up a notch in the second half, in particular from the Stones faithful as both teams went looking for a decisive lead.
Smith cleared the ball off the line to thwart the visitors, before former Crystal Palace youngster Ibra Sekajja got himself in a promising goalscoring position, but lacked the composure to make it count.
Hemel then had a goal chalked off – for what appeared to be an impediment on North.
Stones then opted to use all three of their substitutes, with Shaun Lucien, Marvin Morgan and Losi all introduced to the fray.
However, Bartlett’s men were unable to break down a resolute defence as the game reached a climax.
It was North who made the all-important difference though, with a stunning save with only seconds remaining in the game, ensuring the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Stones remain in 11th position in the National League South and look all but safe for another year, while only goal difference is keeping Hemel out of the top five currently as they continue to pursue promotion.