National League South: Wealdstone 3 Hungerford Town 1
PUBLISHED: 17:54 25 August 2019
Table-topping Wealdstone continued their excellent start to the season with victory over Hungerford Town at The Vale on Saturday.
A first-half goal from Jacob Mendy, along with second-half efforts from Dennon Lewis and Ross Lafayette, secured a fourth consecutive win for the Stones, with Josh Martin scoring for the Crusaders.
And Dean Brennan's side will look to maintain their fine form when they make the long trip to Weymouth on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Stones started the match in a purposeful fashion, pressurising Hungerford from the outset, as they adopted an attacking formation alongside a high press, initiated by tireless forward Ross Lafayette.
The hosts demonstrated their offensive intent from as early as the second minute as Lafayette rose highest to powerfully head Danny Green's corner on target, with only a fine save from Hungerford keeper Adam Siviter preventing the home side from taking the lead.
A minute later, captain Jerome Okimo was close to giving the Stones the lead, rising to head another of Green's corners marginally wide of the far post.
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As the first half progressed, Wealdstone continued in the same vein, creating a number of opportunities as they showed cohesive play and dominated possession.
In the 37th minute, the Stones were rewarded for their persistence, taking the lead in emphatic style as Green picked out Mendy, who advanced into the box to clinically despatch low into the bottom corner past Siviter for his third goal in successive matches.
Hungerford forward Kofi Halliday proved a threat, instigating several of their attacking moves, but Wealdstone's central defensive pairing of Okimo and Connor Stevens were in impervious form, effortlessly thwarting the Crusaders.
In the second half, the visitors fought their way back into the match, profiting from a free-kick to draw level in the 57th minute as Joe Tomlinson's delivery found Martin, who rose highest to header home past Aston Oxborough.
But the Stones responded instantly, regaining the lead in the 59th minute as fantastic play from Lafayette on the right wing enabled him to square the ball across the box to the impressive Lewis, who stole a yard and rifled past Siviter into the top corner.
Brennan's side sealed their victory in the 75th minute with talisman Lafayette, who had been outstanding throughout, converting Phil Roberts' cross from close range, after a pinpoint through ball from Michael Phillips.
Hungerford rallied to try and reduce the deficit in the closing stages of the match, but the Stones held firm, managing the game in a mature and composed fashion, to ensure they maintained their unbeaten home record this season.
It was another comprehensive team performance from Wealdstone, as they demonstrated character and resilience to regain the lead after the Crusaders had drawn level and secured another three points.