Wealdstone have friendly win at Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 July 2017
Hitchin 2 Wealdstone 4
Wealdstone’s final pre-season friendly proved a positive affair and, despite pre-match worries over several missing personnel due to knocks sustained during the midweek defeat at Hampton and training, the squad came through in entertaining style.
One player who will be out for the big kick-off next Saturday is left back Ryan Sellers as a scan has revealed ankle ligament damage that will require a further four-week healing period following the injury sustained during the Watford match.
Stones started Mustafa Tiryaki up front and the big man made an immediate impact and combined well with Elliot Benyon who netted after only a minute of play but the former Torquay United man was ruled offside.
The Canaries, who just missed out on promotion form the Southern League Premier over the past two seasons, looked very lively following that scare and their touchline-hugging wing back Jay Dowie was stretching Stones defence with Jonathan North relived to see a long-range strike fizz wide.
But Stones soon hit back, displaying some slick play with Abobaker Eisa running with pace and skill to worry the home defence; then Tiryaki headed just wide from the same player.
Stones deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes when Eisa cut in and rifled home past keeper Michael Johnson with aplomb.
And the visitors continued to dominate proceedings and should have made their superiority count further but they had nothing more to show for their hard work at the break.
Hitchin took full advantage of a rare loss of possession in midfield after 10 minutes of the turnaround as Liam Brooks headed past a stranded North.
But in a free-flowing passage of play it was Stones who regained the initiative when Jerome Okimo was sent flying in an illegal challenge outside the area and the resulting free kick was powered home by Tiryaki.
Typical of the end-to-end play, it wasn’t long before the Canaries sung again with another equaliser as Josh Hill brought down a forward who had broken completely free and the spot-kick was smashed home by Ben Walster.
Play became disrupted as several substitutions were made by both sides, but Wealdstone took greater advantage and the goal of the match was netted by Danny Green who cleverly made space some 30 yards out and gave Johnson no chance with a lovely dipping strike on 73 minutes.
Soon after sub Dan Fitchett had the easiest of tap-ins to wrap up the scoring but the ever-reliable North had to make a great save late on following some sustained pressure.
Stones will now make their final preparations for the big kick-off at The Vale next Saturday (August 5) when they entertain Concord Rangers in the Vanarama National League South for what will sure to be a very tough but highly intriguing opener.
Wealdstone: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Hunt, Hill, Brown, Wellard, Green, Benyon, Tiryaki, Eisa. Subs: Wiltshire, Hippolyte-Patrick, Olafsen, Crilley, Fitchett.
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