Wealdstone thrashed by league leaders Hartlepool United

Wealdstone's Ryan Gondoh in action against Bromley at Hayes Lane

Wealdstone's Ryan Gondoh in action against Bromley at Hayes Lane - Credit: Jon Taffel

Wealdstone were on the end of a 7-2 thrashing against National League leaders Hartlepool United as they ramp up their hopes of automatic promotion. 

A hat-trick from Richie Bennett, a brace from Rhys Oates and goals from Nicky Featherstone and Mark Shelton comfortably sealed the three points for the Pools despite two late goals from the Stones.

The win keeps Pools top of the National League and extends their unbeaten run to 15.

The Stones’ first chance came after quarter of an hour, as Dennon Lewis’ found space to shoot, but his effort was deflected for a corner.

Hartlepool United were agonisingly close to scoring two minutes later as the ball fell to Gavan Holohan who unleashed a shot from just inside the area, but Wealdstone’s number one George Shelvey reacted with a fantastic save to preserve the score line.

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However, the Pools opened their account in the 25th minute when Gary Liddle drove into the Stones’ half and found Oates, who turned in the box and fired into the bottom right-hand corner past Shelvey to send the visitors into the lead.

Hartlepool United doubled their advantage in the 39th minute when Oates turned provider, dinking a ball into the box, which was headed home by Bennett.

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Two minutes later, the Pools trebled their tally as goal scorer Bennett beat the offside trap and forced a fine save from Shelvey, but the striker quickly followed up his first effort and tapped home to bag a first half brace.

A couple of minutes into the second half, the visitors extended their lead further when Bennett chested the ball down to Oates and he powerfully volleyed home past Shelvey to seal his second of the game.

The Stones continued to probe for a way back into the game and Jacob Mendy nearly provided that moment of class in the 58th minute when he rocketed a trademark effort from range towards the top corner, but Henrich Ravas pulled off a brilliant save to deny this season’s top goal scorer from reducing the deficit.

The Pools added their fifth in the 63rd minute as captain Featherstone stepped up to convert from the penalty spot after referee Tom Reeves adjudged Michael Phillips to have handled in the box.

Goalkeeper Shelvey was on hand again with a superb save to thwart Ryan Donaldson from close range in the 74th minute.

However, two minutes later Hartlepool finally grabbed their sixth goal as Mark Shelton volleyed past Shelvey into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

With ten minutes to go, the visitors fired in their seventh goal when hat trick hero Bennett stepped up to tuck home the second penalty of the afternoon, following a foul from Phillips in the box.

Despite the score line, the Stones continued to battle and were rewarded three minutes from time when Lo-Everton glided past three players and coolly slotted home to score a well-deserved goal on his debut.

Spurred on by this, Wealdstone grabbed another goal back two minutes into stoppage time, as Gondoh fired a sublime effort into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Wealdstone: Shelvey, Olowu (Charles 65), Cawley, Okimo (c), Mendy, Smith (Lo-Everton 65), Phillips, Dyer, Green (Parish 77), Gondoh, Lewis. 

Unused subs: Askew, Wishart. 

Hartlepool United: Ravas, Cass (Williams 68), Liddle, Odusina, Sterry, Featherstone, Shelton, Holohan (Donaldson 68), Ferguson, Bennett, Oates (Elliott 54). 

Unused subs: Young, Armstrong. 

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