Wealdstone FC crest
Wealdstone 3
Ashford Town (Middlesex) 1

Ryman League Premier Division,
Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip
31st March 2009

Momentum can be a powerful thing.  Having taken over the former home of Ruislip Manor, the Stones have done an impressive job of tidying up the ground and adjacent social club and have been rewarded with a 40% increase in crowds.  Now, having overcome a sticky start to the season, they have matched their off-field progress with a fine run of form that meant that this victory lifted them into the play-off zone for the first time this season.

By contrast, Ashford were playing their twelfth match in 28 days and fielded a patched-up squad shorn of a number of regulars including Ricky Wellard and Adam Logie.  Perhaps this demanding schedule contributed to the Tangerines’ slow start which saw them concede a goal in the fourth minute, when Chris O’Leary’s dipping half-volley eluded Paul Burgess.  Ashford regrouped, and Byron Harrison had two decent chances to equalise before Anthony Joseph burst through the defence in the 23rd minute and cut the ball back for the former Harrow striker, who was denied by some excellent defending. 

Paul Burgess was forced into a fine save on the half-hour, but Ashford looked lively and both Joseph and Harrison both had chances to level the score before the interval, as did Gavin Smith, although Ashford were unable to make the breakthrough.

In fact, it was the Stones who added to their tally two minutes into the second half when the visiting defence failed to deal with a cross from the left and former Ashford striker Greg Ngoyi was able to apply the finish.  However, the visitors responded immediately and a deflected effort from Gavin Smith eluded Sean Thomas’ dive and halved the arrears.

In the 57th minute, Thomas was forced to tip a Billy Jeffreys header onto the crossbar, but that was only Ashford’s only significant chance to equalise despite enjoying a dominant spell.  This failure to capitalise would come to haunt the Tangerines as Burgess was forced into making several saves, including a stunning one-handed stop.  However, even Ashford’s legendary custodian could not prevent Wealdstone from scoring a third goal in the 75th minute, when a deep cross from the left was headed in by Ngoyi.

With five minutes remaining, a thunderous effort from Marvin McCoy struck a post, with Ashford desperately clearing the rebound, although that escape seemed to galvanise the visitors, with Jeffreys and Harrison both having late opportunities but it was the home side who deservedly took all three points.