Wealdstone v Boreham Wood
Saturday 8th October 2022, 3.00pm
Grosvenor Vale, National League
The Wood succumbed to their second defeat of the season last time out against Bromley, and will be keen to bounce straight back to winning ways with a short trip to Wealdstone this weekend.
IN FOCUS: WEALDSTONE
The Stones are a side on the rise after ending a 32-year absence from the fifth tier. Wealdstone were named champions of the National League South following a successful 2019/20 season, albeit on a points-per-game basis due to the suspension of the campaign following the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Dean Brennan’s side were well-deserving of silverware and subsequently began the 2020/21 campaign positively, eventually finishing the season in 19th place. The Ruislip-based outfit followed that up by achieving their highest league position in 35 years with a 16th place finish last season, and added quality to their ranks in the summer with the likes of Max Kretzschmar, Lewis Kinsella and Dominic Hutchinson joining the club. Wealdstone currently sit eight in the National League table after winning five of their opening 12 games, along with four draws and just three defeats.
LAST TIME OUT
Solihull Moors 2-1 Wealdstone
Tuesday 4th October 2022
Vanarama National League
Promotion-hunting Solihull Moors got the better of Wealdstone at Damson Park after strikes from Andrew Dallas and Joe Sbarra either side of half time cancelled out Olufela Olomola’s equaliser.
It was a nervy start for the visitors who almost went behind early on when Sam Howes denied Ryan Barnett and Dallas inside the first five minutes. Sbarra later struck an audacious effort from 20-yards that flew just wide with Howes beaten, shortly before beating Howes once more with his strike on target this time, but Dominic Hutchinson was well-placed to clear off the line. The Moors soon took a deserved lead when Dallas capitalised on a Jack Cook error, narrowly beating Howes with a powerful swerving shot that the goalkeeper could only palm onto the post.
The next hour saw Solihull comfortable as Wealdstone looked to find a way back into the game, with Nathan Ferguson eventually testing Louie Moulden. The visitors managed to find an equaliser though when Olomola netted on the third attempt after his initial two efforts were kept out. The Stones found some momentum and looked to secure a winner, but it wasn’t to be as the hosts hit them on the break, with Barnett playing a deft cross to Sbarra at the far post who converted late on to win it for the Moors.
Solihull Moors (A) L2-1
Aldershot Town (A) W1-2
Southend United (H) L0-1
Torquay United (H) D1-1
Maidstone United (A) D1-1
Woking (H) D1-1
Wealdstone began the 2022/23 campaign in wonderful form, losing just one of their opening nine games. Despite that, Stuart Maynard’s side has somewhat dropped off in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six. Three successive draws against Woking, Maidstone United and Torquay United were followed up by defeat at home to Southend United after a Marcus Dackers penalty ended the club’s seven-game unbeaten run. They bounced back as two second half Rhys Brown goals saw the Stones from behind to beat Aldershot Town, but last season’s play-off finalists Solihull Moors succumbed them to a second defeat in three games last time out, leaving Wealdstone in somewhat inconsistent form going into Saturday’s fixture.
IN THE DUGOUT: STUART MAYNARD
Stuart Maynard was unveiled as Wealdstone’s new manager earlier in 2021, having taken over as caretaker boss after the departure of Dean Brennan. As a player for the Stones during the 1990’s, Maynard is a popular figure around Grosvenor Vale and returned to the club in 2019 as part of the backroom staff to Brennan, helping the club secure the National League South title in his first season before guiding the club to a 19th place finish in his first season as manager. He followed that up by achieving the Stones’ highest league position in 35 years, with a 16th place finish last season that was rewarded with a contract extension in May.
ONE TO WATCH: RHYS BROWN
An Antigua & Barbuda international, Rhys Brown was spotted playing for Interwood and joined the Norwich City academy, spending two years in Norfolk before joining Charlton Athletic. He would gain experience on loan at VCD Athletic but departed the Valley permanently after being released, dropping into the non-league in search of game time. The forward joined Aldershot Town after a successful trial and impressed at the EBB Stadium, earning a move to newly promoted League Two club Grimsby Town but soon returned to the National League with a loan move to Macclesfield Town. Further spells at Yeovil Town and Port Vale saw him rack up almost 100 Football League appearances, before a brief stint at Wealdstone preceded a move to Sutton United with whom he helped win promotion to League Two, but returned to Grosvenor Vale after his release from the U’s.
LAST TIME WE MET
Wealdstone 2-0 Boreham Wood
Monday 18th April 2022
Vanarama National League
The Wood’s play-off hopes were all but denied after a third defeat in a row thanks to goals either side of half time from Aaron Henry and Josh Umerah.
The hosts made their intentions clear from the off as the first period of the match was very much played in the Wood’s half. Nathan Ferguson had the first chance when he struck an effort from distance over the crossbar, before Umerah and Ferguson crashed efforts off the woodwork. Jaydn Mundle-Smith then forced a save from Taye Ashby-Hammond before the Wood finally began to create opportunities of their own. Scott Boden forced an excellent save from George Wickens shortly before some good work from former Stones pair Jacob Mendy Mendy and Dennon Lewis enabled the latter to hit a superb effort that skimmed off the crossbar. Wealdstone soon took the lead though, as a wonderful Henry free kick flew past Ashby-Hammond, with Adrian Clifton and Lewis both missing openings late on.
Wealdstone got off to an excellent start to the second half after doubling their advantage just seven minutes in, as Umerah punished an error from Ashby-Hammond before bundling the ball in. The Wood began to grow into it during the second half with chances for Clifton, Lewis, Tyrone Marsh and Gus Mafuta, but it was all too late for the visitors who left Grosvenor Vale with ten men after Frankie Raymond saw red for a late challenge on Jack Cook.
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