Jan 28 2013 By Jon Batham
Peter Dean Image 2
RYMAN PREMIER LEAGUE
Wealdstone 3 Hastings 0
PETER Dean’s double saw Wealdstone consolidate their position at the top of the play-off pile with a comfortable win over Hastings on Saturday.
The hard working front-man produced two excellent finishes in the second half to add to Shaun Cronin’s opener from the spot in the first 45 as Stones without ever being at their best saw off their visitors who were handicapped by the loss of regular keep Liam O’Brien after just 17 minutes.
O’Brien went down after a ball was placed into the box and it was soon clear he would not be able to continue.
He limped off and with no reserve keeper on the bench midfielder Tom Vickers was forced to don the keeper’s jersey.
Shaun Cronin was the first to attempt to test the rookie keeper with a header from Alex Dyer’s left wing corner, but the trusty boot of Ben Judge cleared the danger.
Vickers proved up for the challenge on 26 minutes when Scott McCubbin’s crossed found the head of Chris Moore only for the stand-in custodian to dive full length to hold an effort seemingly destined for the bottom corner.
The visitors had offered little until on 29 minutes Bradley Goldberg escaped down the left and stepped inside McCubbin to unleash a venomous shot which Rikki Banks did well to fist to safety.
However, Wealdstone always held the edge in a low key first half and were close to opening the scoring on 33 minutes when Lee Chappell’s free-kick from the right edge again found Moore whose header left Vickers rooted to the spot only to cannon off the bar.
Nevertheless 40 seconds later Stones were ahead when Tom Pett was sent in on goal and Vickers upended him allowing Cronin to thump home the resulting penalty.
Moore was close to a second five minutes into the second half. Cronin flicked on a cross from the right and the former Uxbridge man slid in at the far post only for his cross-shot to be cleared off the line by Jamie Crellin.
The midfield man was soon involved at the other end, producing a clever shot from the left edge tipped over by Banks.
Stones were still the more threatening side and the second goal they needed arrived on 58 minutes.
It was certainly a memorable one started by a swift attack down the right before a deft flick from Moore sent Dyer racing into the box.
The cross from the by-line was inviting and Dean arrived on cue to apply the finishing touch to the best move of the game.
Hastings’ last chance of a way back ended with Adrian Stone’s weak shot straight at Banks before Stones made the game safe on 69 minutes when Cronin’s long clearance caught the defence flat footed and Dean’s first time shot beat Vickers and nestled in the far corner.
Loanee Leon Smith made a cameo appearance off the bench for the last 20 minutes, fluffing an excellent chance for a debut goal, but it mattered little as Gordon Bartlett’s men chalked up three important points.