Wealdstone 1-2 Fleet

Fleet came from behind after conceding their first goal of the season with a sublime second half performance that maintained their 100% start to the season.

Daryl McMahon opted for the same side that started the abortive game against Weston-super-Mare against a Wealdstone side that had just a point to their name before today.

But the Stones, with former Fleet midfielder Michael Corcoran in their line-up, were not expected to roll over and they made a real contest of an even first half.  Both teams started slowly in considerable heat and it took Fleet 12 minutes to get sight of goal when John Paul Kissock dummied Jordan Parkes’ corner and Matt Godden’s low shot into a crowded penalty area was blocked by Wes Parker.

Two minutes later and the visitors had a lucky escape when Josh Hutchinson got away from his marker after Bradley Hudson-Odoi had made the space to fire past Brandon Hall but the official’s flag saved the Fleet.

Back came the men in yellow and they knocked it about well in midfield, culminating in a deep cross from Matt Fish. Danny Kedwell headed it back into the box from the far post to the feet of Parkes but he couldn’t quite get a shot away from 12 yards with the goal opening up for him.

Fleet continued to ping the ball from side to side but Stones skipper Parker was keeping Kedwell under wraps while the home side looked menacing when they got into the final third.

On 26 minutes, Godden’s flick-on from a goal kick found Robbie Willmott racing through and his quickfire effort sneaked just over the upright. At the other end, Corcoran should have done better with a header he planted wide and Jefferson Louis got behind Joe Howe to deliver a thumping shot from the byline but it was gathered well by Hall.

Substitute Conor Calcutt, on for the injured Hutchinson, drifted wide to open up the Fleet defence but Tom Bonner blocked his shot on goal before Fleet had a five-minute spell where they started to worry the Stones defence. First, Kedwell and Willmott both had headers that goalkeeper Jonathan North saved on the line before Fish sent in a low, awkward shot that skidded just wide of the post.

But that spell on top was ended on 41 minutes when a ball upfield was helped on by Matt Ball, collected by the impressive Hudson-Odoi and as the defence parted and Hall rushed out to meet him, the Stones No.11 hoisted it into the back of the net.

McMahon’s half-time replacement of Godden with Dean Rance may have raised a few eyebrows but it proved a masterstroke, with Stuart Lewis able to get in between Kissock and Parkes and give them a little more freedom to express themselves.

Fleet started the second half well and within five minutes were on level terms. An excellent display of passing football around the Stones box saw the ball continually blocked and cleared by the home defence but only as far as another yellow shirt and eventually a pass found its way through to Parkes inside the area and he slotted home the equaliser.

Lewis hit the post on the hour mark with a shot he didn’t seem to know too much about, as he caught Kedwell’s square pass while off balance and it looped against the woodwork. But Fleet weren’t kept out for long. Within a minute, Parkes surged into space from the left wing, crossed to Willmott on the right and his delivery into Kedwell was headed back across goal to loop over North and give Fleet the lead.

From that point on, Fleet sought to tire Wealdstone and, led by Kissock, enjoyed a spell of keep-ball across midfield as the visitors passed it around on the floor, the home side unable to get at the ball. Rance’s contribution was immense, with a flurry of headers won and attacks broken up, while Cunnington’s introduction for Kedwell kept the Stones defence on their toes and they had to be alert to a corner that Bonner met at the far post, which was headed clear from under the bar.

But the home side finished strongly, giving the Fleet a few semi-anxious moments in the final five minutes, not least when Louis twisted and turned and crossed for Shane Lucien who lashed it over the bar.

EUFC: Hall, Fish, Howe, S Lewis, Clark, Bonner, Godden (Rance 46), Parkes, Kedwell (Cunnington 75), Kissock, Willmott (Haynes 80). Subs: Miles, Acheampong, Rance
WFC: North, Bevans, Urquhart, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey,  Ball, Corcoran (Davies 73), Louis, Hutchinson (Calcutt 23), Hudson-Odoi (Lucien 73). Subs: Gore, Brown
Att: 764


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