Wealdstone 3-0 Gosport Borough
Gordon Bartlett was delighted his decision to play 4-4-2 paid off in style as Wealdstone triumphed against Gosport Borough.
The Stones have been playing with five in midfield but the manager elected to change it to counter the south coast club's diamond formation.
And it paid off as Matt Ball, Scott McGleish and Jefferson Louis all found the net in a comfortable win over the play-off chasing side.
Bartlett said: "We've been playing five across the middle of the park. They play a diamond and we decided to match them up and play two up front. We can look back and say thank god we did that."
Sometimes languid, at other times unplayable, Louis produced pace, power and even finesse to mastermind a win which gave lie to the idea aroused by previous back-to-back defeats Stones had gone on their holidays after reaching the safety of 42 points.
Louis made the first two goals before scoring the third, while one other effort hit an upright so hard had it been human it would have required a trip to A & E.
Bartlett added: "I never had any doubts about his ability. He can be inconsistent but, by god, he's a handful.
"All I can say is he's playing with a smile on his face. There's one or two things we'd like him to do better but I'm sure there are one or two things he'd like to do better.
"You can't ask for much more when he's given us so much. I don't think there's too many defenders who'd like to mark him. He loves a battle and he was in a war tonight and I think he won it."
Ringmaster he may have been, but Louis was not the only hero of the biggest home league win of the season.
Scott McGleish sparkled alongside him up front as the two men with a combined age of 77 regularly left visiting defenders in eight minds let alone two as to whether to get tight or drop off. For the most part by the time they had made that decision Louis and McGleish had long slipped away from them.
It was not all about the front two either. Tom Hamblin, the other change from Saturday's defeat at Havant was imperious at the back, while Wes Parker was in one of his 'you shall not pass kind of moods' and on the rare occassions Gosport got beyond the central defensive pair they found Jonathan North at his best.
Meanwhile in midfield Scott Davies showed his usual vision, while Matt Ball's first goal was crucial and Elliott Godfrey quietly did the ugly stuff to great effect so enabling those ahead of him to shine.
As so often this season the first five minutes defending the Bulla end in the first half were nervy with Gosport dominating possession, yet the sign of things to come soon followed as McGleish nicked in ahead of Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore following a free-kick only to poke the effort wide.
Gosport responded with a screamer of an effort from 25 yards by Dan Smith which flew inches wide with North helpless.
However, Stones were looking dangerous, launching quick counter-attacks which saw Parker and McGleish each head narrowly wide before a surging run from Davies set up Louis for an overhead kick which cleared the bar. The opening goal was not long coming.
Louis, who had already given one or two balls away with casual passes lost possession again amid murmurs from the Stones' faithful, but he atoned for the error to win the ball back and feed Matt Ball, who advanced before cutting inside his marker and firing into the bottom corner.
Gosport might have hit back when confusion between Luke O'Nien and Carl Martin allowed Mike Carter to advance and produce an effort North was forced to dive to palm behind, while Parker headed a dangerous free-kick over his own bar to preserve Stones'slender lead at the break.
Whatever was said in the away dressing-room at half-time Borough emerged strongly and within five minutes only the fingertips of North denied Justin Bennett a leveller. North was at his best again from the resulting corner, stopping skipper Sam Pearce's header almost on the line and he would also palm away Lee Wort's shot before the mini-seige was lifted.
The value of North's trio of stops was seen four minutes later when Stones doubled their advantage with Louis again the creator.
Showing good strength with his back to goal he turned a dinked a ball through which set McGleish in the clear, the 41-year-old showing all his experience to draw out keeper Ashmore and slot the ball home.
A last-ditch challenge be Ryan Watts on Wort denied Gosport the chance to reduce the arrears three minutes later before a moment of concern for Stones when Davies limped off with a foot injury.
The chances kept coming at both ends, North again doing well toalm away a low skidder from Bennett, whole O'Nien warmed the hands of Ashmore after more power and control by Louis.
By now Stones' front two were running the show and Louis soon slipped McGleish through again for what looked like a repeat of his earlier goal, but this time the veteran took too long allowing Ashmore to smother his eventual effort. The ball was recycled and Godfrey poked it home only for an assistant's flag to rule him offside.
Within a minute Stones threatened again when Ball escaped down the left and crossed for Louis whose volley smacked the inside of the base of the near post before squirming along the line and away. Subject to current rules on con ussion the upright will be fit to face Boreham Wood on Saturday.
Gosport kept battling, but their last chance to stage a late rally came and went when Wilde's delicious free-kick caused confusion only for Pearce's close range effort to bounce off the post and away to safety.
That narrow escape behind them Gordon Bartlett's side sealed the points with three minutes left and fittingly it was man of the match Louis who had the last laugh, making the most of some neat passing in midfield to race clear and cap possibly the best night at The Vale this season.
STONES: North, Martin, Watts, Parker, Hamblin (Hammond), Godfrey (Brown), O'Nien, Davies (Wright), McGleish, Louis, Ball
Subs not used: Jolly, Cronin.