RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION 51
RICHARD Jolly took his season’s tally to 38 as Wealdstone eased to victory over basement boys Horsham on Monday night.
This was a game Stones turned down the chance to postpone, coming as it did between the two legs of their FA Trophy semi-final with Newport, in order to clear the suspension of Chris O’Leary, Connor Smith and Alan Massey for Saturday’s Wembley bid.
And Jolly’s latest brace and one from Wes Parker made sure there were no hiccups in the quest to keep on the coat tails of those targeting the end of season playoff lottery.
Coming just 48 hours after their Newport exertions it was no surprise Stones started slowly and 12 minutes had passed before Kurtney Brooks’ dipping shot forced Michael Hunter to tip over.
Horsham responded with a flurry of corners and came close to an opener themselves on 24 minutes when Yinka Salami’s angled ball gave Wayne Clarke a sight of goal, but Jonathan North was quickly out to block the shot.
Two minutes later Stones were ahead and it was that man Jolly again who broke the deadlock.
Scott Fitzgerald’s flick released Tom Pett to race to the right by-line and when he drove the ball across the box Jolly bundled it in.
Just two minutes later it was 2-0 as Parker rose highest to head in David Hicks’ free-kick.
Hunter denied Jolly a third Stones goal in five minutes with a diving stop after Salami’s header sold his team into trouble and soon afterwards Pett drove a stinging shot just wide.
The recent arrival from Potters Bar then rescued his side at the other end, clearing off the line after a corner cannoned off Parker.
And there were Horsham shouts for a penalty in first half stoppage time following Tommy Hoban’s last ditch tackle on Ray Freeman, but the official gave a corner.
Stones were more assured after the break and were inches from a third on 58 minutes as Scott McCubbins’ exquisite ball forward found the intelligent run of Jolly who lobbed Hunter only to see the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounce to safety.
The goal machine then turned provider with a cross from the right which David Hicks hit first time but narrowly wide.
It was not long before Jolly beat the offside trap again, but this time his driven cross was inches from the outstretched foot of Chappell.
With Horsham rocking the third had to come and on 65 minutes Pett slid the ball through for Jolly who lofted beyond Hunter and though the initial effort hit the post the striker followed up to score.
And to complete a very satisfactory night for the hosts, Alex Dyer made his first appearance since suffering a fractured foot in the Boxing Day derby with Harrow when he came off the bench for the final 20 minutes.