Wealdstone left Westleigh Park last night feeling justifiably very hard done by after they were defeated 1-0 by Havant & Waterlooville, who moved four points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League South table.

Substitute Alfie Rutherford scored the only goal of the game nine minutes from time with, literally, the only chance the hosts created, as Wealdstone nullified the table toppers all evening.

Stones boss Bobby Wilkinson raised a few eyebrows with his team selection with many fans in the stadium feeling the team had one eye on Saturday's FA Trophy semi-final against Brackley Town; the performance, however, demonstrated that scenario couldn’t have been any further from the truth.

Debuts were handed to Reading loanee Jake Sheppard and second choice keeper Ravan Constable, while Stephane Ngamvoulou was also back in the starting line-up after his loan at Burgess Hill Town had came to an end. Jonathan North missed his first game of the season and Jerome Okimo and Bradley Bubb dropped to the bench, with Danny Green missing out completely due to injury.

With eight changes in total from the side that drew 2-2 at Braintree Town on Saturday, Wilkinson opted for a 3-4-3 formation which the hosts struggled to break down.

In fact, both teams spent much of the first half cancelling each other out, although the best chance of the opening period fell to debutant Sheppard who cut inside and hit a tame effort at Ryan Young from the edge of the box.

But the Stones upped the tempo in the second half and took the game to the hosts, with Dan Fitchett having strong penalty appeals waved away just seconds after the restart.

Sheppard’s 55th-minute free-kick was spilt by Young and fell kindly for Eddie Oshodi but he shot the rebound wide from a tight angle.

The term world class is often overused in football but Young's point-blank save to deny Mustafa Tiryaki heading in Sheppard’s crossing free-kick was just that.

The Stones striker put a trademark powerful header just yards away from the keeper and with the ball heading for the top corner the stopper reacted instantaneously and somehow tipped it onto the crossbar.

The Turkish forward had another chance to put his name on the scoresheet after Sam Cox's deflected effort caused pinball in the area, the ball bounced up but he struck it wide on the half volley.

But the Football gods were to conspire against Wealdstone in the 81st minute as Havant scored with their only effort on goal in the whole game.

Oshodi went down in the area with the referee waving appeals away, the Hawks broke up the other end and Wes Fogden's initial effort was well stopped by Constable but Rutherford followed it up to cue joyous celebrations in the home end.

Stones did have a response in injury time. Bubb’s cross was met by David Pratt at the front post but Young again made another save from close range to tip his header over the bar.

The visitors remain in 12th, just five points off the play-offs, but all attention now focuses to the FA Trophy semi-finals against Brackley Town, starting with Saturday’s away first leg.

Wealdstone: Constable, Sheppard, Sellers, Oshodi, Wilson (Okimo 50), Gayle, Ngamvoulou, Cox, Tiryaki (Bubb 77), Pratt, Fitchett. Subs not used: Day, Allen, Ogle.