League leaders Wealdstone beat Slough Town 2-1 in their New Year’s Day’s top of the table clash, avenging their Boxing Day defeat and increasing their lead at the National League South summit.

First-half goals from Michee Efete and Ross Lafayette led the Stones to a vital victory, with Ryan Bird scoring the Rebels’ consolation.

The Stones made three changes from the side that defeated St Albans City last Saturday, with captain Jerome Okimo, top scorer Lafayette and midfield talisman Billy Clifford returning to the line-up.

Wealdstone started the match in superb fashion, taking the lead within two minutes of the first whistle as Michael Phillips switched the ball to Dennon Lewis on the right wing, he controlled and surged to the byline, setting up Efete, who clinically fired past Jack Turner.

The Rebels had a chance to level the match in the 13th minute, as the ball fell to an unmarked Warren Harris in the box, but his volleyed effort sailed wide.

Two minutes later, Wealdstone were close to doubling their advantage, as a cohesive exchange between the impressive Efete and Jack Jebb on the right wing, resulted in the latter forcing a solid save from Turner.

Slough were nearly able to reduce the deficit in the 28th minute, as Lee Togwell struck a powerful, deflected effort from the edge of the box, but Harry Isted reacted with a fine save.

As the Stones began to create more chances through their incisive play, they doubled their lead in superb style. Captain Okimo burst down the left wing and squared the ball impressively to top scorer Lafayette, who glided past his defender and coolly fired past Turner at the near post in the 29th minute.

Wealdstone continued to pose an attacking threat, as they dominated possession and utilised the channels effectively, with the energetic Lewis combining effortlessly with Efete and Okimo on both wings.

In the 35th minute, Okimo advanced down the left wing, finding Lewis, who threaded the ball through to Jacob Mendy in the area, but his effort rose over the crossbar.

The second half commenced in a similar vein for the Stones as they exhibited attacking football, and relentlessly pressed for a third goal to compound their lead.

In the 51st minute, Wealdstone were agonisingly close to increasing their advantage, as Mendy whipped in a teasing cross from the left wing, and Lafayette rose highest to flick the ball goal-bound, but the Rebels were able to deflect his header over the crossbar.

The Rebels continued to search for a way back into the match, but the Stones were resolute in their quest for a third goal, with Jebb and Lafayette linking-up well, enabling the latter to turn and fire an effort towards the target in the 66th minute, but the ball was always rising.

Isted was called upon in the 72nd minute, as substitute Ben Harris squared to Francis Amartey, but the Stones’ goalkeeper pulled off a solid save to preserve the score line.

Slough were thrown a lifeline in the 81st minute, as Bird leapt highest in the box to power a bullet header past Isted, and create a tense finale to the match.

Six minutes additional time was added, but the Stones demonstrated impressive game management to hold out and secure an important win.