Oldham Athletic make consecutive trips in the Vanarama National League for the first time since August when they visit Wealdstone on matchday 13.
Latics 2-1 win at Kidderminster in midweek was their first win on the road this season and their third consecutive victory which was the first time Oldham have done so since April towards the back end of the 2022/23 season.
Steve Thompson’s side were made to work for the three points however, the hosts dominated the opening exchanges of the first half, with Liam Hogan heading Oldham’s only chance during that period wide.
Devarn Green meanwhile continued his good form with a superb effort from 25 yards which came against the run of play to put the visitors in front, before Bailey Hobson minutes post the hour mark side footed a neat first-time finish to give the hosts an equaliser.
The Harriers were dealt a huge blow when Alex Reid off the bench arrived on cue to tap home the rebound following a strong save to steal a vital three points in Latics bid to remain in touch with the pack chasing those coveted play-off spots.
Oldham however may travel to Wealdstone without midfielder Dan Gardner after he was forced off early with an injury, meaning Mark Shelton is likely to come into the centre alongside Nathan Sheron.
Sam Bowen’s well-placed effort that trickled past Will Jaaskelainen in the Woking goal was enough to secure an important win for a Wealdstone side that had gone three fixtures without victory.
Jed Ward played a crucial role in the win by making some crucial stops to preserve his sides lead, whilst Sean Adarkwa and Corie Andrews both failed to double Wealdstone’s lead.
The win over Woking was surely a timely one for Stuart Maynard and his side who had suffered consecutive defeats prior to Dorking Wanderers and Chesterfield, but a return to Grosvenor Lane swung their fortunes around.
Bowen’s strike saw Wealdstone remain unbeaten in their last three at home, whilst all four of their wins this campaign have come when they have been the hosts in the National League.
Maynard’s side have a terrific record when on their home turf this season, winning four from their six played so far. The record is only beaten by league leaders Chesterfield and third placed Barnet, in which the Stones boss will be looking to use as an advantage on Saturday.
They have meanwhile won seven points in their last five fixtures, which despite a slight blip in form was more than what they managed in their previous five before that (4).
Their recent win also marked a defensive feat for the first time this campaign. It saw Wealdstone secure their first clean sheet in a win and their third overall, something Maynard will be looking to build on ahead of the meeting with Oldham.
The Stones are also well in the midfield mix in the early stages of this season, a group that separates sixth place Hartlepool and sixteenth place Ebbsfleet by just six points, whilst Wealdstone sit just a point behind Latics ahead of an important fixture.
24-year-old midfielder Luke Dreher could be match fit to make his first appearance of the season at the weekend after missing out on the opening to the new campaign with a fractured arm that he sustained in pre-season.
Maynard will also be hoping top scorer Tahvon Campbell will be available after missing out on the last three. The forward has scored five times in nine appearances, including a brace to win the game against Ebbsfleet, but has been out since the injury he sustained in the following fixture against Altrincham.
Campbell’s absence has certainly left a hole at the front end of the pitch, more so at home with Bowen’s effort in midweek the only goal in the last two at Grosvenor Lane.
The win however would have certainly boosted spirits and confidence, particularly when in the final third of the pitch where the onus lies on the more creative and forward-thinking players, which are just two ways to describe Abdul Abdulmalik.
On loan from Millwall’s U21 side, Abdulmalik showed just how threatening he can be to an opposing backline against Woking. The forward tricky and direct, which gave the defenders a lot to deal with in such a tightly contested fixture.
The forward does like to drift wide left, using that explosive burst of acceleration that makes it almost impossible to halt his movement onto his right foot and getting a shot away, which was so effective against Woking on numerous occasions.
Coupled with a vicious strike, Abdulmalik is a potent forward with many dangerous attributes that can hurt any defensive line, meanwhile Oldham will hope they can stop him getting his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season.
In the hot seat
Stones boss Maynard is young in managerial terms with his current role at Wealdstone the first of his career. The 42-year-old initially began as assistant, first to Bobby Wilkinson followed by now Barnet manager Dean Brennan.
He succeeded Brennan in February 2021 and helped guide the club to safety by just six points at the end of the 20/21 season in the National League.
Maynard has seen steady progress during his 126 games in charge of Wealdstone. His first full season at the club in the 21/22 campaign saw the Englishman steer the Stones to a 16th place finish whilst comfortably avoiding relegation.
And though specific numbers and statistics did come down the following season, Maynard certainly got a more consistent results out of his side, improving to a respectable thirteenth in the National League in just his second full season as boss.
Complete trust has clearly been given to Maynard after providing steady progress year on year, but he will be expected to produce more improvement this season following a solid start to their 23/24 campaign.
The Wealdstone manager will certainly be pushing his players to the limit this season, and though those play-off positions are well in reach, consistency will be needed to take this side from promotion hopefuls to promotion candidates.
The referee for this one will be Callum Walchester, who will be joined by Richard Wharton and Matthew Fletcher. The fourth official is James Hall.
Match coverage and information
Live audio commentary is available on Latics Player, guiding you through the match.
As this game is being played within the blocked broadcast hours stipulated by UEFA, live streaming will not be available through National League TV for supporters in the UK. The game will be available overseas.
Alternatively, supporters can also follow the game with live updates on the club's official Twitter account: @OfficialOAFC