Wealdstone 1 – 2 Tiverton Town
1 - 2
Both sides did well to produce any constructive football at all in horrendous conditions of high winds and incessant driving rain throughout this very competitive FA Trophy tie at the Vale on Saturday.
Wealdstone battled bravely and fought back to draw level midway through the second half but a more composed, experienced and physically strong Tiverton side did just enough to grab a second goal against the run of play and progress into the next round.
Stones had drafted in Watford FC Academy youngster Marvin Sordell, 17, as they faced a striker injury crisis with inspirational Skipper James Gray also on the injured list. Sordell worked hard throughout but found the fast and physical nature of football at this level a tough lesson in his education. Nevertheless it was the home side that made all of the early running and they enjoyed the majority of possession, with Tivvy restricted to a few very hopeful long range efforts, as an alert Stones defence closed them down effectively.
With the wind and rain at their backs, Tiverton stung Stones on 27mins when defender Paul Jarvis struck an accurate low shot from outside the area that evaded home keeper Luke Woods to take his side into an unlikely lead. Stones fought back gradually and Alan Massey, having another excellent game, headed just over following a scramble in the box.
But Stones failure to hold the ball up was costing them the opportunity to create time and space for chances on goal as both Sordell and the on loan Gavin James, who had been given permission to play in this Trophy tie by Maidenhead, struggled in the physical battle with the big, solid looking Tivvy backline.
The second period saw the dreadful conditions deteriorate even further but Stones now had the advantage of playing down the slope with the driving wind in their favour. A David Hicks strike went just wide minutes into the half and Sordell broke free to put in a great cross from the left that went begging. It was the recalled midfielder Hicks that claimed the deserved equaliser for Stones on 58 minutes when his curling corner caused confusion in the Tiverton goal mouth and flew straight in.
Stones tails were now up and Gavin James shot just over as the deluge made a mockery of any kind of flowing football. But somehow Tiverton suddenly managed to break swiftly out of defence and caught Stones napping naively on the right as a cross came in for the otherwise well shackled Phil Walsh to place a good shot past Woods for what turned out to be the winning strike.
A flurry of substitutions for the home side increased their urgency but Stones also looked vulnerable to some sharp Tivvy breakaway attacks. Stones best chance to draw level came from a great strike from Ryan Ashe that was expertly tipped over by Steve Book. Even keeper Woods came up for a final charge from one of a series of late corners but Stones agonisingly slipped out of the Trophy for another season and also ended their recent much improved run of results.
Wealdstone: Woods, Martin, Chappell, Locke, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, James, Sordell, Hicks. Subs used: Montgomery, Clarke, Salapatas. N/u: McCoy, Thomas.