Newport County 0 – 0 Wealdstone
0 - 0
A heroic defensive performance from Wealdstone in this FA Trophy clash at Newport Stadium ensured these two teams will meet again in a replay on Monday night (13 December, KO 7.45pm) at The Vale.
With some 54 league positions separating these two teams, few people would have given Stones much of a chance in this encounter, however backed as always by a superb away following who sung their hearts out throughout, they defended admirably for the 90 minutes and will believe they have every chance of causing an upset in the replay.
There was just one player unavailable for Wealdstone, with central defender Wes Parker missing out with flu. With Parker missing, it meant there was an opportunity for the hero of the previous round, Sean Cronin to step in at centre back and play in front of his home town
And, once again, it was a Wealdstone stopper that took the plaudits in this competition – this time Jonathan North played an absolute blinder for his team
With Wealdstone lining up with a defensive 4-5-1 formation, it was County who had the better of the early exchanges, and Stones keeper Jonathan North had to be quick off his line in the 8th minute to thwart Craig Reid as he bore down on goal.
Stones then had their first chance of the afternoon three minutes later, when skipper Lee Chappell’s ball to the edge of the box was poked goalwards by Alex Dyer, however the effort failed to trouble Glyn Thompson in the County goal.
The Exiles then began to press forward, with Ben Gill making a great challenge on Darryl Knights as the former Ipswich Town forward was about to shoot, and then captain Gary Warren heading straight at North when well placed.
The lively Craig Reid then had another good chance to break the deadlock on 21 minutes when a quick counter attack resulted in him bearing down on goal.The 24 year old managed to loft the ball over the onrushing North, however it dropped just wide of the far post.
Wealdstone had their best chance of the half on the 25 minute mark. James Hammond played the ball inside to Kieron Forbes who took a touch before drilling in a powerful low effort from the edge of the box which was palmed away for a corner by Thompson.
County then had perhaps their best chance of the half straight after. Knights got down the left flank and pulled the ball back to Ben Wright whose powerful effort from 12 yards was met by a truly breath taking save from North as he someho got up into the top corner to
claw the ball away.
From the resultant corner the home side thought they had taken the lead as Chris Todd bundled the ball home from close range, however the effort was ruled out as Todd was adjudged to have used his hand to force the ball over the line.
Having missed the earlier chance Ben Wright had a chance to make amends, however he could only volley the ball into the side netting when unmarked.
Wealdstone did manage to force a few corners as the clock ticked nearer to half time, however they were dealt with by the home defence, and the sides went in level at the break.
Stones made their first change of the game on 52 minutes, with Kurtney Brooks replacing James Hammond in a move which saw Gill move back into right back, and Brooks playing in the centre of midfield. Sam Deering was also replaced by Sam Foley for the home side, as they looked to break down a resilient Stones back line led superbly by centre half Alan Massey.
Foley was in the thick of the action straight away, when a long ball down the left saw him hauled back by Ben Gill, resulting in the first booking of the afternoon. The resultant free kick saw Jamie Collins head the ball just wide.
Foley was involved again three minutes later, turning smartly inside the box and firing just wide.
Stones had their first chance of the half soon after. A Lee Chappell long throw found Alan Massey, who flicked a header just wide of the far post.
Gordon Bartlett then made a second change on 65 minutes, with front man Greg Ngoyi replaying Ben Gill, which meant that Kieron Forbes dropped back to right back in an effort to deal with County’s pace down the left hand side.
The home side were becoming increasingly frustrated as they pushed forward looking for a goal. They had a great chance on 76 minutes when Chris Todd’s powerful header from a Danny Rose corner was superbly blocked by North.
With The Exiles pushing forward, they were leaving gaps at the back, and they were nearly punished when substitute Kurtney Brooks threaded a great through ball to Alex Dyer who carried the ball goalwards and dragged a shot just wide of the far post.
Having been earlier been denied by a great stop from North, Chris Todd had another chance in the final minutes. He once again met a Danny Rose corner with a powerful header, which was brilliantly saved at point blank range from North.
There was a flurry of late corners for the home side as they looked to avoid a replay, however they were shut out by Wealdstone’s solid defending, and most certainly won’t be looking forward to Monday nights replay at The Vale.
Attendance: 1070 (200 Wealdstone)
Wealdstone: North, Hammond (Brooks 52), Chappell (c), Cronin, Massey, Dyer, Dean (Lavers 90), O’Leary, Gill (Ngoyi 65), Forbes, Spendlove.
Subs not used: Fitzgerald, Carter.
Match Stats Summary:
Stones Corners: 4
Newport Corners: 8
Stones shots on/off target: 1/5
Newport shots on/off target: 6/8
By Stuart Warren