Potters Bar Town 1- 3 Wealdstone
1 - 3
Wealdstone made sure of a place in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy with their first away victory of the season. Scott Fitzgerlald’s spectacular late strike on Saturday had earned Stones this replay against Ryman League Division 1 North Side Potters Bar, and Stones made no mistake at the second time of asking with a result which they hope will kick start their faltering season.
There were a number of changes from Saturday’s eventful 2-2 draw, most notably Scott Fitzgerald making way for recent signing George Daly upfront, with the former Wycombe man making his first start for Stones. Elsewhere Louis Lavers dropped to left back, and captain Lee Chappell slotted in at right back, meaning that Kieron Forbes could be pushed further forward. The other change was Greg Ngoyi dropping to the bench, and winger Danny Spendlove replacing him.
Wealdstone were playing a different formation from recent weeks, lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Peter Dean, Kieron Forbes and Danny Spendlove supporting lone striker George Daly, and from the outset the pace and direct running of Spendlove and Forbes was causing all sorts of problems for the Potters Bar backline. It was the trickery of Spendlove which nearly created the first opening 10 minutes in, when his clever dummy presented Lee Chappell with a great chance to cross, however the Wealdstone captain could only fire the ball into the arms of Shane MacWeeney.
Stones did get the first goal five minutes later though, when Chappell’s deep cross was met at the back post by Forbes, who unselfishly headed back across goal for George Daly to slide in and net his first goal in a Wealdstone shirt.
The goal gave Stones a massive confidence boost, and they doubled their lead on 23 minutes, when the impressive Spendlove took the ball past two players before firing in a 25 yard right foot shot, which took a deflection and wrong footed MacWeeney in the Potters Bar goal.
Potters Bar seemed unable to deal with the pace and crisp passing of Wealdstone, and they could have found themselves further behind on 30 minutes when Peter Deans header from a Lee Chappell cross went just wide of the post.
A swift passing move on 38 minutes saw another chance go begging, as Chris O’Leary’s drive from the edge of the box went agonisingly close, after some good work from Peter Dean
Despite Wealdstone’s dominance, they only went in at the break with a 2 goal lead, and they will perhaps feel aggrieved not to have been further ahead.
The second half began in a much different manner to the first, with Potters Bar having a lot of possession as they looked for a way back into the tie. Wealdstone ‘keeper Jonathan North had to be alert just two minutes after the restart, saving well at the feet of Jake Parrott, before Chris Doyle fired a shot from distance straight at the former Watford man.
North made another smart save on 55 minutes when he blocked a powerful effort from Louis Collins at his near post.
Potters Bar got the goal they had been searching for on 62 minutes when Jake Parrot volleyed in from close range, after Wealdstone had failed to clear a corner properly.
Wealdstone fans must have been slightly worried at this point, however Chris O’Leary settled any nerves 15 minutes from the end, when he looped a header over the stranded MacWeeney to give Stones a two goal cushion.
After O’Leary’s goal, you could sense that Potters Bar felt the tie was over, and despite one decent effort from substitute David Larhishi which North again saved well, Stones were able to see out the remainder of the game quite comfortably, to set up a tough looking away trip to Kingstonian in the next round.
Before that though, Stones will be looking to get their league form back on track, with a home game against basement side Maidstone United.
Wealdstone: North, Lavers, Chappell, Locke, Massey, Dyer, Dean, O’Leary, Daly, Forbes, Spendlove