Wealdstone 1-2 Metropolitan Police
1 - 2
Wealdstone suffered heartbreak in extra time on Monday night, as they crashed out of the FA Cup to Metropolitan Police.
With the draw for the next round taking place earlier in the day, the winners of this match would face Hendon away, which Stones would have seen as a very winnable tie. If the truth be told though Wealdstone never really looked like winning this game once Met Police had cancelled out Chris O’leary’s first half opener.
There was just the one change in personnel from Saturdays 1-1 draw at Imber Court, with influential central defender Wes Parker missing out after suffering a nasty looking head injury, and Darren Locke stepping in to replace him.
It was the Locke’s first start of the season, and he had to be alert in the 3rd minute to block a shot from Met Police forward Craig Watkins, after a long throw had caused havoc in the Wealdstone box.
It was a nervy start from both sides, although Met Police were having the better of it constantly pressing Stones back inside their own half, they were unable to create any real clear cut chances.
Stones will perhaps feel aggrieved that Met Police weren’t down to 10 men mid way through the first half. Full back Elliot Taylor caught Greg Ngoyi with a nasty looking challenge when it looked like the former Northampton man was through on goal, however the referee deemed a booking to be sufficient punishment. From the resultant free kick Peter Dean’s goal bound effort was palmed onto the post by Police ‘keeper Mo Maan.
Wealdstone were now playing with more confidence, and Maan again came to the Police’s rescue two minutes later, rushing off his line to thwart Ngoyi.
Wealdstone did finally get the goal they’d been searching for five minutes before the break. Lee Chappell fired a corner to the front post, where Chris O’Leary managed to head the ball through a crowd of players for his first goal of the season. It wasn’t the prettiest goal you’ll ever see, but one that ensured Stones went in 1-0 up at the break.
The second half began with Stones looking to double their advantage, and they nearly delivered five minutes after the restart, with Greg Ngoyi side footing in from Forbes cross, however his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.
Despite Wealdstone’s early pressure, Met Police were beginning to play their way back into the game, and Jonathan North had to be alert on 61 minutes to keep out an effort from Watkins, saving well at the striker’s feet.
There was nothing the former Watford ‘keeper could do 8 minutes later though when Met Police grabbed a deserved equaliser. Stones failed to clear their lines from a corner, and central defender Steve Sutherland slammed the ball home following a scramble on the edge of the 6 yard box.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Wealdstone, and they found themselves sitting deeper and deeper. They were nearly punished on 82 minutes when James Field fired well over when in a good position.
It was a nervy last 10 minutes for Wealdstone, and they could have conceded a late goal on 89 minutes however Ron Edwards’ powerful header was expertly clawed away by North.
Hearts were in mouths again deep in injury time, when Field’s looping header dipped just over the crossbar. It was to be the last action of the 90 minutes, as the game headed into extra time.
Despite North’s heroics towards the end of normal time, he was powerless to stop Met Police taking the lead two minutes into extra time, when poor marking allowed Steve Sutherland to head in at the far post from a Met Police corner.
From this point on it appeared that Wealdstone’s legs had gone, with the two games in three days obviously having an effect on the side.
Former Wycombe Wanderers striker George Daly was introduced for the final 15 minutes, in what was his second appearance in a Wealdstone shirt, and although it was a welcome injection of pace upfront, he was unable to penetrate a resolute Met Police defence.
A hugely disappointing evening finished with a number of corners and long balls into the box for Wealdstone, however Met Police managed to knock everything away to safety,and run the clock down, to end Stone’s FA Cup run for another year.
Major surgery may now be on the agenda if Stones are to start to turn their dire season around and it may need to happen sooner rather than later as they enter the FA Trophy next Saturday with valuable prize money at stake once again.
Wealdstone: North, Forbes, Chappell (c), Locke, Massey, Brooks(Daly 115), Dean, Ngoyi, Cronin(Dyer 76), Lavers(E’Beyer 73). Subs not used: Pattison, Blennerhassett, Thomas