Wealdstone 2 Wingate & Finchley 2 (aet Wingate and Finchley win 5-3 on penalties)
3-5(P) (AET:2 - 2)
Wealdstone crashed out of this year’s Championship Manager Cup on penalties at a freezing Grosvenor Vale on Monday night. In what was an open game with a changed line-up, Stones will perhaps feel they had enough chances to win the game, particularly in extra time where only some smart saves from Wingate keeper Gavin King denied them. It wasn’t to be however, and Wingate went on to take the game 5-3 on penalties after Alex Dyer saw his penalty saved by King. Wealdstone started the brighter of the two sides and could have been ahead after just five minutes when Peter Dean fired straight at King after a clever interchange with Kieron Forbes. The visitors also had a good chance to take the lead on 18 minutes when Lewis Jones’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected over the bar via a Wealdstone defender. Having scored twice in the last two games, Wealdstone’s Danny Spendlove is obviously a player full of confidence at the moment, and this showed on 25 minutes as the tricky winger followed up a jinking run with a shot that flew just past the post. Spendlove was involved again two minutes later as his neat pass found Forbes who dragged a shot just wide of the far post from the edge of the box. There was a new face in the Stones line up in the shape of right back Nicky Ahmed, and the youngster formerly with the Chelsea FC Academy was showing some good form down the right hand side, doing particularly well on the half hour mark, finding Spendlove with a cross which he fired just over the bar. The second half began in exactly the same fashion as the first, with some neat play between Forbes and Dean resulting in the latter firing straight at King who palmed the ball away for a corner. As the half went on Wingate & Finchley grew in confidence, and only a great goal line clearance from Ahmed denied Ahmet Rifat after Lewis Jones had unselfishly squared the ball when through on goal. Rifat made no mistake on 80 minutes though, as he slammed the ball home from close range after Jones had seen his effort cleared off the line. With three minutes of normal time remaining a piece of brilliance from Kieron Forbes ensured that the game went to extra time. The former Watford man curled in a sublime left footed shot from 25 yards which had King beaten all ends up, after some good work from Peter Dean.Forbes even had a chance to win it two minutes later, but his close range effort was met with a good one handed save from King. As extra time began Wingate had a chance early on when Sam Leggett had to be alert to palm away an effort from Gary Burrell after a clever back heel from Jones. Wealdstone then had the ball in the net on 103 minutes, when substitute Martin Carter bundled home from close range after King had spilled a shot from another sub, 18 year old George Fierstone, however he was adjudged to have been offside. Carter did put Stones ahead a minute later, firing in off the underside of the crossbar from close range after King had again failed to hold a shot from Kurtney Brooks.Wingate didn’t give up though, and they were able to pull it back to 2-2 on 108 minutes when Smith slotted underneath Leggett after a pull back from Burrell. Stones looked to respond immediately, with Brooks seeing his shot well saved, and then Ahmed firing just wide. Both sides then had chances to win it later on, with Sloma hitting the bar from distance for the visitors, and then Carter seeing his chipped effort dip just over for the home side. With the teams unable to be separated after 120 minutes, it then went to penalties, where Dean, Cronin and Carter all scored for Stones, however Dyer saw his effort saved by King which meant that it’s Wingate who advance to the next round. It’s now back to the league for Stones as they face Aveley at The Vale on Saturday in a 3pm kick off. Wealdstone: Leggett, Ahmed, Lavers, Yorke (Massey 46), Cronin, Dyer, Dean, Gill (Carter 82), Brooks, Forbes, Spendlove (Fierstone 70). Subs not used: North, Chappell.
By Stuart Warren