Leatherhead 1 – 1 Wealdstone
1 - 1
Wealdstone had to settle for a share of the spoils on Saturday as a disappointing second half performance saw them concede a late equaliser to struggling Leatherhead.
Coming off the back of last weekend’s resounding 5-0 victory over Uxbridge in the FA Trophy, Stones went into this tie full of confidence and took an early lead through Richard Jolly, however they began to sit deeper and deeper during a tight second half and were eventually undone 5 minutes from time when Tommy Hutchings well taken strike saw him rescue a point for The
There were two changes from the Uxbridge game with Kurtney Brooks coming in to replace the suspended Alex Dyer in the centre of midfield, and also Nikki Ahamed replacing Peter Dean who was on the bench. The home side almost got off to a perfect start within 30 seconds at a freezing Fetcham Grove when Tommy Hutchings unleashed a pot shot from 20 yards which skimmed off the surface before rebounding off the post. The loose ball then came back to the feet of the striker but his follow up effort was straight at Jonathan North, much to the relief of his team mates.
After surviving the early scare, Stones took the lead with just four minutes on the clock. Britt Assombalonga was given space to turn before drilling a cross cum shot across the face of goal which found Richard Jolly six yards out who made no mistake slamming the ball home for his 23rd goal of the season.
Wealdstone continued to press forward following the goal, and defender Sean Cronin came close to extending his sides lead with a header which flew just wide following a cross from Nikki Ahamed.
Leatherhead were being let down by their play in the final third early on and Kevin Terry should have done better on the 20 minute mark, when after a jinking run into the box he could only drag his shot hopelessly wide.
Terry tried his luck again a few minutes later, this time creating space for himself outside the box before firing over. Leatherhead ‘keeper Chico Ramos then came to his sides rescue eight minutes before half time, doing well to palm away Chris O’Leary’s close range header following a cross from Jolly.
After the frantic start to the first half, the second half began in a much more cagey fashion with the first effort of note not coming until the hour mark when Greg Andrews lashed a powerful effort straight at North in the Wealdstone goal.
Jolly then had a decent chance for the visitors at the other end three minutes later when Assombalonga’s shot was deflected into the path of the striker, however his effort lacked the pace and direction to beat Ramos.
As the half wore on Wealdstone found themselves being pushed further and further back as the home side desperately searched for an equaliser.
The Tanners got their reward in the 83rd minute when captain Mark Simmons lofted a great ball into the box which found an unmarked Tommy Hutchings who volleyed the ball home from close range.
The goal gave Leatherhead a seemingly huge confidence boost, and they could have quite easily snatched all three points late on. Jonathan North produced an outstanding save to deny Terry, diving full stretch to palm away the strikers powerful effort.
Vernon Francis then had two great chances in the dying moments, first of all inexplicably heading wide from 10 yards out when
unmarked, and then prodding the ball wide from close range whilst under pressure from Massey following a great ball from Simmons.
Wealdstone were able to hang on for a point though in what had been a disappointing afternoon for the Stones who face Tooting & Mitcham at home on Monday night, 7:45 kick off.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, Cronin, Brooks, (Hicks 64), Ahamed (McCubbin 64), O’Leary, Smith, Jolly, Assombalonga (Dean 85). Subs not used: Adjei, Fitzgerald
By Stuart Warren