Wealdstone 1 – 1 Sutton United
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Wealdstone’s determination and persistence to the end again paid dividends in what in truth was a dour struggle of a Boxing Day match at The Vale against a strong but currently under achieving Sutton United side. Substitute Matt Ball grabbed a late injury time equaliser after Stones had trailed from a first half own goal.
The start of the match was delayed due to a warm up injury to goalkeeper Jonathan North. The extra treatment time was well worth the wait as North went on to enjoy another fine performance.
Stones appeared to lack fluidity from the off and their new signing Jefferson Louis was replaced by Matt Ball after 31 minutes. Defensively, the home side remained solid and dealt with sporadic U’s attacks and looked comfortable until the visitors won a free kick outside the area seven minutes before the break. Former Stone Daniel Wishart took the kick which appeared to be diverted past North by Stones defender Carl Martin.
In the second period and now kicking up the slope in front of the festive 802 crowd Stones were struggling to find creativity through the midfield and getting their crosses in from out wide. But Sutton’s attacks also eventually wilted after they had tested North’s goalkeeping abilities to full on a couple of occasions mid half.
With all substitutes now in play, Scott McGleish and Richard Jolly starting to make a difference and the final ten minutes of the match saw Stones finally in the ascendancy and taking full attacking initiative. Dan Brown’s excellently struck free kick deceived United keeper Alan Julian but crashed off the cross bar and when the alert Tom Hamblin latched onto to the loose ball he shot narrowly wide.
With pressure building and with five minutes of added time signalled, Stones won a free kick in a decent position allowing the ball to be launched into the box. Julian spilled the ball under a challenge and from what looked like a lost cause, a great cross in to the danger area from Jolly enabled Matt Ball to lash the ball home to save the game and in the process gaining an extremely valuable point for his side.
Stones next match in their tough Holiday fixture line up is away at high flying Bromley on Sunday 28 December.
Wealdstone: North, Martin, Watts, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey, Lucien, Brown, Louis, Wright, Turner. Subs used: Ball, McGleish, Jolly. Not used: O’Nien, Malone (GK)
Steve Foster pics HERE