Wealdstone 2 – 1 Bognor Regis Town
2 - 1
Wealdstone have done it! In a frenzy of excitement and drama on Saturday, Stones moved into the First Round Proper of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time since 2009.
This was a typically rip-roaring Cup tie full of excitement and incident with both sets of fans boisterously cheering on their respective teams throughout the contest. But it was a memorable and truly heroic man of the match performance from ‘keeper Jonathan North that will make the headlines.
North spectacularly saved two well taken penalty kicks from the Rocks star player Jason Prior who also won both spot kicks, being controversially brought down in each half.
After early midfield sparring the Rocks generally held the ascendancy in the first period, playing some neat controlled football that we were told to expect. But Stones still had most of the chances in a tense first half including a Jefferson Louis header that was held by away keeper Grant Smith and a thunderbolt effort from Matt Ball that smashed off the crossbar. North’s first penalty save one minute from the end of the half, after Hamblin bundled over Jason Prior was not only incredible but would also prove pivotal
Stones upped the tempo after the turnaround and dramatically took the lead on 54 minutes. Bradley Hudson-Odoi broke free down the left flank having been freed by Scott Davies, cut in, and brilliantly shot past Smith to signal mayhem in the packed Bulla Stand.
The shocked away side dropped back losing their focus and paid the price. From a cheaply won corner, an unmarked Tom Hamblin powered home a bullet header to double Wealdstone’s lead seven minutes later.
Stones defended their two goal cushion with the superb but crucial aid of North’s penalty heroics. The tie ended nervously for Stones after the Rocks midfielder Chad Field rifled home a deserved goal a minute from normal time.
Stones faced five minutes of added time but held on via another brick wall defensive display to see the tie out and record a memorable Cup victory.
Wealdstone will now go into the hat for the First Round Proper drawn live on BBC 2 at 7pm on Monday night.
Wealdstone: North, Urquhart, Binns, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey, Lucien (Duffy 80), Davies, Louis (McGleish 89), Hudson-Odoi (Wright 70). Not used: Corcoran, Hutchinson, Markus, Dutton (GK)
Steve Foster Pics HERE
By Nick DuGard