Match Report – Wealdstone 2 – 2 Wingate & Finchley
2 - 2
Stones were denied a guaranteed place in the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy after they were held by 10-man Wingate & Finchley in a fiery 2-2 draw at Grosvenor Vale.
A late penalty from Steve Wales cancelled out Elliot Benyon’s earlier spot kick and an own goal from Rob Laney after the Stones battled hard to get back in front when Laney had headed the visitors into a first half lead on 39 minutes.
Sean Cronin saw red against his old club on the 80th minute as the two sides will reacquaint on Tuesday at Summers Lane for the replay.
Gordon Bartlett made four changes to the side with Danny Green, Omar Koroma, Ciaron Brown and Sam Cox replacing Matthew Whichelow, Jonny Wright, Josh McLeod-Urquhart and Elliott Godfrey.
Strange circumstances prompted Bartlett to make two late changes after Wright and Liam Goulding were injury victims of the pre-match warm-up, throwing his plans into a hasty rethink. McLeod-Urquhart returned to the starting line-up promoting Sahr Kabba and Scott McGleish to the subs bench.
The visitors took the lead in a lacklustre first half when an unmarked Laney glanced a header past Jonathan North from a lofted Wales free-kick.
Cronin almost doubled his sides lead on the stroke of half time after narrowly heading over from another Wales free-kick.
Bartlett got a swift reaction from his side when Omar Koroma won a penalty just seconds after half time when bundled over by two visiting defenders which Benyon expertly dispatched past Shane Gore.
The Stones upped the intensity in the second half and struck the woodwork on the 74th minute after Green’s 30-yard free-kick came off the crossbar.
Tempers flared throughout the second half with the referee brandishing a number of cards. The main casualty was Cronin, picking up two quick-fire bookings, both for challenges on Koroma.
From the following free-kick Wealdstone took the lead. David Hunt crossed in the free-kick that was headed into his own net by Laney under pressure from Koroma.
But history proves that Wingate & Finchley are determined opposition and they won a penalty on 86 minutes. Laney capitalised on a McLeod-Urquhart slip before being upended by Brown in the box. Wales sent North the wrong way from the spot kick to force Tuesday’s replay.
WEALDSTONE: North, Sheckleford, Brown, McLeod-Urquhart, Oshodi, Hunt (c), Freeman, Cox, Benyon, Koroma, Green Unused subs: Wellard, Godfrey, Kabba, Hamblin, McGleish
By Chris Woods