East Thurrock Utd 1 – 1 Wealdstone
1 - 1
Wealdstone ended their National League South campaign with a 1-1 draw away to East Thurrock United maintaining their fine record of only one defeat in their previous 20 outings. Joe White’s goal just before half time cancelled out Kye Ruel’s opener and the Stones left Rookery Hill rueing missed chances as White saw a second half penalty saved by Lukas Lidakevicius.
In a patchy first half it was the home side that had the majority of the few chances created. Jonathan North did very well to tip Sam Higgins’ effort wide of the post just five minutes in, and was even more fortunate with the referee awarding a goal kick afterward.
White had a good chance to open the scoring after 23 minutes after seeing his header tipped wide by the alert Lidakevicius after a Tom Hamblin knock down. Ciaron Brown also had an effort cleared off the line from the resulting corner.
On 34 minutes the hosts took a surprising lead. Higgins showed nous and creativity after taking a quick free-kick, where he somehow put in a perfectly placed and timed cross to Ruel through Ryan Sellers’ legs who was stood right in front of the striker. The ball caught the Stones completely wrong footed and Ruel placed the easiest of finishes past North.
Stones rallied and replied just 11 minutes later. Matty Whichelow played the ball to Sam Cox on the edge of the area. The midfielder looked as if he was teeing up a shot but instead threaded an excellent through ball to White who slotted past Lidakevicius.
The Rocks top scorer Tom Wraight had a great chance to put the hosts in a second half lead after turning Hamblin, but with just North to beat he blazed an effort wildly over the bar.
On 55 minutes Wealdstone won a penalty. Dan Fitchett turned Ryan Sammons in the box and was then tripped by the right-back. White stepped up to take but his effort was the perfect height for Lidakevicius who saved it with some ease, capping a fine performance for his side.
Ricky Wellard and Elliot Benyon were soon introduced and Wellard had a fantastic opportunity to win the match late on. He went on a mazy run beating two defenders and with just Lidakevicius to beat he smashed an effort into the side-netting when he should have rolled the ball to a team mate.
The result left the Stones finishing in eighth place, their highest placing since promotion and they can now look forward to a County Cup Final on Bank Holiday Monday (May 1) versus Ashford Town. This match will be played at Hanwell Town FC and kicks off at 7.30pm.
WEALDSTONE: North, Oshodi, Sellers, Brown, Hamblin, Green, Wright (Benyon 71), Cox, Fitchett (Wellard 71), White, Whichelow Subs not used: Parker, Hunt, Godfrey
By Chris Woods
East Thurrock United 1-1 Wealdstone
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