Croydon Athletic 2-2 Wealdstone
2 - 2
Wealdstone’s dismal away form continued on Wednesday night, as they were held to a disappointing draw by a spirited Croydon Athletic side.They were denied a much needed win ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Metropolitan Police by a brace from Croydon striker Reggie Savage, whose pace had caused the Wealdstone back line problems all night.
There was one change from the weekends defeat at home to Lowestoft, with winger Danny Spendlove being handed a first start of the season in place of Alex Dyer who dropped to the bench. Top scorer Scott Fitzgerald was once again missing with injury, so centre back Sean Cronin continued in his new found role upfront.
Wealdstone began the game looking confident, and could have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Peter Dean got on the end of a cross from Lee Chappell, however the midfielder could only fire the ball well wide with the goalkeeper bearing down on him. Dean had another chance five minutes later, when he fired into the side netting from the edge of the box after being found by a clever ball from Kieron Forbes.
Despite the early Wealdstone pressure, it was Croydon who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play in the 15th minute. Fullback Troy Oham-Strachan got beyond Lee Chappell on the right flank and fired the ball into the box, where Reggie Savage was able to rise unchallenged to head in from close range.
Wealdstone nearly levelled instantly, when Danny Spendlove jinked past two players on the edge of the Croydon penalty area, before firing in a low shot which was well saved by Simon Locke.
It was now end to end stuff, and Croydon almost doubled their lead on 25 minutes, when defender Tom Hughes’ towering header from a corner crashed off the crossbar.
Stones got the equaliser they were looking for two minutes later though, when the hard working Cronin cut inside from the left and hit a pinpoint cross for Greg Ngoyi to head home his 6th goal of the season.
Croydon were now on the back foot, and found themselves behind on 32 minutes when Spendlove took the ball past two players before threading the ball through to Peter Dean who finished smartly from the edge of the box.
Central defender Wes Parker had a great chance to add a third on the stroke of half time, when his header from a Lee Chappell corner produced a smart save from Locke.
Croydon began the 2nd half the brighter of the two teams, with Savage using his pace to good effect upfront, and nearly snatching an equaliser firing just wide after he’d worked his way into a good position.
New signing George Daly was handed his debut on 65 minutes, with the former Wycombe Wanderers man replacing Sean Cronin upfront. He was unable to make any real impact though, as Wealdstone’s sloppy play in the middle of the park meant they were constantly being put under pressure.
It looked like an equaliser had been coming, and it was no surprise when on 78 minutes Reggie Savage notched his second of the game with another header, after Wealdstone had failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Stones tried desperately to get a third goal in the last ten minutes, but Croydon defended well, and could even have stolen all three points in injury time, but Savage failed to connect with an acrobatic effort when well placed.
Wealdstone must now try to pick themselves up for a tough looking FA Cup tie away at unbeaten Metropolitan Police on Saturday, before beginning their FA Trophy campaign the following weekend.
Wealdstone: North, Forbes, Chappell, Parker, Massey, Brooks (Dyer),
Dean, O’Leary, Ngoyi, Cronin (Daly), Spendlove (E’Beyer). Subs not
used: Locke, Lavers