Billericay Town 0 – 0 Wealdstone
0 - 0
Wealdstone returned from Essex with a hard earned point on Saturday, when a strong performance saw them hold powerful league leaders
With Scott Fitzgerald having picked up a hamstring strain in Tuesday night’s FA Trophy replay win over Margate, there was a return to the side for Peter Dean who partnered Richard Jolly up front. There was also a recall to the side for Scott McCubbin, who replaced David Hicks in the starting line-up, as Wealdstone looked to continue their impressive recent form.
The early minutes were a tight affair at the New Lodge, as both sides struggled to create any clear openings on a boggy pitch, with Billericay’s Sam Berry having the only effort of note in the first 20 minutes when he drilled a free kick wide from 25 yards. The home side then had two penalty shouts turned down in quick succession. First, Jonathan North fumbled a long range effort from Benson Kpaka, and in his attempts to gather the loose ball there were appeals that the former Watford ‘keeper had fouled David Knight, then three minutes later there was a shout for handball after Scott McCubbin had bravely blocked Paul Semakulal’s powerful shot, however in both instances the referee rightly waved play on.
Billericay were now beginning to pen Wealdstone back inside their own half, and Chris Wild was next to go close, heading just wide following a good delivery from a Sam Berry free kick. Stones could have taken the lead with their first real effort on goal ten minutes before half time. Lee Chappell surged down the left hand side before driving in a cross which was met by Richard Jolly with a looping header which agonisingly bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Jolly’s effort seemed to give Wealdstone a lift, and some neat passing football saw them twice come close to unlocking the Billericay backline, with Alex Dyer threading a neat pass through to Jolly who just took the ball too wide as he bored down on goal. Jolly then turned provider with a great forward pass to McCubbin who poked a shot over the bar from close range.
North then had to be at his absolute best on two occasions just before half time. First, Jay May mishit a shot into the path of Richard Knight who looked certain to score from close range, however the former Watford stopper showed great reflexes to save the strikers effort with his feet. North then excelled again one minute later, this time denying May with an outstretched foot to ensure that the sides went in level at half time.
Half time brought about much confusion, as when the teams were due out for the re-start there was an announcement that the game had been abandoned due to a problem with the floodlights. The fault was however soon rectified and the game eventually continued, albeit with a potentially disruptive 15minute delay.
Wealdstone began the second half the stronger of the two teams, and they hit the crossbar twice within a couple of minutes. Kurtney Brooks saw his cross from the right hand side deceive Billericay goalkeeper Dale Brightly and bounce off the frame of the goal and away to safety. The woodwork then came to his rescue again as David Hicks let fly with a superb dipping left footed volley from 25 yards which crashed off the bar with Brightly well beaten.
Billericay looked to respond, and their captain Rob Swaine came close just before the hour with a curling effort from the edge of the box which flew just past the post. Wealdstone were at this point looking the more likely of the two sides to break the deadlock, and Sean Cronin saw his audacious overhead kick fly over the bar following a David Hicks corner in the 65th minute. They then opted to make an attacking change, with Nikki Ahamed coming on in place of Scott McCubbin. The substitution nearly worked a treat, as a few minutes after coming on the former
The home side found themselves on top in the closing stages as they desperately sought a winner, with Craig Edwards guilty of missing a decent chance, heading over from close range before May flashed an effort across the face of goal.
There was one more chance for Billericay in injury time with Wild heading over from a corner when well placed, however neither side had been able to find an elusive winner and had to settle for a point in what had been a hard fought and very entertaining encounter.
Next up for Wealdstone is a Middlesex Senior Cup game at Ashford Town (Middx) on Tuesday evening, with Canvey Island the visitors to The Vale in the league next Saturday.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey (Hicks 33), Parker (c), Cronin, Dyer, McCubbin (Ahamed 67), Brooks, Dean, Jolly, Chappell. Subs not used: Spendlove, Adjei