Concord Rangers 1 – 2 Wealdstone
1 - 2
Wealdstone committed a classic smash and grab raid in Essex on Saturday, the win moving them back up the Ryman Premier table a couple of places but more significantly keeping them within 10 points of the play-off zone with a game in hand.
And with the huge FA Trophy game looming next Saturday at The Vale this victory will provide further reassurance and confidence that Stones can be resilient defensibly as well as being capable of playing inventive attacking football
Stones game plan prior to kick-off was disrupted as they were denied the combative midfield presence of Chris O’Leary as he fell ill during the warm up. Watford loanee striker Britt Assombalonga opened his account in the first half, but the winner came from the mercurial Richard Jolly whose spectacular goal bound strike 8 minutes from time, somewhat churlishly recorded as an own goal by home officials, broke the Beachboys hearts
This was never going to be an afternoon for pretty football played on the ground and so it proved with Stones defence being tested to the full from an aerial bombardment but eventually coming out on top with great rearguard performances. Skipper Wes Parker, Alan Massey – who was named man-of-match by Concord – and keeper Jonathan North were all outstanding and
effectively prevented Concord’s dominance being converted into goals in a highly competitive clash.
The home side worked hard and took the game to Stones early doors with some decent attacking moves. But a defensive mix-up between the Beachboys stopper Andy Young and Ryan Tafazolli allowed the razor sharp Richard Jolly to seize the ball and feed strike partner Britt Assombalonga who tapped gratefully into an empty net.
The home side responded by carving out a number of chances, keeping Stones under pressure with high balls rained into the box. They eventually drew level on 28 minutes when a goal-line scramble allowed Tony Stokes to get a headed last touch off the post.
Concord had their tails up and had their best spell but squandered further chances to take the lead – particularly when Sherwin Stanley fired just over and then Harry Elmes came within inches from another good cross into the box.
The host’s dominance of midfield possession continued after the interval but Massey and co were in no mood to allow a breakthrough. And when Stokes for the home side finally did powerfully strike for goal, Jonathan North brought off a truly outstanding point blank save.
But Stones grabbed the winner soon after they had brought on three substitutes to liven up their play. From an Assombalonga cross Jolly fired superbly past Young from 18 yards and will rightly claim the goal to add to his impressive tally this
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, McCubbin, Hicks, Dyer, Brooks, Ahamed, Jolly, Assombalonga. Subs: Fitzgerald (used), O’Leary, Adjei, Smith (used), Cronin (used)