Wealdstone 1 – 1 Carshalton Atletic
1 - 1
Wealdstone couldn’t build on their excellent Boxing Day performance and had to settle for a solitary point in their final game of 2011 after a frustrating afternoon against Carshalton Athletic at The Vale on Saturday.
Stones almost got the perfect start with just 30 seconds on the clock when Scott Fitzgerald, starting in place of Peter Dean, showed great strength to hold off a defender before threading the ball through to Richard Jolly. The hotshot striker flashed the ball across the box where the covering David Ray just managed to beat the onrushing Britt Assombalonga to the ball.
It was a lightning start from the home side, and Assombalonga came close again just a minute later, seeing his towering back
post header from a Kurtney Brooks free kick well saved by Nick Hamann in the Carshalton goal.
After the early chances for Stones, the pace of the game then slowed with neither side able to create any real chances in the opening 25 minutes, as the ball was consistently caught up in the midfield areas. Watford loanee Connor Smith had the next chance of the afternoon on 27 minutes, drilling a shot just over from 25 yards, before Wes Parker got his outstretched foot to a Lee Chappell free kick, however unfortunately for him he could only turn the ball into the outside of the net.
Stones did take the lead on 35 minutes. A trademark long throw from Chappell caused mayhem in the Carshalton box; Wes Parker got to a loose ball and was impeded by a Carshalton defender. The referee had no option but to point immediately to the spot. Fitzgerald stepped up and coolly sent Hamann the wrong way to put his side in front.
Carshalton seemed unable to deal with the threat of Chappell’s long throws and a minute after the goal he tried again; this time
Jolly saw his volley deflected wide from the full back’s delivery. The visitors then had a chance to claw themselves level on
the stroke of half time when prolific striker Paul Vines should have done better with a free header 10 yards out; his effort ending up straight in the hands of Jonathan North.
Much like the opening minutes of the first half, Assombalonga nearly got his side off to the perfect start in the second period,
firing just wide from close range following a clever pull back from Fitzgerald. At the other end, James Hammond had to be alert to block a powerful effort from Vines as the visitors, playing some effective possession football, looked to find a way back into the match.
The second half certainly looked it was going to be a livelier affair than the first and Jolly came within inches of extending his
side’s lead on the 55 minute mark, heading just wide from a Fitzgerald cross.Both sides were now creating chances and Tom Davis hit a great free kick from 25 yards which flew just wide of the post. The visitors increasing pressure finally brought them reward and they grabbed an equaliser on 62 minutes. Substitute Laurent Hamici had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when he cut in down the right hand side and squared the ball to Paul Vines who made no mistake blasting home from close
Wealdstone now found them selves pressed back and Billy Crook was unlucky to see his volley from the edge of the box eflected just wide on 70 minutes. One minute later, Luke Pigden hit a free kick from an acute angle which bounced off the top of the crossbar and away to safety emphasising the Robins ascendancy.
But Wealdstone began to create a few chances of their own in the final ten minutes, with Hamann getting down well to save a cross – shot from Chappell before David Ray headed a long throw just wide of his own post. Chappell then had a great chance with five minutes left to play, heading just wide following a pin point cross from Kurtney Brooks.
With four minutes of added time signalled, Stones made a late charge and carved out three chances in an attempt to claim all the points; first Assombalonga hit a powerful effort which Hamman did well to palm away, but Jolly couldn’t get on the end of the loose ball. Then substitute Peter Dean missed a glorious chance after Richard Jolly had intelligently back heeled the ball into the striker’s path; his effort from inside the box lacked the power or direction to beat Hamman.
David Hicks was last to go close with just seconds remaining, firing over from inside the box after he had done well to create
space for himself.
It was to be the last action of a frustrating afternoon for Stones, who travel to Wingate & Finchley on holiday Monday, 3pm kick off.
Despite a number of bookings for Wealdstone during the match the good news was that defender Alan Massey avoided the eferee’s book and will now be available for selection for the big FA Trophy clash with Barrow in two weeks.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Chappell, Parker (с), Massey, Brooks (McCubbin 87), Smith, O’Leary (Hicks 69), Fitzgerald (Dean 69), Jolly, Assombalonga. Subs not used: Dyer, Poniskaitis
Man of the Match: Alan Massey
By Stuart Warren