Wealdstone 1-1 Harrow Borough
1 - 1
Wealdstone were able to put a dent in local rivals Harrow Borough’s promotion bid on Easter Monday as they earned a point in their final home game of the season. A season best crowd of 765 were kept on their toes throughout this eagerly awaited derby clash.
Captain Lee Chappell led by example, grabbing a first half goal to maintain his habit of scoring against Borough, who later equalised through a controversial Rocky Baptiste penalty. Both sides then had chances to take all three points late in the second half, but in the end the rivals had to settle for a point apiece.
Backed by a vocal home support, Wealdstone got off to the best possible start when after eight minutes a flowing move involving Nikki Ahamed and Alex Dyer resulted in the latter playing in Chappell who made no mistake slotting home from inside the box.
Stones had certainly started the better of the two sides, and Harrow’s Kwasi Frempong did well to recover on 16 minutes, when it looked like his miskick had put Peter Dean in.
Harrow then had a penalty shout turned down when after Sean Cronin had gifted possession to Harrow, Rocky Baptiste went down in the box under a challenge from Wes Parker, however fortunately for Stones the referee waved play on.
It was now end to end stuff, and after Dyer had fired just over for Stones, Ryan Watts came close at the other end, seeing his close range effort fly agonisingly wide.
Harrow ended the half pushing Wealdstone back in search of an equaliser, with Dewayne Clarke looking particularly dangerous down the right hand side for the visitors.
Despite a flurry of corners late in the half, Wealdstone were able to defend stubbornly and take a precious one goal lead into the break.
After the superb start to the first half, things couldn’t have been worse at the start of the second for Stones, as just three minutes into the half Kurtney Brooks appeared to haul down Kurt Morlese in the box. An incensed Brooks protested long and loud at the decision and was duly booked. Rocky Baptiste stepped up to take the spot kick and fired straight down the middle past North to level the scores.
Baptiste’s penalty had certainly given the visitors a lift, and Morlese came close on 58 minutes, firing just wide from the edge of the box.
In a bid to change things, Gordon Bartlett replaced Denzil Conteh with Joe Benjamin just before the hour mark in an effort to add more muscle and ball holding ability up front.
Benjamin was soon in the thick of the action, going down under a challenge from Tobi Jinadu in the box, however despite a loud appeal from the Stones fans behind the goal, no penalty was given.
With ten minutes to play Harrow were presented with a glorious chance to snatch the lead when the ever dangerous Baptiste found himself through on goal following a hopeful punt up field. Despite holding off the challenge of Cronin, the experienced forward was denied by a great block from the on rushing North.
At the other end Alex Dyer came close to carving out a chance for himself after a clever interchange with Benjamin, however he just overran the ball as both sides looked to grab a late winner.
Central defender Sean Cronin was next to go close, heading narrowly wide of the far post following a Lee Chappell corner.
Harrow then had perhaps there best chance to take all three points with just two minutes to play. Some good work from David Ijaha saw Ryan Watts presented with the chance to cross. His pinpoint pass then found Baptiste in a great position however he fluffed his lines by hopelessly miskicking the ball.
Next up for Stones is their final league game of the season away to Bury Town on Saturday, before they play Hanworth Villa in the Middlesex Charity Cup final on Monday 2nd May at Church Road, kick off 7.30pm.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, Cronin, Dyer, Ahamed (Adjei 70), Brooks, Conteh (Benjamin 59), Dean, Chappell (c). Subs not used: Leggett, Locke, P. Martin
By Stuart Warren