Wealdstone 1 – 1 Billericay Town
1 - 1
Wealdstone warmed up for one of the biggest two weeks in the club’s recent history with a point against league leaders Billericay Town.
With the FA Trophy semi finals to come over the next two weekends Stones were looking for a win as they look to keep themselves in the play-off hunt, and things looked promising after a decent first half showing in which they had had two efforts cleared off the line. The home side then found themselves pegged back in the second half against a big, physical Billericay side, who despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession were unable to hurt Stones.
Connor Smith withdrew late from the starting line-up due to illness and was replaced by Tom Pett.
Playing in front of a crowd of 617, Wealdstone were handed the perfect start on three minutes when the prolific Richard Jolly showed great skill to turn following a flick on by Kurtney Brooks before slotting the ball under the advancing Billericay ‘keeper Dale Brightly for his 35th goal of the season.
The lead lasted for just four minutes though as Billericay hit straight back. Sam Berry’s cross cum shot found Glenn Poole at the far post with Jonathan North doing well to keep out the former Brentford winger’s first effort; however he was powerless to stop him putting in the rebound.
Some great play then saw Stones almost regain the lead, with Peter Dean’s raking pass finding Lee Chappell on the left hand side who in turn delivered the ball to the far post which just missed the outstretched foot of the onrushing Jolly.
It certainly was end to end stuff in the opening 20 minutes, and Town striker Jay May was unlucky to see his superb overhead kick crash off the underside of the crossbar from Poole’s lofted free kick.
Chappell came close to grabbing a second for his side, when after Billericay could only clear a corner to the edge of the box, the midfielder lashed a low effort at goal which was blocked on the line by Richard Halle.
Peter Dean then tried his luck from distance eight minutes before the break, curling an effort from 20 yards which Brightly did well to hang onto.
Only some superb defending from Dave Collis stopped Wealdstone from taking a half time lead when after Chappell’s long throw could only be cleared as far as Kurtney Brooks on the edge of the box, with the tenacious midfielder heading the ball towards goal with Brightly in no man’s land. It looked destined for the back of the net until Collis somehow managed to head it away for a corner.
Billericay began the second half on top with Harrison Chatting seeing his effort from an acute angle deflected behind, before North tipped over Chris Wild’s flicked header.
Wild came even closer in the 53rd minute, meeting a corner with a powerful header which North did brilliantly to block.
The visitors continued to dominate proceedings in terms of possession, however they were consistently being let down by the quality of their final ball into the box.
Dave Collis curled a free kick over for Town on 72 minutes before there was a heart in mouth moment for the home side late on. Chatting got down the left flank and drilled the ball across where it somehow missed the onrushing Billericay players and Stones were able to clear to safety.
With two minutes left on the clock Stones had their best chance of the half with Brooks finding Chappell with a ball to the back post, with the winger just failing to make a decent connection with his header.
Wealdstone can now look forward to a Middlesex Senior Cup semi final on Tuesday night away at North Greenford United, before they travel to Newport County on Saturday for the first leg of their mouth watering FA Trophy semi final.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker (c), Sterling, Brooks, Pett (Hicks 76), O’Leary, Dean (Fitzgerald 82), Jolly, Chappell. Subs not used: Smith, Cronin, Hoban.
By Stuart Warren