Hemel Hempstead Town 1 – 1 Wealdstone
1 - 1
A seriously depleted Wealdstone side did themselves proud at Vauxhall Road on Tuesday evening with a very solid battling display, earning themselves a deserved point and they could have taken all three with a bit of luck and better finishing.
Left back Ryan Parsons had been rapidly drafted in as cover for the unavailable Ryan Watts and James Hammond was slotted into a centre back role with Sean Cronin and Wes Parker both also not available. Parsons acquitted himself well throughout as did the whole team who were under considerable pressure in a rumbustious atmosphere but roared on by 250 Stones fans.
Tuesday’s game started in much the same way as the abandoned game with Hemel taking an early lead through Dennis Oli, who broke clear down the right and smashed the ball past Jonathan North in the Stones goal with only three minutes gone. The signs were ominous but there was not to be the defensive capitulation of the first game
The Tudors had the better of the first period overall, as in the previous two encounters, but strong defending and excellent goalkeeping kept them at bay.
The dangerous James Potton had two shots blocked by defenders and then Oliver Hawkins met a cross but his header was well saved by an alert North.
Wealdstone’s first attack in earnest saw Jefferson Louis break clear but with only Walker to beat but he dragged his shot agonisingly wide due to a bobble on the difficult surface.
The impressive Potton had a header and a shot saved, Zane Banton played a quick one-two with Oli but delayed his shot and North was able to parry it away, with Hawkins putting the loose ball wide.
Oli then made a chance for himself with a powerful run into the box but he slipped at the vital moment and North saved again.
Wealdstone skipper Tom Hamblin was then given room just six yards out; he got on the end of a good cross from the left but managed to put his header over the bar..
In the second period Stones visibly stepped up the pace and almost drew level straight away when Louis fired in a long range effort that just cleared Walkers crossbar.
Nathan Mavila, Stones loanee from West Ham, made a great run down the left, driving the ball across the face of the goal, but Jordan Parkes was able to tidy up and clear after a scramble in the six yard box.
Walker’s first real save of note came when he had to deal with a deflected shot and as the away side spurned further reasonable chances to equalise.
Up the other end, Hemel finally forced a corner which Parkes curled in under the crossbar in amongst a crowd of players. North rose to collect the ball but his momentum appeared to force him backwards over his own goal line. Some Tudors fans thought the referee had given the goal, but he decided North had been fouled and it remained 1-0.
On 71 minutes, the lively Mavila was brought down by Ed Asafu-Adjaye just by the left hand touchline. The resulting free-kick was superbly fired into the box by Scott Davies and was met by Jonny Wright who rose unmarked to powerfully head home the equaliser that Stones pressure derserved.
Stones fell back a little after the relief of the leveller but their defence held out for the point
Team: North, Martin,Hammond, Hamblin, Parsons, Corcoran, O’Nien, Brown, Louis, Davies, Mavila. Subs McGleish, Lucien, Wright, Malone (N/U) & Watts(N/U)
Steve Foster pics HERE