Match Report – Maidenhead United 2 -2 Wealdstone
2 - 2
Despite a much improved all round team performance on Saturday, Stones will have left York Road feeling as though they could and should have won this absorbing and hard fought FA Trophy tie.
The Magpies had defender Ryan Upward dismissed in the 39th minute for an awful studs-up challenge on Stones’ Elliott Godfrey, and, despite almost total dominance in the second half, the away side couldn’t turn their possession into a third and decisive goal that would have ensured safe passage into the First Round Proper of the competition in Monday’s draw.
Although pre match odds didn’t favour Wealdstone against league table topping rivals Maidenhead United, Stones more than matched and often clearly bettered Maidenhead throughout a contest played out in nigh on perfect footballing conditions.
Stones played with two up front with Johnny Wright partnering Elliot Benyon; Sam Cox was unable to play with his recent nose operation ruling out the tenacious midfielder
The away side began brightly with Ryheem Sheckleford showing up really well in a right wide position and his pace created Stones first corner in the 4th minute. Wright then had space to fire a strike at Carl Pentney’s goal but his fierce effort was charged down.
The hosts hit back, playing with some greater fluency with former Stone Kieron Forbes probing around in the midfield. Another ex Wealdstone man, James Mulley almost nipped in but the chance came and went with Eddie Oshodi closing down with pace and athleticism.
Despite Wealdstone’s more stuttering attacks they were undoubtedly finding space with the Magpies formation suiting them but they were finding it problematic exploiting the opportunities presented.
Matty Whichelow was guilty of a woefully off target hit after he did brilliantly well in finding the space but he got his angles wrong after 26 minutes.
Jon North was then almost embarrassed with a weak clearance and he was almost lobbed from just inside the half way line but the effort just clipped the upright.
Stones best chance to open the scoring came soon after. A teasing cross from Godfrey eluded the Magpies defence and Benyon had the simplest of chances to head home but his diving effort went flying way over to Pentney’s relief.
But Stones increasing possession finally paid off on the half hour mark. David Hunt took a corner and Oshodi rose highest at the far post to plant the ball into the net.
But, typical of Stones fortunes of late, the lead only lasted a mere 4 minutes. A poor clearance allowed a quick counter attack down the right and the cross was fired in by Sam Barratt
The contest’s complexion changed yet again before the break when Upward was shown a red card that few of his team mates had complaints about.
The second period started as it pretty much continued with Wealdstone, now playing down the slope, in almost total possession but with the ball was continually being played in front of the box with few, if any, defence splitting passes for Benyon or Wright to get hold of.
Play was laboured but gradually the away side’s embarrassment of possession began to look more threatening. Ciaron Brown’s superb cross went begging, and then Wright flashed a shot just wide. Benyon was then upended just outside the box but Whichelow’s free kick was pawed away by Pentney.
It was all Wealdstone now and surely something had to give. And it did on 68 minutes. Whichelow turned really well and his cross found Wright who gleefully guided the ball past the keeper for 2-1.
With the away support screaming for a third, they almost got it when the lively Whichelow’s hit was deflected wide.
But the game changed yet again with some clever tactical play by Magpies Manager Alan Devonshire. With a throw of the dice he brought on all three of his substitutes and immediately his side looked fresher and able to counter more effectively from the onslaught.
With 9 minutes to go the home side equalised on the break with sub Harry Pritchard firing past North for a sickening leveller with a questions being asked defensively yet again.
Stones continued to press with late sub Ricky Wellard prominent but they couldn’t muster a killer third that their dominance deserved, despite a late, late free kick.
It’s now back to The Vale on Tuesday evening, KO 7.45PM, for a thrilling looking replay with Wealdstone needing to throw off the shackles of their indifferent home form.
Wealdstone: North, Urquhart, Brown, Goulding, Oshodi, Hunt, Sheckleford, Godfrey, Benyon, Wright, Whichelow. Subs used: Koroma, Green, Wellard. Not used: Hamblin, Kabba.
Alan Palmer pictures HERE
Ronnie Raffle pictures HERE
Match Highlights from FCVideo – Here