Wealdstone 2 -1 Banbury Utd
2 - 1
After completely dominating the first half of this pulsating FA Cup tie at The Vale on Saturday, Wealdstone eventually only just edged out Banbury United with a dramatic late winner from substitute Sahr Kabba.
With a cracking atmosphere inside the ground it was the home side that took the tie by the scruff of the neck from the first whistle as they went on the attack. Ricky Wellard had the first chance after 5 minutes with a powerful strike that was well held by Jack Harding.
Stones piled forward with Omar Koroma constantly keeping the Puritans defence under pressure, but the away side rallied and played some good passing football but with little or no threat to Jonathan North.
Stones soon made the breakthrough with a superb diving header from Skipper Tom Hamblin, getting on the end of a delicious cross from Matt Whichelow after 11 minutes.
Wealdstone were pressing the life out of United, but as the half progressed it became clear that the midfield was overplaying the ball and subsequently, despite all the possession, they failed to build on their lead. United’s best and only chance of the half came from George Jeacock but Eddie Oshodi defended brilliantly to clear the danger.
The second period was an altogether different story as Stones inexplicably looked to reprise the previous weekend’s weaknesses as they went onto the back foot
The Puritans sensed an equaliser and it duly arrived on 56 minutes. North couldn’t hold the ball in the air from a set piece and in the scramble Ricky Johnson stabbed the ball home to the immense joy of their large travelling support.
Stones were visibly rocked as United now raced forward whenever the opportunity arose and the game became increasingly open. There was a further blow for Stones when playmaker Wellard hobbled off with a dodgy looking knee injury.
With the tie looking to go to a replay a piece of pure persistence on the right flank from Elliot Benyon created an unmissable chance for sub Kabba to smash the ball home from a wonderful ball into the box, taking his side into Monday’s 4th Qualifying Round draw.
Wealdstone: North, Urquhart, Brown, Oshodi, Hamblin, Wellard (Godfrey, 56), Cox, Green, Benyon, Whichelow (Kabba, 79), Koroma Subs not used: Williams, Hutchinson, Parker, Xanthos (GK)
Alan Palmer pictures HERE