Wealdstone 2 – 2 Poole Town
2 - 2
In front of a record Non League Day attendance of 1,003 at The Vale, Wealdstone were pegged back twice in a match that got better as the contest progressed, ending breathlessly.
After an even but scrappy start, Stones started to get the better of Poole’s direct style with some skilful midfield play and effective pressing. Johnny Wright went close with a far post header from the speedy Omar Koroma on 19 minutes as the home side found more space.
The home side deservedly took the lead 4 minutes later when from a corner, Eddie Oshodi powered a header in, and from the loose ball, Elliot Benyon forced home on the line.
Stones now looked in almost complete control with some dynamic play through the middle with Danny Green and Matt Whichelow outstanding.
Poole came back with some solid play and Tom Hamblin cleared a corner under pressure
But, totally against the run of play, Wealdstone were rocked 4 minutes before the break when Hamblin was penalised for a leg out on Luke Roberts and Steve Devlin sent North the wrong way from the spot kick.
Stones went on the attack from the restart and had several excellent chances to regain the lead. Koroma, Green and Benyon all went close in a period of dominance but accuracy of strike was missing.
Conditions now worsened with heavy driving rain sweeping across The Vale but both sides ploughed on looking to gain the ascendancy.
Debutant Sam Cox came on for Wright as Wealdstone sought the winner. Koroma blasted at Nick Hutchings who was well placed to palm away as the Dolphins countered when they break out.
Sub Sam Surridge shot tamely as North collected and it looked increasingly like Poole had run out of ideas to break down Stones powerful and alert defending, typified by Hamlin’s strength at the back line winning everything in the air.
Stones finally got the goal they were looking for on 69 minutes. The ball fell loose with Hutchings exposed and the lurking Benyon snapped up his 6th goal of the campaign.
The home side again had myriad chances to consolidate their lead but Whichelow blazed over twice with a gilt edged chance falling to Koroma who headed wide from a delicious Danny Green cross
But with the clock showing 90 minutes, Dolphins persistence paid off.
Under pressure, North could only half punch away a last ditch corner and from outside the box Luke Burbidge hit a volleyed screamer for a highly unlikely leveller.
Despite the entertainment on view, at the end of the match it was perhaps very understandable that a frustrated Gordon Bartlett said: ‘This feels more like a defeat and the players are similarly gutted’
Wealdstone: North, Smith, Urquhart, Oshodi, Hamblin, Godfrey, Whichelow, Green, Benyon, Koroma, Wright (Cox, 60) Subs not used: Hutchinson, Williams, Kabba, Brown
Alan Palmer pictures HERE