Report – Wealdstone 1 – 0 Wingate & Finchley
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Wealdstone slugged out a 1-0 victory over Bostik Premier League side Wingate & Finchley with ex-Stone Sean Cronin scoring an own goal for his current side to put his former employers in the FA Trophy Second Round draw.
Bobby Wilkinson made five changes to the side that lost to Concord Rangers last week, with most of them enforced. Glenn Wilson, Sam Cox, Ricky Wellard, Ryan Sellers and Harry Goodger, who was making his first start, came in for Taofiq Olomowewe, Jerome Okimo, Luke Williams, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick and Dan Fitchett.
The tie was a repeat of last year’s first round, with Cronin sent off against Wealdstone in a 2-2 draw at The Vale. The Stones needed an extra time replay win to go through last year and this year’s game was just as even, with both sides mostly restricted to shots from range.
Although Wealdstone almost took the lead inside ten seconds after Abo Eisa’s penetrative run played in Sellers, he rounded Shane Gore but his final touch was too heavy and went out of play.
Jonathan North was the busiest of the two keepers in the first half, denying Reece Beckles-Richards and Luke Ifil with two smart stops.
Sellers almost grabbed a goal against his former side when his 35-yard strike ricocheted off of Ahmet Rifat, but luckily for Wingate, Gore was alert to tip over.
On 50 minutes the Stones lead, Eisa beat two defenders on the left before cutting inside and smashing a low cross off of Cronin and into his own net.
Neither side had any more killer chances until injury time. A ball was played into the box to Cronin before he expertly laid it off for Marc Charles-Smith but he shot wide when it was probably easier to hit the target and send the tie into a replay.
Skipper-for-the-day Danny Green almost put the tie to bed afterward but Gore reacted well to tip wide.
The draw for the 2nd Round will be broadcast live on talkSPORT on Monday at 13:00. Meanwhile, the Stones are back in league action on Saturday for the visit of rivals St Albans City.
WEALDSTONE: North, Oshodi, Brown, Wilson, Day, Wellard (Ngamvoulou 62), Sellers, Cox, Goodger (Benyon 71), Green, Eisa. Subs not used: Olomowewe, Hippolyte-Patrick, Fitchett.
Report By Chris Woods
Steve Foster pictures HERE