Wealdstone 1 – 1 Concord Rangers
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Wealdstone battled back from a goal down and a man down in a feisty encounter with resurgent Concord Rangers. Matty Whichelow marked his comeback from injury with an unstoppable 25-yard strike that cancelled out Taylor Miles’ 30-yard effort that was scored just five minutes after Aryan Tajbakhsh was controversially dismissed for an aerial challenge with James White.
In fact the game confusingly ended with a total of 10 yellow cards – 4 in the end for Stones – and a red.
Gordon Bartlett made one change to the starting eleven from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Beachboys’ Essex rivals Chelmsford City. Eddie Oshodi returned from suspension replacing the injured Ciaron Brown who recovered from Saturday’s knock to make the subs bench.
In a hugely frustrating first half for a flat and tired looking home side, it was Concord Rangers who had the majority of the play and the Stones didn’t mount any kind of sustained attack until going a goal behind and a man down.
The visitors almost took the lead eight minutes in, a cross from Lyle Della Verde took a goal-bound deflection off of Oshodi but Jonathan North’s quick reactions were enough to spare his former-Watford team-mate’s blushes.
Oshodi then produced a fantastic last-gasp sliding tackle to deny Jordan Chiedozie the easiest of goals after the ball was squared across the face of goal to him.
The Stones responded with their only meaningful chance of the first half, a long ball was played forward to Joe White, his shot was blocked by Bailey Vose who then managed to hold on to Ricky Wellard’s follow up strike.
The Beachboys almost took a deserved lead on the stroke of half time. Wealdstone had a corner cleared and were hit with a rapid counter attack which resulted in North smartly denying Della Verde.
Wealdstone perked up in the second half and Danny Green had a good chance after being played in by Wellard, but under pressure from Audrius Laucys, he shot over.
The game then took a turn in the 63rd minute, the visitors picked up six of the evenings 10 yellow cards but it was Tajbakhsh who saw red for the Stones jumping for a header with James White; Referee Matty Bounassisi stunned the crowd and just about everyone, deeming the Stones number 11 to have used an elbow in the jump.
Concord took immediate advantage; a cross was cleared to Miles who, under no pressure, unleashed a 30-yard shot past North going in off the far post. Just five minutes after going a man up, the Beachboys were now a goal up.
The visitors, happy with their lead, then took their foot off of the pedal and were content to defend their goal lead, instead playing on the break and this almost paid off when substitute Tony Stokes had a header tipped wide by North.
Bartlett then threw caution into the wind, introducing Whichelow and Elliot Benyon for Danny Green and Elliott Godfrey and this proved monumental in rescuing the point and saving Stones unbeaten run.
In a sudden frenzy of attacking football, Wes Parker headed over a Wellard corner that Whichelow had won. Then the midfielder marked his comeback from injury with a stunning goal. Oshodi did well to recover the ball after losing it, he then played it to Whichelow on the edge of the area who had time to pick his spot, blasting majestically past Vose into the top-right corner.
The momentum stayed with the home side who always looked the more likely to score again. Jonny Wright was introduced and almost won it on 89 minutes, but his header was deflected wide. Tom Hamblin also had a headed chance in the dying embers of the game but nodded the ball straight at Vose.
WEALDSTONE: North, Oshodi, Sellers, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey (Benyon 74), Green (Whichelow 68), Cox, White (Wright 87), Wellard, Tajbakhsh
By Chris Woods