Wealdstone 1 – 1 Chelmsford City
1 - 1
Wealdstone and Chelmsford City shared the spoils in a highly absorbing contest at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday with an early goal from Louie Theophanous and a second-half Joe White penalty. This result stretched Stones unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions.
Gordon Bartlett made one change to the side that beat Truro City with Ryan Sellers returning from injury in place of Nathan Mavila who dropped to the bench. Matty Whichelow and Elliot Benyon also returned to the match day squad on the subs bench.
A very strong looking, fourth-placed, Clarets flew out of the blocks and went ahead as early as the third minute when Theophanous unleashed an unstoppable low drive past Jonathan North from the edge of the area.
Theophanous then had a chance to double his tally inside ten minutes when Josh Hill squared a header across goal only for the striker to nod over the bar from close range.
Chelmsford keeper Ross Fitzsimons had little to do but was called into action midway through the first half, first denying Ricky Wellard excellent effort and then White’s follow-up from close range.
Stones keeper North then superbly denied Mark Haines’ bullet header, tipping it onto the crossbar before Wellard eventually cleared the danger.
The second half belonged far more to Wealdstone who showed more fluency and attacking intent with Crawley Town loanee Ariyan Tajbakhsh dominant in the midfield.
The home side were then awarded what had initially looked a harsh penalty but later video evidence seemed to give the referee little option but to award it. Wellard had a 20-yard goal bound shot deflected into Hill’s clearly flailing arm and referee Rob Massey-Ellis pointed to the spot. White confidently claimed the ball and calmly finished, tucking the penalty away to Fitzsimons’ bottom right.
Chelmsford rallied after the goal but were thwarted by Wealdstone’s in-form keeper. Substitute Shaun Jeffers had a deflected shot go straight into the path of Theophanous with the goal gaping but North somehow got down brilliantly to tip the strikers effort over the bar from point-blank range.
He then denied Jeffers a minute later after he turned Wes Parker to shoot, but North again got down low again to hold on to the strike.
North had time for one final impressive stop, tipping wide Robbie Willmott’s deflected free kick in the 90th minute.
The draw keeps Stones 7 points off the play-offs with eight games remaining but they dropped one place to ninth after Bath City’s victory .
WEALDSTONE: North, Parker, Brown (Wright 45), Sellers, Hamblin, Godfrey, Green, Cox, White (Benyon 84), Wellard, Tajbakhsh Subs not used: Whichelow, Mavila, McGleish
By Chris Woods