Biggleswade Town 2 - 1 Wealdstone
Updated: Dec 19, 2018
Wealdstone were knocked out of the FA Trophy this afternoon in extremely tough conditions. Joe White opened the scoring but Christian Smith responded within minutes from the penalty spot, before a late winner sent the Stones out.
Wealdstone were hit by several injuries and knocks this week, leaving manager Bobby Wilkinson with no choice but to recruit players from elsewhere. Striker and Colchester youth loanee Eoin McKeown started the match with two new additions on the bench in young Alexander Samizadeh and Polishman Pawel Kowalkowski. David Pratt was fit enough to start the game.
Losing full backs Rhys Tyler and Joe Payne to injury left no option in defence with Jake Sheppard and Jerome Okimo filling the positions, and early into the cup tie they had much to contend. Biggleswade tested Wealdstone with high balls into the 18-yard box and a free kick from late replacement Ben Walster.
Peter Clark stormed through on goal 11 minutes in to force the onrushing Jonathan North into a save. Amid the calls for offside, Biggleswade looked focused, but the conditions made it tough, the strong wind taking the resulting corner out for a goal kick.
Rain began to come down at Langford Road and Wealdstone struggled to pass the halfway line as Biggleswade pressed high. Matt Ball tested North once again with a free kick 25 yards out and a series of corners elapsed for Town. It was a serious case of weathering the storm for Stones who were under mass pressure in the first 20 minutes.
Half an hour into the game saw a moment of madness. Walster’s corner swung into the near post was flicked into the far post by former Stones player Joe White to put Town 1-0 up. Wealdstone sprung into reaction mode, Bradkey Hudson-Odoi cut inside and was brought down inside the box, only for Christian Smith to tuck away the penalty into the bottom right corner to level the scoring.
The two goals gave the game some leverage in terms of competitiveness, but the hammering rain didn’t do the playing surface any favours. Condition-wise, it was horrendous. But Stones finished the half the stronger side, Godfrey Poku saw a sight of an open goal with Biggleswade keeper Sam Donkin out of position, but Donkins somehow managed to flick his leg up to superbly tip the shot over the bar. Both sides level at half time in an increasingly intriguing cup tie.
Eoin McKeown had his first opportunity to make a mark on proceedings shortly after the interval. Chasing a ball in behind, he drilled his shot low across the keeper but it was two yards wide. The second half was a game for direct football and chasing lost causes to force mistakes.
It truly was anyone’s game with players struggling to stay on their feet in midfield, Sheppard slid through the pitch like a mudslide at one point. But danger-man Hudson-Odoi had a great chance on the hour mark, put through by Poku, sliding the ball across the face of goal for substitute Samizadeh who couldn’t turn in.
North had work to do immediately at the other end, keeping out Matt Ball’s fierce shot. End to end play gripped the spectators at Langford Road, approaching a 20-minute countdown. Biggleswade failed to make use of Connor Stevens over-committing and Samizadeh raced down the other end forcing Donkin to come to the rescue. Simon Mensah received the quick throw-in and was inches away from scoring a tremendous lob, the effort sailing just over the bar.
Town were waved away a penalty appeal after a challenge from Glenn Wilson and were incredibly close to scoring 13 minutes from time. Bradley Bell’s firm header was clawed away and Joe White’s low drive was saved, North was brilliant to keep the home side out.
The winner for Biggleswade was scored by a former Wealdstone player, Matt Ball. With a clear shot at goal dropping for him on the edge of the box, he slammed home leaving North helpless for sight through a distinct number of bodies. With only 5 minutes left in the match, Stones couldn’t find an equaliser.
Report by Sam Watts
Wealdstone: North, Sheppard, Okimo, Stevens, Wilson ,Poku, Mensah, Smith,Pratt, McKeown, Hudson-Odoi. Subs (used) Green, Samizadeh, Kowalkwoski,.(not used) Monakana & Regis
Geoff Smith pics HERE