- Nicole Cho-Yee
MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 2-2 Oldham Athletic
Updated: Mar 29
Wealdstone shared the spoils with a resolute Oldham Athletic side, despite producing a galvanised second half display at Grosvenor Vale.
A goal from Joe Nuttall was cancelled out by Olufela Olomola’s strike, Sonny-Blu Lo-Everton netted to edge the Stones ahead, but Joe Nuttall struck from the spot to ensure the thrilling contest ended all square.
Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that were beaten by local rivals Barnet on Saturday, withTarryn Allarakhia named to the starting line-up. Max Kretzschmar, returning from injury, and Ashley Charles, back from international duty with Grenada, also returned to the bench.
The Lactics registered the first effort of the match on the tenth minute mark when Bassala Sambou cut inside the box, but the striker could only fire his effort high and wide.
Wealdstone generated their own opportunity four minutes later as Lewis Simper latched onto the ball from the edge of the area;however the Cambridge United loanee’s half-volley was always rising over the crossbar.
The Stones looked like they had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Allarakhia’s effort fell to Corie Andrews, but Mark Kitching recovered with an excellent goal-line clearance to deny the Maynard’s side.
It was Oldham Athletic who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute as a fantastic ball from Mark Shelton split open the Wealdstone defence, allowing Nuttall to coolly convert past Sam Howes.
Four minutes later, the visitors nearly doubled their advantage, but Howes produced a fantastic double save to thwart the danger.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining, the Stones broke with a quick counter attack, releasing Andrews through on goal, but the forward opted to square the ball to Olomola and his effort was smartly blocked by a Lactics’ defender.
Moments later, Wealdstone came close to levelling when a pinpoint cross from Charles Clayden found Olomola, but his headed effort was well-held by Mathew Hudson in the visitors’ goal.
Howes was on hand again to produce another brilliant save from Nuttall in the 38th minute to ensure that the Stones did not go into half-time trailing further.
Maynard’s team talk at the interval paid dividends as a revived Stones returned for the second half with added impetus.
Within three minutes of the restart, the home side were on level terms through top goalscorer Olomola who surged into the box and clinically fired past Hudson to notch his ninth goal of the season.
Almost instantly, Andrews was played through on goal and had the opportunity to send Wealdstone into the lead, but he blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, as the Stones continued to play on the front-foot, Olomola was denied his second goal of the evening by a crucial tackle from skipper Liam Hogan.
In the 57th minute, Wealdstone finally completed their comeback with a beautiful team move that was fired home by substitute Lo-Everton at the far post.
However, the Stones’ lead was short-lived as Nuttall stepped up to convert his penalty from 12 yards past Howes in the 61st minute.
With 12 minutes remaining, Maynard’s energetic men continued to probe for a winner, as the lively Lo-Everton picked up the ball, turned and shot narrowly wide of the target.
Clayden was next to be involved in the home side’s late flurry, cutting inside and curling an effort just wide of the far post.
Two minutes before the stroke of regulation time, the Lactics nearly snatched a late winner as a looping corner from Ellis Chapman was headed towards goal, but captain Jack Cook produced a vital goal-line block to preserve the score line.
With five minutes stoppage time added, late drama ensued as Wealdstone pushed for a winner. Kretzschmar nearly provided that moment of magic, finding space to nod Olomola’s floating cross goal-bound at the near post, only to be denied by the gloves of Hudson.
Deep into added time, David Unsworth’s side nearly stole all three points at the death as a floated cross from Will Sutton found Mike Fondop, but the substitute’s looping header was directed just over the crossbar.
Wealdstone return to action on Saturday 1st April when they entertain Aldershot Town at the Vale in a 3pm kick off.
WEALDSTONE: Howes, Cook (c), Barker (Barrett 90), Habergham, Clayden, Simper, Ferguson, Allarakhia (Lo-Everton 45), Obiero, Olomola, Andrews (Kretzschmar 74).
Subs not used: Charles, Taylor.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
Winning 50/50 ticket: 07837