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  • Nicole Cho-Yee

Report: Debut goal and penalty controversy as Wealdstone are edged out by Wood

Wealdstone were narrowly edged by promotion-pushing Boreham Wood in a thrilling contest at Grosvenor Vale.

Following a goalless first 45 minutes, an action-packed second half saw strikes from Tyrone Marsh and Josh Rees put the visitors in a commanding position. The Stones looked dead and buried but following a raft of substitutions, including the introduction of new signings Simeon Akinola and Micah Obiero, they staged a stirring last 20 minutes.

Akinola scored on his debut, came agonisingly close to netting an equaliser, Olufela Olomola and Nathan Ferguson went close from long range while manager Stuart Maynard was furious the Stones weren't awarded a penalty for what seemed a blatant foul of Olomola.

Stuart Maynard made two changes to the side that lost to Solihull Moors on Tuesday evening as Mason Barrett and Alex Dyer replaced the injured Jack Cook and the suspended Ashley Charles in the starting line-up. New signings Giovanni McGregor, Akinola and Obiero were all named to the bench.

The hosts started the match on the front foot, threatening to score within the first minute when Ferguson chested the ball down and volleyed just wide of the target.

Seven minutes later, the visitors came close to scoring when former Wealdstone winger Dennon Lewis combined well with forward Tyrone Marsh on the left wing, before surging into the box and firing into the side netting from a tight angle.

As the first half progressed, the Wood continued to create opportunities, testing the Stones’ shot-stopper on the 17th minute mark when Lewis delivered a pinpoint cross into the box for Marsh, but Sam Howes was equal to the effort.

Wealdstone began to demonstrate some fluid attacking football during the latter stages of the half, but were unable to properly test Nathan Ashmore in the Boreham Wood goal.

Before the interval, the best chance fell to Femi Ilesanmi whose header from Zak Brunt’s delivery was heading towards the bottom corner, but Howes responded with a superb save to deny the Wood from taking the lead.

Luke Garrard’s side broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when Danny Newton produced some excellent work down the left flank, before squaring the ball to Rees, who smartly converted home past Howes from close range.

The Wood then doubled their advantage in the 61st minute when Marsh slotted home the rebound after Howes brilliantly saved the number ten’s penalty. He took the spot kick having been brought down in the box by David Sesay.

Moments later, and with nothing to lose, Olomola nearly scored a stunning goal – rifling a powerful long range strike from distance, only to be denied by the woodwork.

As the second half progressed, the Stones grew further in confidence and rallied to reduce the deficit, with Maynard rolling the dice with three attacking substitutes in debutants McGregor, Akinola and Obiero.

These changes proved fruitful as the home side pegged back a goal with ten minutes remaining as a dangerous cross from Mason Barrett was headed home by Akinola.

Wealdstone were relentless in their pursuit for an equaliser, mounting continuous waves of attacks in the final stages.

With five minutes remaining, there were strong appeals from Wealdstone for a penalty when Olomola was wrestled over in the box, but referee Aaron Bannister waved them away.

A minute later, at the death, super-sub Akinola nearly rescued a point when he directed a header narrowly wide of the post.

After six additional minutes, and the Stones laying siege to the goal at the bottom end, the Wood held firm to secure all three points.

Wealdstone return to action on Saturday when they travel to Meadow Park to face Boreham Wood in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round fixture at 3pm.

Howes, Sesay, (Obiero 76), Barrett, Elerewe, Habergham, Hutchinson, Ferguson, Dyer (McGregor 66), Allarakhia (Akinola 70), Olomola, Browne.

Subs not used: Kinsella, Mundle-Smith.


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