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  • Nicole Cho-Yee

REPORT | Wealdstone 0-1 Eastleigh

Updated: Apr 17

Wealdstone came up agonisingly short against Eastleigh, conceding a late fortuitous goal to lose 1-0 at Grosvenor Vale and leave survival down to the final match of the season.

An 88th minute free-kick from Spitfires’ captain Chris Maguire robbed the Stones of a vital point, allowing Kelvin Davis’ in-form men to steal victory at the death.

Coming off of the back of a heavy fixture load, interim manager Sam Cox made six changes to the side that beat champions Chesterfield on Saturday. Nathan Ferguson, Jack Young, Aaron Henry and Sean Adarkwa all returned to the starting line-up, while Charlie Barker was named skipper.

The Spitfires were presented with the first chance of the match in the third minute of play, winning a free-kick in a dangerous area, which set-piece specialist Maguire curled just over the crossbar.

Wealdstone responded instantly, galvanising a scoring opportunity as Kallum Cesay whipped a teasing ball into the box that Joe McDonnell could only parry, but Eastleigh’s shot-stopper was able to recover and safely smother the ball before the Stones could capitalise.

Two minutes later, Cox’s side continued on the front-foot andAdarkwa was released through on goal, scuffing his shot just wide of the target.

However, the visitors came close to scoring in the seventh minute when Solomon Nwabuokei’s volley was deflected narrowly wide of Marcus Dewhurst’s goal.

Five minutes later, the Spitfires had another effort on goal; Scott Quigley spotted Dewhurst off of his line, but the striker’s shot found the side netting.

End-to-end action ensued in the opening exchanges, and moments later, Henry came close to scoring a sublime goal when he slalomed past three Spitfire defenders, firing just over from an acute angle.

The creative Henry was in the thick of the action once again in the 21st minute, nearly scoring directly from a corner, only to be denied by the woodwork.

Wealdstone continued to play with impetus and attacking intent, with Jadyn Mundle-Smith going close with a powerfuleffort from close range.

With three minutes of the first-half remaining, Maguire curled in an inviting corner which Quigley rose highest to meet, directing his header narrowly wide of the target.

Just before the stroke of half-time, the Stones crafted a cohesive passage of play one-touch play that resulted in Cesay’s shot being crucially blocked by an Eastleigh defender.

As play resumed for the second-half, the visitors looked like they would seize the initiative as Quigley broke free, cut inside and fired towards goal, but Dewhurst produced a solid save, also thwarting Will Merry’s follow-up.

Four minutes later, it was Wealdstone’s turn to test the goalkeeper, with Young unleashing a long-range swerving strike that was parried by McDonnell, but Cesay was unable to latch onto the rebound.

With the game evenly poised, the Stones began to up the ante with incisive build-up play, culminating in Cesay drilling an effort from the edge of the area that was well-saved by McDonnell in the 74th minute.

The match entered the final ten minutes and Henry must have thought he had broken the deadlock when he rifled an audacious strike from 25-yards out, which whistled just wide.

As the Stones were on-course to secure a decisive point, Maguire struck a freak free-kick from distance in the 88thminute which sailed over Dewhurst into the top corner.

Despite rallying during the six minutes of stoppage time, and substitute Max Kretzschmar heading Charlie Barker’s floated delivery tantalisingly wide, the Spitfires held on for their third win on the bounce.

Wealdstone return to action for the final match of the campaign this Saturday 20th April when they travel to Boundary Park to face Oldham Athletic in a another massive game, where a draw would mathematically secure safety; kick-off is at 12.15pm.

WEALDSTONE: Dewhurst, Cesay, Barrett (Cook 77), Barker (c), Mundle-Smith, Young (Duku 90), Henry, Ferguson, De Silva, Allarakhia (Kretzschmar 66), Adarkwa.

Subs not used: Obiero, Bowen.

Attendance: 1,662

Report by Nicole Cho-Yee


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