Report - Wealdstone 1 - 0 Woking
Updated: Aug 19, 2018
Wealdstone delighted their fans on Monday evening with an enthralling performance of guts and determination with no little skill thrown in for good measure. The victory, against an unbeaten, table topping, and highly capable Woking side was no less than they deserved and the margin of success could have been greater with a little more composure in the final third. The second half onslaught down the slope was a sight to behold and just when it seemed that Stones would not get the win their superiority merited, referee Jacob Miles finally pointed to the spot in the 87th minute when the relentless home pressure forced a foul in the box. Substitute Matt Lench confidently despatched the penalty to wild celebrations amongst the home fans in the bumper 1,323 crowd.
On an electric evening at The Vale there was a sense that this game was going to be a cracker and so it proved despite a relatively scrappy but highly competitive first half. Stones needed a win to put Saturday’s narrow defeat to Billericay behind them and Woking were looking to maintain their early season 100% record.
Woking looked the livelier of the sides early doors with Nicky Wheeler and hit man Max Kretzachmar stretching Stones back line down the flanks; but these days Wealdstone look defensively better equipped but nevertheless the pressure was there and with the large away following urging on the Cards they had to be on the alert. Jon North was being called into action as several crosses and corners tested the former Watford gloveman but he was equal to what was being thrown at him.
Several injuries ensued as the battle intensified with no quarter being asked for or given. Most notably Cards Jake Hyde had to hobble off as Stones gradually worked themselves into the contest in a greater attacking sense and were beginning to unsettle the Cards back line. Good midfield skills from Wadah Ahmidi opened up space but the linkage with Joe White and Dave Pratt wasn’t quite working with several balls overplayed in good areas.
Near the end of the first period after a spell of increasing Stones pressure Woking suddenly burst back into life and could have taken the lead but North pulled off an outstanding point blank save and then had to get down to scoop away an awkward long range strike from a freekick. Stones ended the half in good shape with the away crowd much quieter and perhaps realising that this clash was now no walk in the park.
Stones threw off any remaining shackles after the turnaround and attacked with ferocity almost from the whistle. Pratt when down in the area on 52 minutes with what looked like a stone wall penalty but Referee Miles was having none of it and waved away vehement appeals. Godfrey Poku, magnificent in the midfield as an enforcer set Pratt away but the work horse striker was off target and not for the first time on the night.
The pressure on the beleaguered away side continued to mount as their attacking prowess dropped off alarmingly. Bradly Bubb entered the fray for Joe White as Wealdstone searched for an opening to win the game. Shots rained in - a powerful effort from Rhys Tyler was saved brilliantly by German stopper Berti Schotteri. Substitute Matt Lench was making his presence felt and a mazy run into the box drew a foul that was again waved away to the dismay of players and fans alike.
But the pressure finally told. Pratt was bundled over in the area after another great run and the spot kick was awarded with Lench smashing the ball past Schotteri with aplomb.
There was still time for more drama as the clock ran down when Cards defender Dan Spence was shown red for a second booking to add salt to the wounds of defeat.
WEALDSTONE: North, Tyler, Grant, Stevens, Okimo, Poku, Monakana, Ahmidi, Pratt, Green, White. Subs used: Bubb, Lench, Mitchell. Not used: Clark, Mambo
By Nick DuGard
Photos © Geoff Smith