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  • Nicole Cho-Yee

REPORT | Wealdstone 1-2 Southend United

Despite a battling performance, Wealdstone came up just short, losing 2-1 to Kevin Maher’s in-form Southend United side, at Grosvenor Vale.

Wealdstone took the lead through Manny Duku, but goals from Nathan Ralph and Cav Miley completed a fine comeback for the play-off hopefuls.

After the Stones’ humiliating defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Boreham Wood on Saturday, Stones’ new interim manager Sam Cox made four changes to team, with skipper Jack Cook, Sam Bowen, Dillon De Silva and Duku all returning to the starting line-up.

The Shrimpers enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the opening stages of the match, but Wealdstone were able to successfully nullify their attacking endeavours.

The Stones’ first sight of goal came in the 22nd minute when Duku was slipped through on goal, though the striker’s shot was high and wide.

Four minutes later, De Silva burst through on goal and was brought down by Miley in a dangerous position; Aaron Henry’s resultant free-kick flew over the crossbar.

After a couple of half-chances, Cox’s side duly took the lead in the 34th minute when Duku pounced at the far post to convert Henry’s corner past Colin Andeng-Ndi and notch his first goal for the club.

The visitors had the opportunity to equalise almost immediately as Jack Bridge’s cross was met by Ralph, but the Shrimpers’ captain could only direct his header wide of the target.

A minute later, goalscorer Duku nearly doubled the Stones’ advantage, curling an effort from the edge of the area that was well-saved by Andeng-Ndi.

Down the opposing end, James Morton was then presented with the chance to level proceedings, but his strike from just outside the box whistled narrowly wide of the post.

However, on the 45th minute mark, the Shrimpers were back on level terms as Bridge’s cross fell to Ralph, who clinically drilled home past Marcus Dewhurst.

The Stones returned from the interval with intent and hot-shot Tarryn Allarakhia came close to sending his side into the lead when he drove forward and curled an effort just wide of the far post.

Moments later, it was then De Silva’s turn to nearly seize the advantage as he unleashed a fierce strike from range that had to be palmed to safety by Andeng-Ndi.

As play continued to be open, the Shrimpers could have edged into the lead in the 63rd minute when Gus Scott-Morriss’ looping cross was met by Waldron, but the striker nodded wide.

The visitors did forge ahead a minute later through Miley, who shifted the ball onto his left foot and rifled home past Dewhurst in style.

Southend United nearly extended their lead further in the 77th minute when Oli Coker struck a powerful effort from range, but Dewhurst was equal to the effort.

As the match entered the final stages, the Stones rallied for a late equaliser to salvage a vital point in their fight for survival. Max Kretzschmar had a golden opportunity to score; however Andeng-Ndi responded with an outstanding double-save to thwart the substitute.

Four minutes into the nine minutes of stoppage time, the lively Henry struck a superb strike from distance that thundered off of the crossbar, denying the Stones from rescuing a late point.

Wealdstone quickly return to action on Thursday 11th April when they host Dorking Wanderers at 7.45pm in a crucial fixture at the foot of the table.

WEALDSTONE: Dewhurst, Barrett, Cook (c), Barker, Mundle-Smith, Bowen (Young 67), Henry, Ferguson (Kretzschmar 81), De Silva, Allarakhia, Duku (Adarkwa 50).

Subs not used: Obiero, Cesay.

Attendance: 2,025

Report by Nicole Cho-Yee


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