Report - Wealdstone 1 - 2 Sutton United
In a match that resembled a tough and relentless battlefield, it was Sutton who went into the hat for the first round after an intense encounter at The Vale
Stones went ahead on 50 minutes via a penalty before Sutton equalised from the spot 13 minutes later and made it anyone’s game. Bradley Bubb then missed the chance to put Stones through before Aaron Drinan won the match.
Wealdstone started with an unchanged side from last week’s 2-1 win at home to Hampton and Richmond. A notable addition, however, was the inclusion of former Sutton striker Bradley Hudson-Odoi on the substitutes bench. The away side changed 4 players from the Irn-Bru Cup match last Saturday, with Nicky Bailey and captain Jamie Collins both back from injury.
Sutton were the better side early on, without question, imploding themselves on top of Wealdstone with their physicality. They pressed high on every man and consequently gave away set pieces. Stones were forced into overplaying the ball, Freddie Grant having to lunge into a shot, challenged by Jamie Collins, and therefore forced off through injury 5 minutes later. But Stones showed everything they had from then on.
Sutton had the first clear cut chance of the match with 10 minutes played.
Make shift left back and substitute Rhys Tayler back from injury couldn’t keep out a cross for Kieron Cadogan to get a free header away. Luckily for Stones, it was straight at Jonathan North.
Stone's responded with determination, David Pratt finding space on the left side but couldn’t square for Fumnaya Shomotun. The home side continued to press had moments typically carved out from their best asset, Shotmotun, who dinked a ball towards Pratt who couldn’t head towards goal.
Sutton started to throw more players forward, vying for a first goal in the tie. Tom Bolarinwa was relatively contained by Jake Sheppard until this point. But Bolarinwa had the beating of the right back giving Josh Taylor a chance, before Craig Eastmond fired a poor shot well wide. The away side were dominant for the final stages of the first half, Cadogan received the ball from a quick free kick and smashed a shot onto crossbar. The relentless pressure continued and a mix up in the Wealdstone defence nearly led to a Sutton goal. Cadogan was unable to get a shot away just inside the box and felt referee Samuel Allison should’ve given a penalty, the Sutton fans were furious heading into the break.
The second half sprung into life with Wealdstone firing on all cylinders. Shomotun was weaving in and out on the right side finding a cross, and the ball landed for Rhys Tyler who was brought down for a clear penalty. Bradley Bubb slammed it home to put Stones ahead on 50 minutes.
Although there was an instant response from Sutton with the experienced Nicky Bailey diverting free header over the bar, Wealdstone should have made it 2-0. Shotmotun fired a low drive across goal, saved by Jamie Butler and scrambled against the post and out by Pratt. The striker was desperately trying to turn it home.
Sutton made two substitutions to slow ease the momentum. Bolorinwa’s expertise was finely matched by that of Jonah Ayunga, who started to run at Tyler. 63 minutes played, Sutton’s urge to equalise was finally rewarded with a second penalty of the game. Jamie Collins tucked the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1.
Sutton’s goal was then followed by a number of great chances to go ahead. Drinan headed over and Bailey pounced on a loose ball but couldn’t make use. Substitute Ayunga met a whipped cross in from the left and headed inches wide, Sutton’s second goal looked on the horizon.
The final 15 minutes saw Sutton pushing for a winner and Wealdstone profiting on the counter attack. A fantastic cross from Shomotun found Pratt who’s header was brilliantly saved by a stretching Butler to keep it level. A sequence of play similar to pinball occurred in the Wealdstone penalty area, before Bubb then found space on the counter but fired over the bar.
It was the added time that brought the most agonising drama in football. Bailey was careless in his challenge inside his own penalty area and the third penalty of the match was awarded. Bailey was sent off and Bubb stepped up and went to Butler’s left, as did Butler.
The Stones fans were distraught having been so close to eliminating National League opposition. With 93 minutes played, Craig Eastmond, who had a quiet game, sprinted down the right and fed Drinan who slotted into the far corner. Sutton were in jubilation, Stones in agony and both in disbelief.
Stone's First team coach, Mike Percival, said “We’re absolutely gutted. We were one kick away from the first round proper, but we have to take the positives. We’re in a good moment here and although we’re disappointed, we have to stick together.
“We’ve played well today against a very good side. It’s about game management. Of course we missed the penalty but the most important thing is not to lose, we should be in the hat Monday.”
He also added “We are very proud of the players, this group that we are building here is a group that can do something this year.”
Wealdstone; North, Sheppard, Stevens, Okimo, Grant, Poku, Shomtoun,Ahmidi, Pratt, Green, Bubb. Subs used Tyler, Charles
BY SAM WATTS
Dan Finill Pics HERE