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  • Writer's pictureWill Beaman

REPORT | Wealdstone 2-1 Ebbsfleet United

Wealdstone took all three points at home against 10-man Ebbsfleet United thanks to a brace from Tahvon Campbell in the September sunshine at Grosvenor Vale.

The largely dominant Stones side opened the scoring in the 63rd minute after a tidy solo effort from Campbell beat Mark Cousins, who was outstanding in goal for Ebbsfleet all afternoon.

The visitors hit back with an instant equaliser from a corner when Josh Wright headed past Jed Ward from a set-piece.

But the scores didn’t stay level for long when Campbell bagged his second goal of the afternoon from the spot in the 74th minute, which came after the striker was taken down by Ebbsfleet captain Chris Solly, earning him a red card in the process.

A late red card for the Stones came when Micah Obiero stopped an Ebbsfleet break with a sliding challenge, earning him a second yellow card and an early bath in a staggering seventeenth minute of second half stoppage time.

Stuart Maynard made two changes to the side that lost at Hartlepool with Ashley Charles and Alex Dyer both away on international duty with Grenada and Montserrat respectively. Tarryn Allarakhia came into the side off the back of his goal-scoring cameo last week as well as new signing Abdul Abdulmalik, making his professional men’s debut.

Maynard’s side dominated the early proceedings and came close to opening the scoring just three minutes in when a corner met the head Jack Cook, but the skipper’s header bounced narrowly wide.

After almost putting his side ahead, the 29-year-old came close to giving Ebbsfleet the lead in unfortunate circumstances when a miscommunication between Cook and Stones keeper Jed Ward saw Cook’s overhit back-pass bounce off the post, leaving Grosvenor Vale in a stunned silence.

Two big chances in quick succession almost had the Stones in front, the first chance falling to Campbell, who fired a well-struck effort narrowly wide and then a big chance fell to Obiero, after being played in on-goal, but the forward couldn’t beat Cousins in the Ebbsfleet net.

It was almost a dream debut for Abdulmalik, 21 minutes in, when his goal-bound effort from range looked destined for the bottom corner, but a fine save from Cousins denied the 20-year-old his first professional goal.

Ebbsfleet’s first real chance of the game came in the 33rd minute when a quick break saw Ben Chapman cut inside and force an acrobatic diving save out of Ward.

With the 30-plus degree heat clearly taking a toll, more gaps began to open for the away side and they would’ve been ahead in the 36th minute, if it weren’t for a brilliant sliding block from Jaydn Mundle-Smith to deny Luke O’Neills fierce effort at goal.

Minutes before half-time, the Stones conjured up a flurry of half-chances with Obiero once again going close with a curling effort before the lively Abdulmalik forced another diving save out of Cousins.

The second-half began as the previous half finished, with Wealdstone dominating the ball, looking to breakdown the Ebbsfleet defence and their first chance of the half came in the 48th minute when a trademark longshot from Nathan Ferguson forced a diving save out of Cousins.

What felt like an inevitable breakthrough for the Stones came in the 63rd minute when Campbell received the ball on the edge of the box, spun his man and finished precisely into the bottom corner.

Not letting the Wealdstone goal affect them, the visitors hit back with an instant response when the imposing Wright fired a bullet header into the back of the net from a corner. A goal that came relatively against the run of play.

The Stones were given another chance to take the lead in the 72nd minute when Campbell was played through on goal but scythed down by Ebbsfleet captain Solly, earning him a red card and a subsequent penalty for the home side, which was converted coolly down the middle by Campbell.

Five minutes later, everyone inside Grosvenor Vale thought Campbell had scored his first Stones hattrick with a point-blank header, but an outrageous diving save from Cousins once again denied the Stones another goal.

With the game coming to a close and Ebbsfleet looking for a last chance at goal, a sliding challenge from Obiero to stop a quick breakaway earned the forward a second yellow card and a dismissal, but home side managed to close out the game, earning the Stones their first win in four matches.

Next up for Maynard’s side is a home game against Altrincham next Saturday at 3pm.

WEALDSTONE: Ward, Cook (c) (Barrett 57), Barker, Mundle-Smith, Clayden, Ferguson, Bowen, Allarakhia (Andrews 90), Obiero, Abdulmalik (Olomola 68), Campbell.

Subs not used: McGregor, Adarkwa.

Attendance: 1,422

Report by Will Beaman


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