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  • Nicole Cho-Yee

REPORT | Wealdstone 3-2 AFC Fylde

Wealdstone produced a spirited comeback to beat ten-man AFC Fylde and move up to fifth place in the National League table.

Goals from Tahvon Campbell and Gold Omotayo were cancelled out by Nick Haughton and Nathan Ferguson respectively, before Campbell hit a 99th minute winner to seal his brace and ensure the Stones claimed all three points.

Manager Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that drew with Bromley midweek as Max Kretzschmar returned to the starting line-up, while the suspended Ferguson returned to the bench.

AFC Fylde started the match brightly; testing Jed Ward within the first four minutes of play when Haughton played a slick one-two with Omotayo, but the Coasters’ number ten could only curl his effort straight at the Wealdstone shot-stopper.

However, it was the Stones who drew first blood when Charles Clayden surged down the left wing and drove in a dangerous cross that Campbell pounced on to smash home from close range for his second goal of the season.

Four minutes later, Wealdstone came close to doubling their lead when Sam Bowen slipped through goalscorer Campbell, who rounded visitors’ keeper Theo Richardson, but the angle was too tight to square back to the Welsh midfielder.

As the Coasters began to settle into the tempo of the match, they crafted an opportunity to level in the 19th minute when Haughton released Tom Walker down the right flank and his deep cross found an unmarked Luke Charman, who struck wide.

Just shy of the half hour mark, the Stones galvanised another goal scoring chance with some excellent build-up play, resulting in Bowen forcing a solid save from Richardson.

Maynard’s men continued their pursuit of a second goal and Micah Obiero nearly turned provider when he burst down the left wing towards goal, but AFC Fylde skipper Alex Whitmore responded with an excellent tackle.

However, the visitors were back on level terms in the 37th minute when Swiss striker Omotayo rose highest to powerfully head home Haughton’s free-kick past Ward.

Bolstered by the equaliser, the Coasters nearly took the lead two minutes later when Luke Charman unleashed a fierce strike from range, but Ward produced an excellent save.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, the Stones generated their own opportunity to score as Kretzschmar broke forward; drawing a smart save from Richardson after his effort was deflected.

Wealdstone’s late flurry continued, as two minutes later, Clayden burst through centrally, drilling a low strike narrowly of the far post.

The Stones began the second half with the same attacking endeavour and Kretzschmar surged forward and struck from range, but Richardson was equal to the effort.

Nevertheless, it was the Adam Murray’s men that seized the advantage on the 57th minute in sublime fashion when Haughton spotted Ward off of his line and hit a superb strike from inside his own half that flew over Ward into the net.

Growing in confidence, AFC Fylde struck from range again through Danny Philliskirk, but Ward was alert and palmed the effort away on the hour mark.

Two minutes later, the Coasters were reduced to ten men when Pierce Bird received two quick yellow cards and was sent his marching orders.

Keen to profit from their numerical advantage, the Stones began to mount waves of attacks, with Obiero firing just wide of the target on successive occasions.

In the 73rd minute, the Stones looked like they had drawn level as substitute Ferguson’s pin-point cross found captain Jack Cook whose first-time effort was brilliantly saved by Richardson.

Wealdstone’s pressure prevailed and they duly levelled in style on the 86th minute when Ferguson collected the ball in midfield, surged past two defenders and clinically despatched the ball into the bottom corner past Richardson from 20 yards.

With ten minutes additional time added, the Stones were relentless in their pursuit of a late winner and they were rewarded in the 99th minute. Charlie Barker headed the ball back across goal from a corner and Campbell produced a spectacular bicycle kick for the winner.

The Stones return to action next Saturday 26th August when the travel to the EBB Stadium to face Aldershot Town in a 3pm kick-off.

WEALDSTONE: Ward, Barker, Cook (c), Mundle-Smith, Clayden (Allarakhia 73), Charles (Ferguson 66), Dyer, Bowen, Obiero, Kretzschmar (Adarkwa 80), Campbell.

Subs not used: Barrett, Olomola.

Attendance: 1,145 (including 20 AFC Fylde fans)

Report by Nicole Cho-Yee


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