REPORT | Wealdstone 3-3 Aldershot Town
David Noble’s era as Wealdstone manager started with a solid point against Aldershot Town, as the spoils were shared in an action-packed encounter.
Stones’ goals from Sean Adarkwa, Nathan Ferguson and Micah Obiero were cancelled out by finishes from Jack Barham, Lorent Tolaj and Kwame Thomas.
The new boss made one change to the side that defeated Halifax Town on Saturday, with Sam Bowen slotting intomidfield for Ashley Charles, while Tarryn Allarakhia returned from the African Cup of Nations with Tanzania, and was named to the bench.
The Stones started the game on the front-foot, nearly scoringin the forth minute of play when Charlie Barker’s goal-bound header was nodded on by Nathan Ferguson, with only the crossbar denying Wealdstone an early lead.
Against the run of play, the Shots seized the advantage in the 20th minute when Josh Stokes squared to Barham in the box, and the striker coolly fired past Marcus Dewhurst to put the visitors in front.
Wealdstone responded positively as Ferguson surged into the box, curling a low effort towards the bottom corner, but Jordi Van Stappershoef reacted with a fine save.
A moment later, the Shots doubled their lead as Ryan Glover cut inside and found Tolaj, with the young skipper spinninghis marker and producing a deft finish into the corner.
The Stones were suddenly galvanised back into action as top scorer Adarkwa brought down Aaron Henry’s pinpoint pass and clinically despatched past Van Stappershoef in the 32nd minute to reduce the deficit.
Two minutes later, Noble’s men were back on level terms as Ferguson latched onto a ball over the top and confidently fired past Van Stappershoef.
On the stroke of half-time, the Shots were close to restoring their lead going into the interval as Stokes hit a fierce effort from just outside the box, forcing Dewhurst into a solid save.
Wealdstone’s comeback was completed within two minutes of the restart as an error from Aldershot Town shot-stopper Van Stappershoef resulted in Micah Obiero looping a clever strike into an open net from range.
In the 54th minute, the visitors had the chance to draw level, as Glover’s delivery from the left wing was headed towards goal by Barham, but Dewhurst reacted with a good save.
Four minutes later, the Shots came close again to restoring parity as Glover’s header found Barham, who cut inside and fired on target, with his effort deflected inches wide.
As the match entered the final half an hour, Max Kretzschmar was threaded through on goal for a one-on-one, but Tyler Frost produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to thwart the danger.
With end-to-end action, the lively Barham popped up again in the 69th minute with an improvised volley that sailed just wide of the far post.
On the 80th minute mark, the Stones were reduced to ten men as Henry received his second yellow card of the evening.
At the opposing end, a superb piece of skill from Allarakhia was followed with a smart through ball to Ferguson, but his drilled shot flew agonisingly wide.
The Shots continued to probe for an equaliser and captain Tolaj unleashed a fierce effort from range in the 82nd minute that the alert Dewhurst palmed wide.
Moments later, substitute Kwame Thomas rose highest from a corner, directing his header just wide of the target.
The excellent Barham then produced a fantastic goal-bound bicycle kick, but Dewhurst was equal to the effort.
One minute into stoppage time, the visitors were rewarded for their persistence as Glover’s teasing cross was powerfully headed home by Thomas to equalise.
Wealdstone then had the opportunity to steal all three points at the death, as substitute Charlie Seaman looked destined to convert at the back post, but smart defending from Aldershot Town nullified the chance.
In the last minute of added time, the Stones went down to nine men as substitute Mason Barrett was shown a straight red card for a foul on Glover.
Wealdstone return to action this Saturday 3rd February when they travel to face local rivals Barnet at The Hive in a 3pm kick-off.
WEALDSTONE: Dewhurst, Cook (c), Barker, Mundle-Smith, Mason (Barrett 86), Henry, Bowen, Ferguson, Obiero (Seaman 73), Kretzschmar (Allarakhia 65), Adarkwa.
Subs not used: Andrews, Campbell.
Attendance: 1,441 (including 332 Aldershot fans)
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee