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Report - Wealdstone 5 - 3 Uxbridge

16-year-old Luke Massingham captained Wealdstone to victory against Uxbridge in a thrilling encounter in the Middlesex Senior Cup. Uxbridge put up a terrific fight, but two free kicks from Anton Rodgers made all the difference.

The big news for Wealdstone was the first team debuts of Luke Massingham, made captain by Bobby Wilkinson, and Femi Azeez. It was a heavily rotated team from the draw at Welling United at the weekend. New signing from Torquay United, Christopher Regis, also made his Wealdstone debut.

It was a wake-up call for Wealdstone with only 90 seconds gone in the match. A free kick just inside the Stones half called for an early long ball forward. Craig Tomkins was the man who rose to nod into the path of the unmarked James Burgess who put in from close range. Uxbridge were ahead possibly too early for their own liking.

Within 6 minutes, Stones were leading the game. Joe Payne darted inside and fizzed the ball through to James Clark on the right wing. His cross was perfect to the back post for youngster Femi Azeez to smash home for the equaliser on 5 minutes.

Azeez looked lively ever since the opener, with

Wealdstone lifting the intensity. It was his terrific work that set up Slew to assist Elliot Charles, who won’t score an easier goal in his career, tapping in a yard from a goal.

Elliot Charles was causing mayhem from the crosses, and Uxbridge centre back David Thomas took a whack. But it was the winger Femi Azeez who’s pace and accuracy sparked danger every time. Azeez was close to getting a brace as his shot was cleared off the line by Harry Tubb.

Wealdstone were more comfortable, more dynamic and more dangerous ever since they went a goal down. Luke Massingham started to shout orders and control the back line as Stones changed to 3 at the back, Anton Rodgers came forward into midfield. The high line and the extra pressure gave Stones tremendous confidence.

It was a question of how many after Stones took the lead, and although Uxbridge had occasional moments with a great shot by Craig Tomkins tipped over the bar, Stones were firmly in control. Elliot Charles smashed a shot against the bar and Slew had a shot saved, but Anton Rodgers’ thumping free kick was the highlight of the first half.

Jerome Slew will be happy with his start to the second half, getting on the scoresheet after Elliot Charles flicked a ball towards goal. Wealdstone had a 4-1 lead with the energetic Fumnaya Shomotun who rpelaced Green at half-time injecting extra problems for Uxbridge.

With nothing to lose, Uxbridge urged a couple of great saves from Wheeler and on 64 minutes, Tomkins slammed a penalty into the bottom right corner to keep the match in contention.

A rare appearance from Jeffrey Monakana forced Azeez into left back for the last half an hour, which gave Joe Payne a chance to rest ahead of Saturday’s game against Bath City. Wealdstone reverted to a back four and settling the game became a priority amidst a courageous attempt at a fightback. But it was a loss of concentration from Wheeler, who had made some key saves until this point, that gave substitute Zaine Gangedeen a clear shot at an empty net, 12 minutes from time. It was hard to believe the game was in contention.

Eliott Charles missed a fantastic opportunity to kill the tie after a floated cross from Monakana, heading the ball wide, whilst Monakana’s curled effort ended up in a similar position. But the game was put beyond all doubt with 2 minutes from time when Anton Rodgers scored another well-placed free kick, taking Wealdstone to the next round after a fantastic match.

First Team Coach, Mike Percival, said “You just have to credit the youngsters. We have put three 16 year olds, maybe one is turning 17, but we are encouraging them to play. Luke [Massingham] was outstanding against a giant and Femi [Azeez] was the same, even at left back making some vital interceptions. It’s brilliant for the club and I believe they will have a future in the game.”

He also added “We would have loved to have played Glenn Wilson to give the youngsters more guidance but Joe Payne strolled through the game and was unbelievable on Saturday. We now have to turn our attentions to Saturday, let’s see what we can do.”

Wealdstone: Wheeler, Yala-Bolasse, Payne Massingham, Rogers, Regis, Clark, Slew Charles, Green, Azeez. Subs Used Somotun, Monakana, Mitchell


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