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Report: Wealdstone beat Edgware & Kingsbury on penalties

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Wealdstone are through to the next round of the Middlesex Senior Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Silver Jubilee Park.

After the game had finished 1-1 – Jaydn Mundle-Smith cancelled out a shock first-half opener from the side from the Premier Division North of the Combined Counties League – the match went straight to spot-kicks.

The first four penalties were all sensationally missed and only three of the nine taken were dispatched as the Stones prevailed 2-1 on spot-kicks. Goalkeeper Dante Baptiste, who once saved four for Hendon, was the hero for the Stones, saving two of the penalties and watching one go wide and one fly over the bar, allowing Sam Habergham and Malachi Napa to win it for the visitors.

However, the win was overshadowed by a serious looking injury to Dom Hutchinson who was carried off on a stretcher midway through the second half.

Stuart Maynard rung the changes for this one and allowed coach Craig Saunders to take the team. He will have been fairly pleased with what he saw early on as a new-look Stones played with good cohesion in a 4-3-3. David Sesay and Mundle-Smith took it in turns to fizz balls across the face of goal. Hutchinson will probably feel he should have done better with at least one of the two chances that fell his way.

The National League side were really wondering how they weren't in front midway through the half when an instinctive effort from Simeon Akinola following a corner forced Paul Woods, in the home goal, to scramble on his line to just about keep the ball. It was a close call as clearly some of the ball had gone over the line but how much, the referee couldn't be sure.

The momentum then shifted the home side's way after Mason Barrett, who looked sharp early on, took a yellow card for the team, making a cynical foul on the breaking Theo Ofori just inside his own half. From then on, the Green & Whites posed plenty of problems.

The dangerous Ofori curled a free-kick just wide and then had a deflected effort spin just wide of Baptiste's post. Defender Carlos Bain went close with a header and then Javarn Bernard had a couple of cracks, including one that forced a low save from the visitors' keeper. You felt the goal was coming – and it did when Ofori shot low past Baptiste at the near post.

Nathan Ferguson was withdrawn at half-time in a pre-planned move. Elijah Hearn came on at right-back and Sesay was pushed forward in a 3-5-2. The tactical switch should have paid instant dividends but Akinola, when in the clear, failed to lift the ball over the on-rushing keeper.

The formation did push Mundle-Smith even further forward and he was in a left-wing position when Giovanni McGregor played him in with one of those lovely slide-rule passes. Mundle-Smith took it in his stride and slotted through the legs of Woods.

It was now game on with half an hour to play. Hutchison came within a whisker of putting the Stones in front soon after but the keeper made a save from point-blank range and the galloping forward was injured by late, late tackle in the process of shooting. He was carried off on a stretcher with a problem to his left ankle.

He was replaced by Academy prospect Makai Wilson-Braithwaite who came on for his first team debut. Kyle Brown joined him later on, replacing Tecane Shrowder who showed up well in midfield in a game that became increasingly feisty. Akinola had the best chance to win it late on, but he didn't get enough purchase on a back flick from another low cross from Sesay.

The game drifted to the inevitable shoot-out where Baptiste, on his first start for the club, emerged as the hero.

Wealdstone: Baptiste, Sesay, Habergham (c), Barrett, Mundle-Smith; Shrowder (Browne 88), Ferguson (Hearn h-t), McGregor, Hutchinson (Wilson-Braithwaite 75), Napa, Akinola. Subs not used: Hearn, Munroe, Brown, Babalola.

* Pictures by Darren Campbell


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