MATCH REPORT | Stones edged out in five goal thriller
Notts County 3-2 Wealdstone
Despite an excellent performance on the road, Wealdstone were narrowly edged by high flying Notts County yesterday evening at Meadow Lane.
Goals from Cal Roberts, Kyle Wootton and Kyle Cameron secured a tight victory for fifth placed Magpies, while Stones’ top goal scorer Josh Umerah fired a brace.
Manager Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that secured their first National League win of the season on Saturday against Altrincham, as stoppage time goal scorer and match winner Medy Elito earned his first start of season in place of Rhys Browne.
Wealdstone started brightly, dominating possession during the opening exchanges of play as they dictated the tempo of play and galvanised the majority of early attacks.
Ten minutes into the game, the Stones crafted their first opportunity to score as the energetic Dennon Lewis whipped a dangerous ball towards Elito at the far post, whose diving header was well-saved by Notts County’s Sam Slocombe.
One minute later, Lewis and Elito combined effortlessly again, with the latter sending his headed effort just wide of the near post.
On the 23rd minute mark, Wealdstone came close to scoring through a slick move as Alex Dyer found Elito, with the forward threading through Umerah, but his driven strike was denied by Slocombe.
The Stones deservedly broke the deadlock midway through the first half as captain Jerome Okimo’s goal-bound strike was converted home by Umerah to send the Stones into the lead.
Wealdstone looked to double their advantage, and they came close in the 38th minute when wingback Andrew Eleftheriou surged into the box and fired a trademark teasing ball across the face of the goal; this was retrieved by Umerah and laid back to Lewis, who struck a fierce shot, but Slocombe was equal to the effort.
Against the run of play, the Magpies levelled four minutes from the break as Kairo Mitchell’s cross was fired home by Cal Roberts with a first-time finish at the far post.
The equaliser spurred Notts County on, as four minutes later, Wootton despatched past George Wickens to seize the initiative on the stroke of half time.
Both sides returned from the interval with added impetus as they looked to gain a stranglehold on the match.
The home side drew first blood in the second half as Cameron rose highest with a bullet header to send home Matt Palmer’s corner in the 58th minute, and increase the Magpies’ advantage further.
Wealdstone responded in a brilliant fashion, reducing the deficit within six minutes as the influential Dyer skipped past the Notts County defence and played through Umerah, who coolly slotted home past Slocombe to notch his brace and send the contest into a gripping finale.
The introduction of Browne, Craig Fasanmade and Ira Jackson proved a smart move from Maynard as their combined pace and skill caused notable problems for the Magpies’ defence.
In the 83rd minute, Jackson nearly drew the visitors’ level as he unleashed a powerful strike from range towards the bottom corner, but Slocombe reacted with a superb save to thwart the attacker.
The Stones continued to probe and rally for an equaliser until the final whistle, but Notts County managed to produce some resolute defending to hold on for three points.
Wealdstone return to action next on Saturday 18st September when they entertain Aldershot Town at The Vale, in a 3pm kickoff.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, Cook, Cawley, Okimo (C), Eleftheriou, Cooper, Charles, Dyer (Jackson 72), Lewis (Browne 66), Umerah (Fasanmade 79), Elito.
SUBS: Wishart, Tavares.