Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

WEALDSTONE fought off a late come­back from Con­cord Rangers to take their place in the FA Tro­phy first round.

Bobby Wilkin­son’s side largely dom­i­nated the tie in Es­sex, but were hang­ing on in the end.

The vis­i­tors made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Chip­pen­ham Town.

New sign­ing Chris­tian Smith made his de­but, rel­e­gat­ing Si­mon Men­sah to the bench, while Bradley Hud­son-Odoi came in for Bradley Bubb and Fum­naya Sho­mo­tun earned a start in place of Joe Payne.

Stones looked con­fi­dent and or­gan­ised and af­ter 14 min­utes took the lead with a well-ex­e­cuted goal.

Hud­son-Odoi picked up the ball on the left side and curled a cross to the near-post in the af­ter­math of a cor­ner, find­ing Jerome Okimo who glanced in.

Con­cord re­sponded pos­i­tively, though, in­creas­ing the pres­sure but only shoot­ing from range – Liam Nash forced Jonathan North into a save down to his right – but Wealdstone looked ex­tremely quick on the counter.

Stones’ at­tack­ing as­sets paid div­i­dends again on 23 min­utes, with Sho­mo­tun mak­ing it 2-0.

The float­ing num­ber 10 drifted in and out, us­ing Rhys Tyler as a dis­trac­tion on the over­lap, be­fore cut­ting in­side and curl­ing a won­der­ful ef­fort into the top left cor­ner.

De­fen­sively, Stones were res­o­lute, their pass­ing and move­ment was rapid, and their game­plan was ex­e­cuted in good fash­ion.

Nash put a tame header wide to­wards the end of the first half, but at half-time it was al­most the per­fect sce­nario for Stones.

As much as Con­cord tried to re­spond to a poor first half, they seemed to strug­gle and Stones went 3-0 up on 63 min­utes when Rhys Tyler found space down the right and ap­peared to have lost it, but Sho­mo­tun picked it up and floated a cross to the back post for Danny Green to nod in.

Within six min­utes of the third goal, it was 3-2.

Nash smashed a ball low into the mix of play­ers and cap­tain Lee Min­shull stabbed it in be­fore Alex Wall took the ball down on the left side and whacked a ris­ing ef­fort into the top right cor­ner, leav­ing North static.

Wealdstone had taken the foot of the gas and with Con­cord’s sup­port­ers urg­ing their team to com­plete the come­back, they very nearly did on 83 min­utes when Sean Clo­hessy’s free-kick was hooked just over by Wall.

The fi­nal mo­ments pro­duced end-to-end stuff.

Sho­mo­tun danced for­ward and raced to the by­line, but his vi­cious ef­fort was stopped by Frazer Shaw while David Pratt scram­bled a header clear in a dra­matic fin­ish.


Wealdstone man­ager Bobby Wilkin­son cel­e­brates at the fi­nal whis­tle

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