STONES HOLD OFF CONCORD FOR FA TROPHY WIN
CONCORD THREATENED TO MAKE A LATE COMEBACK
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