Gloucester City 2 Wealdstone 2: Benyon brace banks point
PUBLISHED: 07:57 13 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:57 13 August 2017
Honours even in National League South
In a match that will not live long in the memories of supporters, Wealdstone did at least gain a point at the pleasant surroundings of The Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.
Eyes would have frequently been cast in the direction of the backdrop of the imposing Malvern Hills as the long, aerial, ball reigned for much of the game – as Stones twice frittered away an advantage.
The away side took the lead twice through marksman Elliot Benyon with two moments of rare quality, but were pegged back by an already struggling Gloucester side that are still making the adjustment from switching divisions.
Stones started with the same line-up as the unlikely St Albans defeat during midweek and again found life tough with the single central striker, with clear opportunities for the counter attack again restricted.
Admittedly conditions were not perfect, with a strong wind blowing through the narrow pitch but control and ball to feet were at a premium from the off.
Abo Eisa did well on 10 minutes with a well driven free kick, but the resulting corner came to nothing and it took another nine minutes of scrappy play for the Tigers to show some teeth when Joe Parker skied over.
Stones pressed on and a good chance came and went on the half-hour mark with home keeper Alex Harris equal to the task.
Benyon then had a clear-cut chance to grab the lead with Harris stranded but he dallied on the ball and the chance was lost.
But the Stones top striker soon had another opportunity to atone and this time he made no mistake when a long punt forward by the now injured and grimacing Josh Hill cleared the defence and, with Harris in no man’s land, Benyon pounced to lob in perfectly for a nice finish, minutes before the break.
David Hunt came in for centre half Hill, who had turned an ankle, at the start of the second period and the Tigers came out with far more determination and soon equalised when poor defending allowed too much space for the onrushing Keiran Thomas and he lashed the ball past an exposed Jon North.
Stones eased their way back into contention with second substitute Dan Fitchett making his presence felt and it was from the former Sutton United striker’s flick-on that created the move that led to Wealdstone regaining the lead.
Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick made excellent ground and crossed superbly for Benyon to lash home his second on 70 minutes and that should have been that – but sadly it wasn’t.
Wealdstone’s defensive frailty at set-pieces was again exposed with five minutes to go as the excellent Robbie Cundy rose unmarked to head home a corner to complete the scoring.
It proved another frustrating afternoon and Stones have work to do but four points have been gained.
Expectations, though, are somewhat greater than that and another challenge awaits on Monday evening at The Vale versus a strong Havant & Waterlooville side.
Wealdstone: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Ijaha, Hill, Brown, Hippolyte-Patrick, Cox, Benyon, Green, Eisa. Subs: Hunt, Fitchett. Unused: Godfrey, Wellard, Osei-Bonsu.
Attendance: 403 (including 130 Wealdstone fans).