Wealdstone suffer surprise defeat at Oxford City
PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 August 2018
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Vanarama National League South: Oxford City 3 Wealdstone 0
Wealdstone received an almighty wake-up call in the Vanarama National League South as they fell to a surprising defeat at Oxford City.
A dominant and enterprising first period from the Stones made this defeat more puzzling and frustrating, but once they conceded via the home side’s Kabongo Tshimanga with 20 minutes to go, they alarmingly fell apart, giving away two late penalties which were both converted by Matt Paterson.
Stones had Connor Stevens back in their starting line up, with Matt Lench taking up a midfield berth, the artificial surface dictating selection to a degree.
The surface undoubtedly took time to get used to, with the heavily rubberised pitch more akin to a dry sandpit throwing up dust at every bounce.
Stones started very brightly and could have nicked a goal even after one minute’s play, but Bradley Hudson-Odoi’s touch was too heavy after good work from Godrey Poku.
City set an early pattern of looking threatening down the right flank on the break with Tshimanga a real handful for Stones defence.
David Pratt went close on 12 minutes chasing down a poor pass and should have netted, but Craig King stopped well to avert embarrassment. Lench then took a punt from fully 30 yards but his effort dipped over.
City pressed hard all over the pitch and Stones midfield were being hurried and to some degree this stifled their overly measured passing game through the middle.
Both sides had good possession but again Stones went closest to opening the scoring when Hudson-Odoi’s powerful strike was pushed away by King at the near post.
On the half-hour mark Danny Green almost found the net from a spectacular effort on the turn from distance, but the ball smashed off the bar.
Pratt went even closer with another effort that King saved for what would later create a clean sheet platform to win the contest for his side.
So in the first half City had just a single on-target effort for Jon North to deal with.
City looked the more likely after the break but Stones remained comfortable enough in defence even though Eddie Jones had a decent effort but was wide of the mark early on.
The match became something of a war of attrition reminding those on the pitch, and off it, that all games at this level, irrespective of early league positions, are a huge battle from start to finish.
Pratt had yet another half chance, but the home side defended strongly and gradually began to assume some real control. The turning point came when Bobby Wilkinson rolled the dice around the 60th minute threw on all three substitutes to spark things up and win the game.
This tactic has often worked to excellent effect in the past but on this occasion the changes seemed to disrupt Stones and strengthen City’s hand, quite why was a mystery but suddenly the away side looked very flat.
Former Boston United striker Tshimanga finally got his chance on 70 minutes. He danced around three defenders and lashed past North to break the deadlock.
Stones had no answers and City now pressed forward to ram home the advantage given them. Two late penalties were conceded under pressure, the first by Freddie Grant and soon after by Rhys Tyler who barged his man off the ball for a clear spot kick and there was no way back for Stones.
Wealdstone will look for better when they host Truro City on Saturday.