Wealdstone 2 Eastbourne Borough 3: Stones suffer late agony against Sports

PUBLISHED: 11:00 27 March 2018

Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

National League South: Wealdstone 2 Eastbourne Borough 3

Wealdstone wasted a chance to move closer to the National League South play-offs and recover from Saturday’s gut-wrenching FA Trophy semi-final defeat after a 3-2 defeat at home to Eastbourne Borough.

The fixture was one of several games in hand that Wealdstone have in the league and they were behind just 33 seconds in after Jamie Taylor’s effort. Danny Green equalised with a header, before Taylor doubled his tally on the stroke of half time.

The Stones responded well in the second half and equalised through Matty Whichelow, but the Sports snatched a win late on when substitute Lloyd Dawes ended a counter-attacking move as the hosts chased a late winner.

Bobby Wilkinson made five changes to the side that lost the FA Trophy Semi-Final 2nd Leg to Brackley Town on Saturday, with Dan Fitchett and Ricky Wellard returning, as did the cup-tied trio of Ian Gayle, David Pratt and Jeffrey Monakana, with the latter making his Stones debut.

The 752-strong crowd were anxious to see how the Stones would respond to Saturday’s morale-crushing defeat and it was far from the ideal start when Taylor fired a well-struck effort past Jonathan North to give the Sports the lead after just 33 seconds.

Eastbourne almost doubled their lead when former Stones loanee Shaun Okojie had his header cleared off the line by Gayle and Harry Ransom fired over the rebound.

Monakana had an impressive debut for the Stones and grabbed the first of two assists when his corner found Green unmarked at the far post to power a header in.

The first half remained largely even with Borough’s Yemi Odubade firing wide when one-on-one and Green seeing a volley go just over the bar.

But just as he did in the opening seconds of the half, Taylor struck again in the dying seconds of the half. A headed clearance looped up in the air from an Eastbourne cross and Taylor volleyed past North from the edge of the area and into the bottom corner.

Stones flew out of the blocks in the second half and Pratt and Whichelow combined twice from crosses with Whichelow seeing his shot crucially blocked by Archie Edwards from Pratt’s cross and Pratt heading just over the bar from a Whichelow cross.

Ex-Watford man Whichelow equalised on 57 minutes. Monakana spotted Whichelow lurking at the far post and played an accurate deep cross right onto the foot of the midfielder who smashed it past Mark Smith.

Wealdstone went close twice again through Pratt and Fitchett and dominated the second half, until the 87th minute.

Chasing the victory, Wealdstone threw too many bodies forward from a free kick and when Jake Sheppard’s set piece failed to beat the first man the visitors broke at lightning pace with Dawes finishing off an easy effort with Eastbourne having a four v two advantage on the break.

Stones now host fellow mid-table side East Thurrock United at The Vale on Saturday with a win crucial as play-off hopes are diminishing.

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