National League South: Wealdstone 2 Chelmsford City 3
PUBLISHED: 20:53 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 20:53 15 September 2018
©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468
This clash exploded into life in a second half of high drama and heart stopping entertainment for the crowd of 856.
Wealdstone almost came back from the dead and could well have won the game when they had Chelmsford on the ropes after pulling back from three goals down.
But Danny Green’s penalty was saved by Nathan McDonald – a score that would have brought the home side a deserved equaliser on 69 minutes – and under pressure City somehow held out for the three points with a combination of luck and, for the home fans, gut-wrenchingly poor finishing from Stones.
After a relatively even and somewhat scrappy start to the game, Stones had a slight edge but found themselves constantly being pressed hard by a typically physically powerful and well organised Clarets side.
Stones bad luck first struck on 14 minutes when David Pratt’s headed goal was ruled out for offside. Rhys Tyler, who was a threat to City all afternoon shot wide soon after as Stones probed for openings.
Just when Stones seemed to be gaining a real foothold in the contest, the away side took the lead with a spectacular strike from Michael Spillane.
The big defender astutely spotted Jon North off his line and from fully 50 yards out lofted the ball over North with the keeper desperately clutching thin air.
This knocked the stuffing out of Stones, coming as it did against the run of play, and they never really recovered in the first period as 10 minutes later they went further behind when Rhys Murphy powered a header past North from an excellent Matthew Young cross.
Stones needed a spark of inspiration to breath some life back into their game but within four minutes of the restart they conceded a third goal from a Tommy Wraight strike and looked down and out.
But within two minutes Stones had pulled a goal back when Max Porter bounced the ball into his own net from a goalmouth scramble.
Suddenly, with the belief of a goal, Wealdstone awoke from their slumbers and with nothing more to lose went on all-out attack.
Green struck over when well placed from another Tyler cross but the catalyst for their revival came when sub Stefan Brown came on.
It was then the charge of the light brigade as Stones carved out chance after chance. None more so than when Bradley Hudson-Odoi miscued in front of goal after a great turn by Bradley Bubb.
Brown then chased down a lost cause and McDonald sliced his clearance out and the same player almost doubled his tally with a close effort.
Brown finally got the reward for his efforts and seized on a great pass and netted with aplomb on 68 minutes. It was now all Wealdstone who sensed they had the momentum to equalise and go on and win the game.
The unrelenting pressure finally told when a handball in the City area gave Stones the chance they needed to level the scores. The normally reliable Green hit the penalty low and hard but somehow McDonald pushed the ball out for a corner.
And from that corner a powerful goalbound header from Connor Stevens was unbelievably hacked away with Stones players protesting it was over the line.
But still the chances came and went for the home side. Bubb was put clean through with time and space but somehow struck the upright with eight minutes remaining, and then the same player missed a chance at the death from a long throw from sub Matt Lench that caused havoc in the Clarets defence.
Wealdstone were left to rue their missed chances after a massive effort as City hung on for the win and now take a break from league action next Saturday (22 September) when they host Great Wakering Rovers in the FA Cup second qualifying round at The Vale (3pm).
Wealdstone: North, Tyler, Grant, Stevens, Okimo, Poku, Bubb, Ahmidi (Monakana 76), Pratt (Brown 54), Green, Hudson-Odoi (Lench 76). Unused Subs: Wilson, Sheppard.