National League South: Wealdstone 1 Oxford City 1
PUBLISHED: 07:29 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 07:29 27 April 2018
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Wealdstone cemented 11th place in the National League South after a draw with Oxford City at Grosvenor Vale in their penultimate game of the 2017/18 season on Thursday.
David Pratt scored just a minute into the second half after Matt Paterson gave Oxford a deserved first-half lead and Rob Sinclair also missed an 89th-minute penalty for the visitors.
Bobby Wilkinson rung the changes, possibly with one eye on Saturday’s trip to Whitehawk, as he made seven in all, most notable being Ravan Constable making his home debut in goal.
Evans Kouassi returned from his loan at Northwood to play on the right wing and goal scorer Pratt returned from illness.
But Constable’s first action was picking the ball out of the net after Paterson went round the young keeper to slot into an empty goal and give Oxford a ninth-minute lead.
The visitors then had three more chances in the space of 10 minutes through Zac McEachran, Sinclair and Joe Oastler but they failed to assert their dominance with another goal.
Paterson had two more chances just before half time, firstly when he slipped Ian Gayle before shooting over, then when he got Eddie Jones’ near post cross on target but Constable did well to tip it over.
Wealdstone replied immediately into the second half when Kouassi cut the ball back to Pratt and he hit a well-struck low effort first time past Craig King.
The half time introduction of Reading loanee Jake Sheppard seemed to offer the Stones more energy in midfield and he almost put them in front after some nimble footwork helped him beat two defenders, but his shot was straight at King.
The hosts went close again through Marcus Johnson-Schuster after Dan Fitchett dispossessed Freddie Grant in the box, as Johnson-Schuster latched onto the loose ball but smashed it across the face of goal.
Sub Fitchett also had a chance to put the Stones ahead after Ryan Sellers’ cross deflected into his path, but the striker knew little about it as the ball bounced off him and went just wide of the post.
Oxford should have won the game on 89 minutes, though, when Sinclair was tripped by Taofiq Olomowewe in the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot.
Sinclair stepped up himself to take the penalty but blasted his effort not only over the bar but also over the stand behind Constable’s goal as the result offered a fair reflection of the game.
Stones travel to Whitehawk on Saturday for their final game of the season with hundreds of fans expecting to make the trip down to Brighton.
Wealdstone: Constable, Johnson-Schuster, Sellers, Olomowewe, Gayle, Okimo, Kouassi, Cox (Whichelow 60), Pratt, Bubb (Fitchett 60), O’Brien (Sheppard 46). Unused subs: Kearney, Bonfield.