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Sheppard strike earns Wealdstone a point against Billericay

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 February 2019

Wealdstone boss Bobby Wilkinson (pic Dan Finill/dfinill photography)

Wealdstone boss Bobby Wilkinson (pic Dan Finill/dfinill photography)

DFinillPhotography

Vanarama National League South: Wealdstone 1 (Sheppard 20) Billericay Town 1 (Waldren 53)

Wealdstone were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Billericay Town in the Vanarama National League South.

Jake Sheppard’s first half strike for the Stones was cancelled out by Danny Waldren’s second half finish.

A quick start for the home side in the third minute when midfielder Simon Mensah saw his edge-of-the-box volley well caught by Billericay ‘keeper Alan Julian.

Stones top scorer David Pratt then had a chance of his own in the penalty area just three minutes later but the finish dragged wide of the far post.

‘Ricay began edging themselves back into the game in the 14th minute when a dangerous Jake Howells free-kick fizzed past Ross Lafayette.

Wealdstone capitalised on poor Billericay defending to break the deadlock in the 20th minute when Jake Sheppard deflected effort beat Julian at the near post.

Another Howells set-piece found towering Billericay centre-half Charlie Wassmer at the back post in the 25th minute; Stones shot stopper Jonathan North was able to push Wassmer’s header onto the bar.

The Stones responded in the 32nd minute when Pratt laid the ball off to Mensah on the edge of the box before Mensah forced another strong save from Julian.

Wealdstone set-piece specialist Danny Green saw his first free-kick sail over six minutes later.

Another golden opportunity for the Stones fell just before half-time when a Howells error gifted Green the ball on the half-way line; Green threaded through Crawley Town loanee Tarryn Allarakhia before forcing another stop from Julian.

A positive first half from Bobby Wilkinson’s men saw Wealdstone take a one-goal lead into the half-time interval.

David Wheeler made a surprise change six minutes into the second half when the Billericay manager subbed off top scorer Adam Coombes.

Two minutes after the change Danny Waldren fired Billericay onto level terms after North and Connor Stevens stopped goal-bound efforts from Moses Emmanuel and Alfie Potter in quick succession.

Wealdstone responded well after Waldren’s strike, Allarakhia burst down the left-wing to cross towards Pratt but was headed away by Wassmer five minutes later.

The game began flowing end-to-end but neither team could create any clear chances.

Green crossed a dangerous ball in from the left in the 71st minute but was left by Stefan Brown and then cleared by the Essex-based outfit.

Five minutes later ‘Ricay substitute Kieron Cadogan was located at the back post but saw his shot blocked by Stevens.

Another chance for Billericay just two minutes later when Cadogan played a through ball to Jamar Loza before North smothered for a corner.

The resulting Howells corner found Billericay full-back Joe Kizzi who saw his header hit the top of the bar.

Wealdstone edged themselves back into the tie when Pratt’s 81st minute strike was blocked in the box.

Freddie Grant almost marked his return to the Wealdstone side with a goal just five minutes later when he leaped and met Green’s corner but Grant’s effort was blocked in the goalmouth.

The Stones almost found a winner courtesy of Grant late into stoppage time when Jeffrey Monakana’s cross found the full-back but Grant’s volley bounced off the post.

After a hard-fought battle in the final stages Wealdstone were not able to break down a resilient Billericay Town.

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