Wealdstone and Bath share spoils after six-goal thriller
PUBLISHED: 09:07 11 November 2018
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Vanarama National League South: Wealdstone 3 (Straker o.g. 73, Charles 85p, 89) Bath City 3 (Stearn 4, 14, 87)
Elliot Charles earned Wealdstone a point against Bath City in a thrilling encounter at Grosvenor Vale.
Ross Stearn scored a hat trick for the away side but Charles scored 90th minute equaliser to draw 3-3.
Wealdstone captain Jerome Okimo was back in the side after missing the last two league games due to injury, while Chris Regis came in to replace Jake Sheppard.
The playing conditions were severely impeded after the pouring rain, but attention turned to the respectful tributes for Remembrance Weekend.
Wealdstone unveiled a new memorial to honour the club members that fell in both World Wars, and this was shortly followed by a fitting minutes silence and The Last Post.
Stones also played the match in the club’s kit from 1919, an honourable gesture to those that were killed.
It was, however, the worst start that Bobby Wilkins’s men could have hoped for, with the first 12 minutes seeing Bath’s Ross Stearn smash two shots past Jonathan North.
After a weak appeal for a Wealdstone penalty, the Romans’ first attack saw Adam Mann feed Stearn, who drilled a low shot across the keeper into the bottom corner.
After 11 minutes, Joe Raynes flicked a header over the bar but within 30 seconds Stearn found himself on the edge of the box and after a superb stepover, fired the ball into the bottom left corner, leaving Stones tunned.
Bath were by far the better side from the start, with more desire and providing more options.
Wealdstone couldn’t find a route forward with Bradley Hudson-Odoi the only candidate for creativity, using his pace on the left side to get ahead of Michee Efete.
There was one positive moment for the home side when Joe Payne darted infield and used the overlapping Hudson-Odoi, but his cross was tipped over Rhys Tyler at the far post.
This was encouragement for the Grosvenor Vale side, but nothing more than that.
City were comfortable with their lead and looked dangerous when they fizzed the ball across the surface.
The interchanges between Sean Rigg, Adam Mann and Stearn were aesthetically pleasing and they had potential to cause even more damage.
The Wealdstone players would have been disappointing with their first half performance and manager Wilkinson was visibly concerned.
The quality was there, but the mentality wasn’t, with Hudson-Odoi and Bradley Bubb were replaced by Danny Green and Fumnaya Shomotun.
As expected, the second half started much brighter from a Stones perspective.
They lifted the urgency and started pressing Bath, attempting to reduce the deficit.
It was a resolute performance from the away side at this point, though, not allowing Wealdstone to have a clear opportunity to get back into the game.
The Romans should have finished the match on the hour mark when Stearn used the referee’s advantage well to break away and sprint down the left side.
Raynes was racing down the middle, chased by left-back Payne, but North smothered the shot once it came to him.
It was in the 73rd minute that the game turned on its head as Simon Mensah skipped past four Bath players on the right side, before being brought down by Jack Batten.
The resulting free-kick was bizarrely turned goalwards by Bath captain Anthony Straker and Stones were back in the game.
Then Elliot Charles entered the frame, a common substitute for Stones who had struggled to make an impression in the league.
On 85 minutes, he flicked on a high ball from a free kick and Robbie Cundy raised an arm, allowing Charles to slam home a spot-kick to level the match.
City wouldn’t lie down after a number of strong attacks and two minutes later they were winning the game with Stearn completing his hat trick.
A ball towards the far post was missed by everyone and he prodded into the corner.
This looked likely to silence Stones, but the home side sent their fans into jubilation under the lights and in the pouring rain when Charles swivelled and drove his shot in off the post.