Wealdstone face FA Trophy replay after Maidstone fightback
PUBLISHED: 10:33 04 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 November 2013
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FA Trophy second qualifying round:
Wealdstone 2 Maidstone United 2
A pulsating FA Trophy second qualifying round clash ended all-square as Wealdstone threw away a two-goal lead at home to Maidstone United on Saturday.
The Stones dominated the first half at Grosvenor Vale, taking a commanding lead through Tom Hamblin and a stunning goal from Scott McGleish in the space of three minutes.
However, Maidstone, flying high at the top of the Ryman League Premier Division, showed admirable resistance, with Alex Brown making it 2-1 before half-time.
And they broke Wealdstone hearts late in the second half, Alex Fisher chipping Jonathan North to equalise and set up a replay in Kent on Tuesday evening.
There were plenty of positives for Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett, whose side continue to develop an exciting, enterprising brand of football this season.
They were in control from the start against Maidstone, with James Hammond’s left-footed curler held by Lee Worgan and Tom Pett driving wide of the right-hand post.
Glen Little then delivered an accurate ball into the box, allowing McGleish to send a powerful header towards goal which Worgan did well to tip over the crossbar.
Worgan was in action again when he saved from Little, before Tom Pett’s shot cannoned back off the angle of post and bar.
Wealdstone were wilting under the pressure, and on 33 minutes their defence finally gave way. Stones tore down the right flank, and Pett sent in a superb cross for Hamblin to head into the net and give the hosts the lead they deserved.
Three minutes later it was 2-0, thanks to a goal of genuine class. A flowing five-man move ended with James Hammond’s cross, and McGleish rounded off the move with a clinical finish.
That should have been the end of Maidstone’s challenge – but instead they were handed a lifeline. Steve Watt hit a long pass forward which was played into the six-yard box and bundled into the net without a single Wealdstone player challenging.
In a strengthening wind, the second half produced fewer clear-cut chances. The Stones had to wait until the 71st minute for a genuine opportunity, and when it arrived Jonny Wright should have put the game to bed.
McGleish won a header in midfield and found Wright, whose shot was too early and week, and held easily by Worgan. Moments later, Mark Bentley watched as his header dropped agonisingly wide of the post.
As the game entered the closing stages Maidstone’s Collin rattled in a shot which took a deflection and smashed off the underside of the crossbar.
It was a brief let-off for the hosts, as Maidstone struck. With the home defence statuesque following a free-kick, Collin played in Fisher, who made no mistake.
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