Wealdstone had to settle for a point on Tuesday night as failure to put away a number of first half chances cost them dear.
Stones were much the better side in the first half and took a one goal lead into the break thanks to a strike from Richard Jolly; however they let United back into it in the second half who levelled through Kris Newby on 67 minutes. From that point onwards it looked like the Essex side might take all three points, however Stones managed to hang on for the draw.
It was the home side who were the quickest out of the blocks, and in the first minute Scott McCubbin surged down the right before firing a dangerous ball across the face of goal which was headed behind by Steven Sheehan. From the resultant corner Alan Massey saw his header dip just over the bar.
Some neat link up play from Nathan Webb and Tom Pett then created an opening for Jolly on 9 minutes, however last season’s leading scorer saw his effort deflected away by Sheehan.
Jolly again came close three minutes later when his attempted cross deceived East Thurrock ‘keeper Jamie Riley, but luckily for him it dipped just wide of the far post as he scrambled backwards.
The visitors had their first chance of the evening on twenty minutes when Sam Higgins’ diving header from Sam Collins cross flew just wide.
Higgins was involved again just past the half hour mark when he burst into the box following Kye Ruel’s pinpoint pass before unleashing a shot which Rikki Banks saved down low to his left.
Stones had a great chance on 33 minutes when Pett showed great skill to turn past Spencer Harrison before picking out Alex Dyer on the left. Dyer pulled the ball back to Jolly on the edge of the box, with the striker uncharacteristically firing over when well placed.
The home side continued to press and Riley was nearly caught out again two minutes later, this time it was a cross from McCubbin which had the United ‘keeper scrambling however once again luckily for him the ball dropped just wide of the post.
The direct running of Pett was certainly causing East Thurrock problems down the left hand side and he once again showed great skill to burst into the box after beating two defenders, but he could only fire over.
Wealdstone did get the goal they had been looking for three minutes before the break. Dyer threaded an inch perfect ball through to Jolly who timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap before finishing smartly past Riley for his second goal in as many games.
It was the combination of Dyer and Jolly who almost doubled the home side’s advantage ten minutes after the restart, however this time the striker fired just wide of the far post having been put through by Dyer.
Jolly had another chance one minute later as he chased down a long punt forward by Massey, but he could only finish weakly from his unfavoured left side.
On 67 minutes the game was level. Sam Collins fired a powerful effort from 20 yards which Banks did well to palm onto the post before Higgins seized on the loose ball, seeing his effort again well saved by the Wealdstone ‘keeper. With Stones again failing to clear the ball, Reiss Gilbey was next to try his luck with his effort being turned away by Alan Massey. The danger was still not over though and the ball found its way to the back post where Kris Newby snuck in and lifted the ball over Banks to level the game.
United now had their tales up, and Higgins went close on 73 minutes when his powerful effort from an acute angle was well saved by Banks.
Gilbey then nearly handed his side the lead five minutes later when his 25 yard free kick was deflected off the wall back into the midfielder’s path where he tried his luck again, with Banks once again doing well to save.
The last ten minutes were a frantic affair as both teams went in search of a winner, however neither side were able to seize the opportunity and they had to settle for a point in what had been an entertaining encounter.
Next up for Stones is a home encounter with newly promoted Leiston on Saturday before they travel to Lewes on Bank Holiday Monday.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Massey, Dyer, Webb, Brooks, Dean (Stanislas 82), Jolly, Pett. Subs not used: Jordan, Poniskaitis, Nicholas, Hammond.
Man of the match: Rikki Banks
Match Report by Stuart Warren