Wealdstone had to come from behind to book their place in the 2nd qualifying round of this season’s FA Carlsberg Trophy, but they were given a scare by Southern League Division One side Chertsey Town.
Despite currently languishing in the depths of their division, the visitors performed admirably throughout, and took a shock lead on 13 minutes through Gavin Quintyre. Stones levelled the tie five minutes before the break through Richard Jolly, with further goals from Jolly and a late strike from Peter Dean sealing their place in the next round.
Stones were dealt a huge blow before kick off with the dramatic news that goalkeeper Rikki Banks was stuck in traffic following a major incident on the M25 and unable to make it in time for kick off. With no back up goalkeeper available it was up to central defender Sean Cronin to once again stand between the sticks. Stones fans are almost becoming used to the mercurial Welshman stepping up to the plate in vital matches and history seemed to be repeating itself.
No doubt with this in mind, Chertsey tried their luck with a couple of efforts from distance early on as they looked to test Cronin, with Rob Carr sending a low drive from 25 yards straight into the arms of the former Cardiff City man.
Town had started confidently, and they took a shock lead on 13 minutes. Jermiele Johnson showed great skill down the left hand side to dance past two defenders before pulling the ball back to Gavin Quintyre who side footed home from close range, despite the best effort of Cronin who got his body behind the ball before it squirmed over the line.
Stones looked for a quick response, and Richard Jolly had the ball in the net on 22 minutes having been put through by Peter Dean, but the linesman’s flag cut short the striker’s celebration.
Jolly came close to levelling the tie again five minutes later, this time getting on the end of an inswinging cross from Lee Chappell and sending a close range header straight at opposition ‘keeper Jordan Kennedy.
The home side were now starting to enjoy a lot of possession in the away side’s half, and a driven cross from Chappell on 32 minutes resulted in a goal mouth scramble which Town failed to clear before they were saved by the referee signalling for a free kick.
The equaliser eventually came on 39 minutes, with Chappell sprinting down the left before pulling the ball back to Jolly who made no mistake from close range; side footing past Kennedy much to the relief of the home crowd.
Two minutes later Wealdstone had a great chance to take the lead, this time Tom Pett getting down the left before finding Alex Dyer whose low drive was well saved by Kennedy.
The visitors were still looking dangerous at times though, and they came close to edging themselves in front again five minutes after the restart with Michael Blount firing just over the bar from the edge of the box.
At the other end Pett picked out Dean, whose curling left foot effort dipped agonisingly wide of the far post.
Wealdstone eventually took the lead on 55 minutes. Dyer picked out Brooks down the right hand side, with the former Watford midfielder sending a cross to Jolly who headed home from six yards.
Stones continued to press after the goal as they looked to kill the tie off, with O’Leary heading just over before Dean miskicked when well placed after some good work from Alan Massey.
Despite dominating possession in the second half, Chertsey were still a danger on the counter attack and Cronin had to be alert to save an effort from Carr, before the impressive Johnson fired just over the bar from the edge of the box.
The home side did eventually grab a third in the 90th minute when the tireless Dean rounded the keeper before walking the ball over the line to seal Stones place in Monday’s draw.
Wealdstone: Cronin, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Massey, Dyer, Brooks, O’Leary, Dean, Jolly, Pett. Subs : Webb, Brewer, Baidoo, Knight
Man of the match: Lee Chappell
Report by Stuart Warren