It was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ for Wealdstone on Saturday as they were held at home by Ryman Premier basement side Thurrock in front of a season’s best crowd of 703.
After Monday night’s magnificent 5-2 victory over Kingstonian, many people would have expected Stones to pick up three points against a Thurrock side who have only won once this season, however the visitors put in a performance which defied their lowly position and grabbed a well deserved point when switched off defending allowed substitute Matt Pooley to snatch a late equaliser.
There was just the one change in personnel from the side which had performed so admirably on Monday, with Captain Wes Parker returning to the centre of defence in place of Alan Massey who left the club in the week to sign for Blue Square Premier side Braintree Town.
Despite the differences in league position, it was Thurrock who surprisingly started the more confident of the sides, with Ben Smith looking to catch out Rikki Banks early on with a low drive which was saved low down by the alert Stones ‘keeper.
At the other end Tom Pett had the first chance of the afternoon for the home side when he got on the end of Peter Dean’s cross and hit a volley which flew just wide of the upright.
Stones had the best chance of the contest thus far on the 15 minute mark when Dean threaded a ball through to Pett on the left hand side who picked out Richard Jolly in the middle, with Jolly hitting a powerful effort first time which crashed off the crossbar and away to safety with Thurrock ‘keeper Wil Viner well beaten.
Thurrock took the lead on 36 minutes that their possession and hard work deserved. Full back Ritchie Jones hit a great effort from 20 yards which came back off the inside post and landed at the feet of Sam Berry, and although Banks saved Berry’s follow up effort he wasn’t able to hold onto the ball and Charlie Stimson stole in and slammed the ball home.
But Stones finally galvanised themselves and hit back right on the stroke of half time. Pett showed quick feet down the left before swinging in a cross which was only cleared as far as Kurtney Brooks 25 yards from goal. Brooks took a touch before letting fly with a 25 yard effort which took a deflection and looped over Viner into the net. It brought to an end what had been a frustrating 45 minutes for the home side.
Chances were few and far between in the at the start of the second half, although Dean did have an appeal for a penalty turned away when he went down under a challenge from Matt Turpin, before Jolly fired straight at Viner having been put through by Alex Dyer.
Thurrock had a great chance to take the lead on 64 minutes. Smith crossed to the front post with Berry’s goal bound header being deflected behind by a Stones defender.
Lee Chappell spurned a great chance for Stones on 71 minutes when the ball broke to him in the box, but he could only fire high and wide when well placed.
A goal did eventually come for Stones in bizarre circumstances on 73 minutes. Brooks hit a weak effort from the edge of the box which was somehow put past his own ‘keeper by Laurence Yiew, as the defender, facing the goal, desperately tried to clear the ball.
Wealdstone then had two chances to extend the lead soon after, with Brooks hitting a shot on the turn just over following a cross from sub Tommy Brewer, before Alex Dyer fired a 20 yard free kick just wide of the post.
But in a gut wrenching finale, the visitors grabbed their equaliser with just four minutes left, but which on the balance of play was probably a fair result. Harry Noverty got down the left hand side before picking out the unmarked Matt Pooley at the far post who was able to sidefoot home from close range with the Stones defence caught napping.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Cronin, Dyer, Brooks, O’Leary (Webb 59), Dean, Jolly (Magzdinski 76), Pett (Brewer 62). Subs not used: Baidoo, Nicholas.
Man of the match: Kurtney Brooks