Wealdstone face a tough looking trip to Northamptonshire on Wednesday evening as they failed to overcome the 10 men of Corby Town in Saturday’s 3rd Qualifying Round FA Trophy clash at The Vale.
With the Conference North side currently sitting in mid table, it was always going to be a closely fought encounter against a Stones side who had won eight out of their last nine games going into this tie.
And it was the visitors who took the lead on the hour mark, despite being down to ten men following the controversial first half dismissal of striker Josh Moreman. Stones pressed Corby back for the remainder of the tie though, with the in form Alex Dyer netting his eighth goal of the season to ensure these sides will go again midweek.
There was just the one change from the side which had emerged victorious at Cray Wanderers the previous weekend, with suspension ruling out Nathan Webb meaning there was a return to the starting line up for Tom Pett.
After little action of note in the opening ten minutes, only some great work from Corby ‘keeper Paul Walker kept the scores level when Alex Dyer picked out Wes Parker with a free kick into the box whose header was expertly clawed away by the ex Northampton Town stopper.
Walker was called into action again one minute later, this time saving low down after Peter Dean tried his luck from the edge of the box with Stones dominating all over the park.
Josh Moreman had the visitor’s first effort of the afternoon on 17 minutes, drilling the ball just wide of the upright from 20 yards.
In a dramatic moment the Steelmen then found themselves down to ten men after only 20 minutes. Moreman took exception to not being given a free kick on the edge of box but his protests were deemed far too extreme for referee Michael Blackledge and a straight red was stunningly brandished.
Stones looked to make the extra man advantage count and Richard Jolly soon beat the offside trap after being put through by Brooks, but his effort was too close to Walker.
Having been reduced to ten men, Corby had reorganised well and Stones were having trouble carving out clear opportunities, despite playing some neat passing football.
Town then had a decent chance themselves five minutes before the break, with a counter attack ending with Greg Kaziboni sprinting down the left before drilling a shot across goal which was well saved by Rikki Banks
They then had an even better chance on 44 minutes when Parker tripped Sam Ives just inside the box resulting in a penalty to the visitors. Ives stepped up himself to take the kick, but his effort crashed off the crossbar, much to the relief of the vast majority in the 405 crowd.
The home side began the second half the brighter of the two sides, with Parker flicking a header wide before Pett hit a shot on the turn which cleared the cross bar.
Corby then took the lead on the hour mark. Banks did brilliantly to palm away a close range header from Paul Malone, but with the danger not cleared Stefan Galinski let fly with an effort which the Stones ‘keeper did equally well to block, but with the ball still loose there was nothing Banks could do a third time as Ives followed up and slammed into the net to leave Stones stunned having had so much of the game.
Stones almost hit back within 5 minutes; Sean Cronin hitting an exquisite volley on the turn which Walker saved superbly well at full stretch to his left.
Home pressure finally brought an equaliser in the 73rd minute. Stones had possession on the edge of the box with Chappell who threaded the ball into Pett. The winger then picked out Alex Dyer who danced past the challenges of two defenders in the box before firing low past Walker.
Stones now looked likely to grab a winner, and they thought they’d taken the lead on 80 minutes when Jolly stabbed home from close range following Chappell’s effort across the face of goal; however his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag for offside.
60 seconds later and Jolly came close again, this time running clear having been put through by Dean before hitting the post with an effort that had Walker well beaten.
After a frantic final ten minutes, the best chance for Wealdstone came in the first minute of added time when Chappell drilled the ball across the box, with substitute Shabazz Baidoo missing his kick when well positioned before Parker shot just wide when following up.
The replay will take place this Wednesday 7.45pm kick off at Steel Park, Corby. The Supporters Club are hoping to run a coach to this match if there is sufficient demand – please check websites and forum for details from Monday.
Wealdstone: Banks, McCubbin, Chappell, Parker (c), Cronin, Dyer, Brooks, O’Leary, Dean (Baidoo 83), Jolly, Pett. Subs not used: James, Haxhia, Jordan, Nicholas
Man of the Match: Alex Dyer
Report by Stuart Warren