Match Report: Monday, 10 August 2015: National League South: Wealdstone 1 Concord Rangers 2:
Stones endured another reverse going down to Concord Rangers at The Vale last night in a keenly contested match, the starting eleven from Saturday’s defeat at Bath City was tweaked with Carl Martin slotting into the back four to partner Tom Hamblin at the heart of the defence with Michael Corcoran moving into midfield and Dan Brown dropping down to the bench.
With the Stones kicking towards the Bulla Stand there was little between the sides during the opening exchanges, as the game settled down Shaun Lucien was the main attacking outlet with his pace and trickery which bemused former Stones James Hammond playing at right back for the visitors including an early booking to stop the flying wide player. Indeed it was from some excellent work from Lucien cutting in from the left and delivering a peach of cross to Josh Hutchinson who saw his smart header crash against the bar and away with Conor Gough the visiting keeper looking on.
As with Saturday slightly against the run of play the visitors took the lead when Carl Martin challenged for the ball in the middle of the park and whilst on the ground seemed to be impeded by the Rangers player in getting to the loose ball which was quickly worked into the left channel where there was acres of space as Matt Bevans had moved in-field to cover the absent Martin. The ball was taken to the goal line and whipped in at pace at head height where from a yard the onrushing forward put a smart header past Jonathan North.
The goal had the effect to make the game more open with Stones looking to get back on terms and the visitors keen to build on their unlikely lead. Calcutt made a strong run in the right channel and whipped in a cross which was met by the on-rushing Hutchinson breaking between the visitors centre backs but his first time effort was wide of the right upright. That man Lucien again teased the visiting defence on the left before letting rip with a powerful shot which Clough managed to get a touch to push it on to the foot of the post and away for a corner. The equaliser eventually arrived just before the break, the visitors had possession of the ball and delivered a deep dangerous cross from the left into the Stones box which was expertly dealt with by North palming the ball to Case who in-turn fed Lucien who set-off on another mazy run into the opponents half, an astute pass in to Corcoran who then played a simple ball through to Godfrey who calmly placed the ball to the keepers right and into net to the delight of the home fans.
On balance Stones had the better of the first 45 minutes and looked quite comfortable in possession and where looking the slightly better of the two teams.
The visitors kicked off the second half and were immediately on the attack, they capitalised on this quick start by nicking their second goal when a corner from the left was head away by the Stones defence back to Ben Greenhalgh who put in a speculative cross which everyone appeared to miss with the ball nestling in Jonathan North’s goal.
Stones continued to battle to get back on even terms with little success, Davis replaced Corcoran and Hudson-Odoi replaced Calcutt, the final throw of the dice saw Urquhart replace Case as Stones went into a 3-5-2 formation looking for an equaliser. Lots of huff and puff but no final product which troubled Gough in the visitors goal.
On to Saturday when we welcome Eastbourne Borough to The Vale kick-off 3.00pm, Parker and Ball will be available having served their suspensions. Watts, Cadmore, Binns & Hope may also be available.
Team: North, Bevans, Martin, Hamblin, Case, Godfrey, Wright, .Corcoran, Calcutt, Hutchinson & Lucien Subs (used)Davie, Hudson-Odoi & Urquhart. Not used Brown & Lynch