Match Report: Saturday, 10 October 2015: FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round: Brockenhurst 1 Wealdstone 5
Wealdstone eased into the all-important 4th Qualifying stage of The Emirates FA Cup at Grigg Lane on Saturday and will now eagerly await the draw from Wembley Stadium on Monday lunchtime.
The final score line in this intriguing tie in the depths of the enchanting surroundings of the New Forest may have somewhat flattered the Stones but that won’t worry them unduly as their unbeaten run continued, now, remarkably, extended to nine games
Goals from Jefferson Louis, Tom Hamblin, an own goal , Scott Davies and Johnny Wright secured victory after the scores were level at half –time at 1-1. But the game will be remembered for Davies’ truly spectacular 75 yard strike that made it 4-1 late in the tie. The former Reading midfielder had just entered play as substitute when he picked the ball up from a knock down just outside his own penalty area; looking up and seeing keeper Callum Maher off his line he hit an unerringly accurate effort that sailed over the unfortunate glove man and into the net.
It was indeed an unfortunate calamity for the young Badgers keeper as he had enjoyed an excellent game, making several crucial saves including a penalty stop from Louis in the second half. Maher was rightly later named Man of the Match.
Stones started stronger than their totally unfamiliar Wessex League hosts who looked nervous on the ball and they almost allowed Matt Ball in on goal in the opening minutes. But the Badgers soon showed that they could play and Stones needed to keep their wits about them against the counter
But Stones stunned the home side with a soft opening goal on 12 minutes when Jefferson Louis got up to a high ball well outside the area and looped a header that seemed to be going nowhere, over Maher and into the net.
Brockenhurst hit back after several Stones attacks had broken down and forced a couple of decent corners that were well defended. Shaun Lucien was now the away side’s most effective and dangerous forward and he was able to sling over several good crosses that should have produced more. The best of these efforts fell to Louis on 20 minutes but the big man smashed his header against the angle of crossbar and upright. Louis then almost atoned when he vicious snap shot was brilliantly pushed away by Maher.
But Wealdstone were rocked with four minutes of the half remaining. They were caught out by a quick break up field and when the ball fell invitingly to Mark Barker he rifled a deflected shot past the despairing dive of Jon North. Game, decidedly, on.
Stones play looked immediately more intense after the break and they pressed hard to regain the lead. A scramble in the box almost produced a breakthrough but again Maher was alert, helped by some last ditch defending.
But 5 minutes later Stones pressure told. From a free kick Wright powered a header towards goal but Maher came to the rescue again and parried the ball out but it fell to the alert Tom Hamblin who turned and calmly smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
The turning point of the game came on 64 minutes when following a period of Badgers pressure Wes Parker got back brilliantly to clear off the line to prevent another equaliser. This let off seemed to galvanise Stones who again pushed forward in numbers. From yet another Lucien cross the ball ran free in the box and under pressure Badgers defender Jude Nwachkwu put through his own net.
This set back seemed to visibly deflate the home side who now offered far less in attack and matters got worse for them on 74 minutes when Matt Lowe was brought down for a penalty. Louis’ spot kick was struck well enough but Maher again excelled and leapt across to save for a corner kick.
Scott Davies then made his outrageous mark on the game with the fourth but there was still time for Wright to complete the scoring well into added time with a fifth goal to send the 200 away fans into raptures.
Wealdstone: North, Duffy, Urquhart, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey, Wright, Lowe, Louis, Ball, Lucien. Subs used: Davies, Hudson-Odoi, McGleish. Not used: Cadmore, Hutchinson, Binns.