Wingate & Finchley secured a dramatic 2-2 draw at The Vale to deny Vanarama National League outfit Wealdstone snatching away a history-making FA Trophy run. The hosts created an opening soon after the start of play, Ryheem Sheckleford placed a teasing cross from the left flank across the face of goal which Shane Gore did well to come out and collect. Daniel Green on the opposite flank found Elliot Benyon who had been judged to have fouled Claudiu Vilcu, as his bouncing header was denied by Gore.
At the other end, Ben Pattie’s drilled strike was deflected out for a corner which saw Steve Wales’ in-swinging attempt cleared off the line by Ciaron Brown. David Hunt’s whipped free-kick was met by Edward Oshodi, who skewed his header wide under pressure from Sean Cronin.
Wales’ free-kick was guided towards goal by Pattie who rose well, but was left frustrated by Jonathan North who parried clear. Omar Koroma couldn’t get enough power behind his header meeting Green’s teasing cross, Sheckleford and Hunt played a one-two which culminated in Koroma heading wide again. The home side looked a threat with set-pieces, as Hunt’s corner proved when Brown’s looped header made its way over Gore forcing Ahmet Rifat to head away at the back-post.
A deserved lead arrived six minutes from the break. Wales’ free-kick was met well by Rob Laney who stooped to plant the ball into the bottom corner to set off magnificent scenes in the away end. Minutes later, Cronin met another deep delivered Wales free-kick, but headed inches over the crossbar.
Immediately after the restart, Koroma came under a challenge from Cronin inside the area who was deemed to have committed a foul. Benyon stepped up and placed his penalty just out of the reach of Gore after 47 minutes.
North hurried over to tip Wales’ free-kick from 20-yards over the woodwork, prior to another Wales dead ball situation skimming its way past North’s upright. Hunt’s delivery found Benyon whose header hit the post, but the linesman was quick to raise his flag for offside before Koroma poked in the rebound.
Pattie ran at Joshua Mcleod-Urquhart but a crowd of bodies followed denying a clear attempt at goal. Sheckleford on the counter then squared to Nick Freeman on the edge of the box who fired wide. Green smashed a 30-yard free-kick off the crossbar which allowed Koroma a chance on the rebound, only for Ryan Sellers to make a sensational outstretched block.
The Blues were down to 10 men on the stroke of 80 minutes after Cronin, on his former stomping ground, received two bookings in the space of a minute – the latter for a heavy challenge on Koroma. Just a minute later, The Stones found themselves in front. Hunt’s free-kick was guided towards goal by Oshodi but the ball took a wicked deflection off Laney giving Gore no chance.
With five minutes remaining, Laney’s spirited run saw him taken down inside the box by Brown. Wales, as cool as you like, slotted away from North to force a replay on Tuesday evening at the Maurice Rebak Stadium.
WingateTV: Rob Laney and Ryan Sellers Post Wealdstone: HERE
Report by Khalid Karimullah
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