Sep 23 2012 By Jon Batham
Rikki Banks Image 2
Wealdstone 1-2 Lowestoft
WEALDSTONE’S interest in this year’s FA Cup came to an end as they were comprehensively outplayed by Lowestoft.
In a game which evoked memories of last season’s play-off semi-final it was the big budget visitors who proved they had kicked on as they won by the same score-line as on that day in May, but in fact should have won much more comfortably.
It was a mark of the visitors’ dominance that Stones produced only two shots on target in the match, one Sean Cronin’s penalty which briefly drew them level in the second half before the Suffolk visitors took command once more.
Cronin returned to first-team duties to face the team he was red-carded against in last year’s play-off semi-final, with Alan Massey moving to left-back and Lee Chappell shifting to left wing with Tom Pett dropping to the bench.
Jack Defty was soon in the book for a tackle from behind on Alex Dyer, but despite this the visitors had the first real opening on 10 minutes.
A quickly taken free-kick caught Stones napping and when Joe Francis cut in from the left to unleash a fierce shot Rikki Banks (pictured) did well to get two strong hands to palm the ball over the bar.
It set the pattern for the match and Michael Frew should have done better for the visitors when sent clear on the left, but in the absence of a linesman’s flag he shot tamely into the side netting.
The Trawlerboys, helped by the slope continued to look the more threatening and were close again on the half hour when Banks could only parry Chris Henderson’s shot from the edge, Francis hitting the follow-up effort wide when he should have scored.
The winger’s next effort was much better, a free-kick around the wall again palmed behind by Banks.
A goal was coming and duly arrived in the 37th minute when Sam Gaughran’s ball over the top found Henderson, who turned smartly to shoot past Banks from six yards out.
It was 44 minutes before the hosts registered a shot and when it came it caused controversy.
Chappell’s pull back found Peter Dean whose shot on the turn struck a defender producing loud shouts for a penalty from both players and the home support, but these were waved aside.
Gaughran’s far post header forced another smart save from Banks soon after the restart.
However, Stones were handed a lifeline on 52 minutes when Ainsley’s foul on Brooks was adjudged to be inside the box and referee Leach pointed to the spot.
Lowestoft protested bitterly, but the officials were unmoved and Sean Cronin stepped up to smash home the spot kick.
The protests continued after the restart with Gaughran ending up in the book, but Ainsley the man at the heart of the penalty storm played a key role in restoring Lowestoft’s lead within four minutes as his cross from the left was swept home from close range by Michael Frew.
Stones boss Gordon Bartlett’s response was to throw on Pett for Massey with 64 minutes played, Chappell moving to left-back in the reshuffle, but almost immediately Lowestoft came close to putting the game to bed as Francis raced beyond Parker only to be denied by another smart stop from Banks.
It should have been over on 70 minutes as Parker’s wayward pass set Francis in again, but although the shot beat Banks Chappell got back brilliantly to head off the line.
Shabazz Baidoo and Nathan Webb were thrown on for Dean and O’Leary with 14 minutes to play but to no avail as Stones tamely bowed out.