Mar 19 2012 By Ian Proctor
THE largest home crowd for 27 years saw Wealdstone Football Club play their most important match since they triumphed in the FA Trophy during their sporting heyday.
Some 1,400 home supporters, including patron and astrologer-turned-ballroom-dancer Russell Grant, provided a rousing backdrop in the crunch tie against Newport County FC on Saturday, in the second leg of the semi-final of the FA Trophy, which the Stones won in 1985.
The match at St George’s Stadium, in Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip, ended in a goalless draw, which meant semi-professional Wealdstone FC missed out on a place in the final at Wembley on account of the aggregrate 3-1 defeat in the first leg to their Welsh opponents, who brought about 630 fans with them for the all-ticket clash.
Nick Du Gard, press officer for Wealdstone FC, said: “It was a great atmosphere as obviously it was a momentous occasion for both clubs.
“We were 3-1 down and it was a huge mountain to climb but our fans were expectant about what we could do.”
Mr Du Gard said at the final whistle the Newport County players went over to the away end to celebrate and the fans rushed on to the pitch, but the stewards ‘handled the situation well’.
The match attracted a lot of media attention and saw the biggest home crowd, of 2,096 spectators, since Wealdstone FC met Swansea in the FA Cup in 1986.
Mr Du Gard said: “We have had brilliant support all the way through the cup run and we hope we will be able to pick up some of the casual supporters as regular visitors.
“Given the difference in resources between us and the other teams, this was a massive achievement.”
One home supporter, posting under the name ‘Hillsy’ on a football internet forum, said: “It’s been a rollercoaster ride and we will take some amazing memories with us. Well done and total kudos to all who made today happen.”
● See this week's Harrow Observer for the full round up and photos of the match.