Sep 3 2012 By Jon Batham
RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Wealdstone 1 Whitehawk 1
LEE CHAPPELL’S spectacular strike in first half stoppage-time earned Wealdstone a draw in an eventful match with big spending Whitehawk on Saturday.
The former Stones’ skipper’s shot from the edge of the box cancelled out Josh Jones’ early effort for the Hawks, who might have won the game in a storming first 15 minutes, but they were holding on at the end after injuries and a red card for substitute Ryan James left them with nine men throughout nine minutes of added time.
Peter Dean returned to the starting line-up on his return from the United States while Scott Fitzgerald was dropped altogether from the 16, Mark Knight, whose international clearance had come through claiming a place on the bench.
Something had to give with The Hawks having won all their last six games on the road, while Stones had dropped just two points out of the last 18 at home.
It was the visitors who struck after just three minutes, former Colchester striker Scott McGleish chesting into the path of Jones who drilled his shot low into the far corner.
It could been 2-0 three minutes later when only Alan Massey’s outstretched foot kept out Tony Fraser’s goal-bound shot.
However, Massey was at fault two minutes later when confusion between him and keeper Rikki Banks almost let in McGleish once more, but Stones’ giant centre-back recovered to clear.
And Hawks wasted another glorious chance on 13 minutes when a free-kick into the box fell invitingly for Joe Keehan, but he snatched at the shot ballooning it over the bar.
Stones’ first real chance came on 18 minutes when a set piece saw Wes Parker’s shot blocked and when the ball came back in Chris O’Leary went to ground, but appeals for a penalty were waved away.
The shouts galvanised the hosts and Tom Pett was inches away from connecting with Brewer’s through pass.
However, it needed two diving saves in quick succession by Banks from Jones and McGleish just beyond the half hour to keep the deficit at 1-0.
At the other end Scott McCubbin effort was blocked behind before Stones’ pressure told when Chappell picked up the ball on the right edge of the box and curled a left foot shot high into the far corner.
Chances were fewer immediately after the interval with the hosts guilty on numerous occasions of a wretched final pass, but they were close to taking the lead on 74 minutes.
The excellent Peter Dean won a free-kick 25 yards out, took the kick himself curling it over the wall and against the side of the post. It proved his last contribution as he gave way to Shabazz Baidoo.
Minutes later came Whitehawk’s big chance as Banks’ awful throw out allowed Fraser to shoot, but the keeper atoned by recovering his ground and tipping the effort over the bar.
Banks then denied Sam Gargan from a rapier like counter-attack, before on 82 minutes Richard Jolly was sent racing clear for the only time in the game only to fire over.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men with four minutes left as having made all three substitutions Sammi El-Abd was forced off with injury.
And just as six minutes of stoppage time were signalled that became nine as James, already booked for a crude challenge on McCubbin was dismissesd for punching the ball away.
Extra time was frantic as Jolly had the ball in the net, but was ruled offside, while Baidoo shot narrowly wide, but the points were shared.