Wealdstone progressed into the next round after a stuttering start to this season’s Emirates FA Cup trail when they eventually overcame a stubborn Great Wakering Rovers side at The Vale on Saturday.
In an awkward first half played out in driving rain, Stones found it frustratingly hard to break down Rovers who unsurprisingly defended in depth and continually caught the home side’s forwards offside.
But both sides still had chances to take lead, however sloppy play and poor final balls from both sides meant that several good opportunities went begging.
In fact Stones could have taken the lead within a minute of the first whistle through Wadah Ahmidi but Rovers weathered a difficult patch when under pressure and almost grabbed a goal on the counter when Brandy Mokeni broke free and drew a fine save from Jon North on 23 minutes.
And that was after Wakering had struck the upright after some wayward defending from the home side providing a sharp wake up call.
But 5 minutes later Stones were awarded a clear spot kick when Bradley Bubb was bundled over by Keeper Coey Turipa. Typical of the poor finishing of the half, Stefan Brown’s penalty was comfortably saved.
Worryingly for Wealdstone, Bubb went down injured just after the half hour mark and hobbled off, replaced by Jeffrey Monakana.
The second half saw far more determination and attacking threat from Wealdstone as they pressed forward with more conviction as Rovers were penned back in their own half.
Rovers attempted to slow the pace down with time wasting tactics to hang on to a draw but as they came under increasing pressure more and more space started to open up for the home side.
Stones finally made the breakthrough on 66 minutes with a smart piece of finishing from Fumnaya Shomotun with a strike just outside the area and there seemed to be no way back for Rovers from that point on.
Wealdstone then created chance after chance but wrapped the tie up with 10 minutes left on the clock when Connor Stevens headed powerfully home from a corner.
The ball was kicked out of the goal by a defender but the Assistant Referee had no hesitation in flagging that the ball was well over the line.
Despite almost total possession and numerous late chances, Stones couldn’t make the score line more emphatic.
Wealdstone now enter the draw the 3rd Qualifying Round.
Picture courtesy of Geoff Smith/Top-Pic Photography