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Concord Rangers 2, Wealdstone 2
CONCORD twice lost the lead and had to settle for a point at home to a battling Wealdstone side in a pulsating clash at the Aspect Arena this afternoon.
Harry Elmes put the Beachboys ahead with a thunderous 28th minute finish, but the Stones levelled two minutes after the restart through Richard Jolly.
The hosts thought they’d won it when skipper Tony Stokes headed home from a corner with 10 minutes to go.
But the visitors were level a minute later when Lee Chappell’s heavily deflected shot found the top corner to make it 2-2, and that’s how it stayed.
With Concord’s Danny Glozier suspended, Reece Harris dropped into left back, with Danny Spendlove taking his place on the left wing against his former club.
And it was from Spendlove’s delivery that the first chance of the game came as central defender John Easterford glanced a header wide on three minutes.
Stones went even closer three minutes later, though, as left-back Chappell made an over-lapping run to smash Tom Pett’s lay off against the angle of post and bar.
The game was a series of unfulfilled wing play for 20 minutes after that before the hosts took the lead with a wonderful strike from Harry Elmes.
The bustling front man had made an excellent start to the game with most goods things from Concord going through him, and he fully deserved his goal.
It came when Harris’ cross was charged down into his path and he cut inside Wes Parker before hitting a swerving pile-driver into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Stones levelled two minutes after the restart. Kurtney Brooks had already had a low drive turned around the post by Michael Jordan by the time the ever-green Jolly ushered the ball over the line from the impressive Pett’s inviting cross.
It’s Jolly’s final season before he hangs up his boots, but he’s lost none of his predatory instinct.
Concord debutant Jerome Walker entered the fray as a 67th minute substitute and his first real contribution was a strong run into the box and pull back for Stokes, but his turn and shot was bravely blocked by Alan Massey.
Then came a thrilling three-minute passage of play which started on 79 minutes and ended with the teams all square at 2-2.
First Billy Coyne played a raking ball into the path of Stokes and his wonderful first-time hit drew a sublime tip onto the post from Rikki Banks.
But Stokes was not to be denied and, from the resulting James Elmes corner, he headed home, unmarked from close range.
The lead last seconds, though, as the ball sat up nicely for Chappell on the edge of the penalty box and his shot took a wicked deflection off Steve King's shins before looping into the net.
Walker capped a lively cameo by cutting in on to his left foot and curling a shot a few feet over in injury time, but that was as close as either side came late on.
Concord (4-4-2): Jordan; Harris, Easterford, King, Coyne; Spendlove (J Elmes 67), Cowley, White, Osifuwa (Walker 67); H Elmes (Hallett 85), Stokes.
Wealdstone (4-4-2): Banks; Chappell, Parker, Massey, McCubbin (Brewer 45); Pett (Webb 80), Dyer, O’Leary, Brooks; Dean (Knight 86), Jolly.
Echo MOM: Nicky Cowley (Concord).