FA CUP FIRST ROUND
Wealdstone 2-3 Rotherham United
WEALDSTONE gave Rotherham United an FA Cup scare before finally going down 3-2 in front of a packed Grosvenor Vale in the first round on Sunday.
Gordon Bartlett's men trailed 2-0 at half time before a superb brace by Ryan Ashe kept the League Two side sweating.
The Stones were not overawed by the occasion and their first game at this stage of the famous cup in 23 years with camera crews and national media descending on Ruislip.
Charlie Mpi broke clear in the opening exchanges but was greeted by the on rushing Andy Warrington with the 39-year-old collecting the ball well.
The game was mainly being played in the middle of the park with the home side pressing well and forcing the Millers into rushing passes and struggling to find any fluency.
Ronnie Moore's men had to wait until the 20 th minute to have their first clear chance at the Stones goal when the lively Adam Le Fondre glanced a header just over the bar.
The striker, top scorer for the Millers with 10 goals, had a sight of goal minutes later but saw his shot well parried by Sean Thomas for a corner.
Le Fondre silenced the rowdy home crowd on 33 minutes when he chased down Thomas as he attempted to clear the ball with the goalkeeper only able to strike the ball against the strikers backside and watch as it rebounded into the net for 0-1.
The goal rocked the home side and they could of gone further behind when a Pablo Mills shot deflected off teammate Kevin Ellison with the ball going inches wide.
Minutes later James Gray was penalised for a passback which Thomas collected with Nicky Law firing an indirect free-kick from eight yards out which was blocked by Alan Massey.
Just as Bartlett was preparing his team talk with his side 0-1 down at the break the ball fell to Kevin Ellison who fire a sublime shot from 20 yards out which flew into the top corner on 44 minutes.
Stones had booked their place in the first round after coming back down from 2-0 down at Aylesbury and would need to repeat those dramatics to book a home tie against Luton or Rochdale in round two.
The home side came out firing with the brilliant Kieron Forbes darting through the Millers backline before slipping in the box and handling the ball.
They pulled themselves back into the game when Ashe scored with a wonderful effort to send the crowd wild and raise hopes of an FA Cup comeback to remember on 63 minutes.
Bartlett threw on Danny Spendlove for Chris Ellerbeck and the striker began to frighten the United defence with his desire to run at them at every opportunity.
He had the crowd on their feet on 71 minutes when he picked up the ball with his back to goal, turned well, and ran into the box only to fire his shot agonisingly wide.
The Millers looked to have put the tie to bed with eight minutes to go when Drewe Broughton headed in for 1-3 from close range.
But Ashe popped up in the box yet again, cut back and curled another marvellous goal into the top corner in the last minute of normal time to set up a grandstand finish.
Stones pushed on and forced a number of corners in the four minutes of added time but the Millers defence held firm to condemn the home side to a 2-3 defeat.
In a blood and thunder second half, Bartlett's men can hold their heads high after this showing where they severly tested the League Two promotion candidates.
WEALDSTONE: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O'Leary, Mpi (Lafayette 86 mins), Ellerbeck (Spendlove 60 mins), E'Beyer. Subs not used: Beagle, Fitzgerald, During, Osborne. Booked: O'Leary (45 mins), Gray (67 mins). Sent-off: None.
ROTHERHAM UNITED: Warrington, Tonge, Harrison, Sharps, Fenton, Law (Warne 46 mins), Ellison, Broughton, Nicholas (Brogan 76 mins), Mills, Le Fondre. Subs not used: Annerson, J Taylor, Lynch, R Taylor. Booked: Nicholas (73 mins), Brogan (90 mins). Sent-off: None.
SHOTS ON TARGET
Wealdstone 7 Rotherham 8
SHOTS OFF TARGET
Wealdstone 3 Rotherham 3
Wealdstone 9 Rotherham 10
Wealdstone 11 Rotherham 11