Wealdstone 2 Bedford Town 2
WEALDSTONE needed a last-gasp penalty to keep their FA Cup hopes alive on Saturday with the dramatic equaliser earning the Stones a valuable replay with Bedford Town.
Despite having the lion's share of possession in the FA Cup first qualifying match at the Vale, Wealdstone incredibly found themselves having to claw back a 0-2 half-time deficit.
Entirely against the run of play Stones showed their lack of experience in losing possession in dangerous areas of the park and paid a heavy price.
Bedford striker Andrew Phillips giving Sean Phillips no chance, lashing in from outside the area with the visitors first shot of the game.
Things were to get worse though when a controversial second just before half time stunned the home faithful.
Massey appeared to have desperately hooked the ball off the goal line and referee Groves shook his head to the Eagles vigorous appeals, but they succeeded in convincing him to consult with his assistant who confidently adjudged the ball to have crossed the line.
In the second half a Stephen Hughes strike rattled the far post from a rasping drive early on but increasingly it looked as though Wealdstone's efforts and dominance would come to nothing.
But when manager Gordon Bartlett decided to throw on all three substitutes it was make or break time and on came Nick Salapatas, Gary Burrell and Ben Clarke.
On 68 minutes, the move paid off when the youthful and energetic Salapatas slung over a great cross on the right for skipper James Graytopower a header past a helpless Armitt.
Stones then pressed hard for the equaliser as the clock ran down and when an injured Gray received the ball, whether he wanted it or not, his great ball resulted in Ben Clarke being upended in the box by the hapless Jon Darby. Hughes duly stepped up to smash the spot kick in, setting up a deserved equaliser with five minutes to go.