Apr 30 2012 By Jon Batham
Concord Rangers 1
ALEX DYER’s man of the match display saw Wealdstone clinch a play-off spot with victory in their final league game of the season against Concord on Saturday.
The former Northampton Town midfielder, who has missed a huge swathe of the season with a fractured foot, put aside his injury woes to claim a goal and an assist in as complete a performance in the centre of the park as you could wish to see.
His virtuoso display ensured despite several scares from the beach boys from Essex Stones from bagged their spot in the end of season knockout stages and will now head to Lowestoft on Wednesday evening for their semi-final clash.
On such a dramatic day Wealdstone needed a cracking start and boy did they get one, taking the lead on 21 seconds.
Tom Pett’s darting run started matters before he released Scott Fitzgerald on the left. The striker’s cross appeared to be drifting wide but hit the junction of the far post and bar and when it came out to the edge of the box Dyer struck a sweet shot beyond Nicky Eyre’s left hand into the far corner.
For a few moments there was a carnival atmosphere but all changed on 12 minutes when Karl Beckford’ long free-kick found Steve King whose header looped over Ashlee Jones to level the scores.
It could have been worse four minutes later when hesitation from Wes Parker saw him robbed on the by-line by Tony Stokes who pulled the ball back for Harry Elmes, but with the goal beckoning the striker ballooned his effort over the bar.
Reece Harris for Concord and Kurtney Brooks both warmed the hands of the respective keepers, but it was all square at the break.
With Lewes ahead in their final game there was no room for error and Stones fans were baying for a penalty soon after the restart when Pett stumbled in the box, but the referee rightly gave nothing.
However the breakthrough came on 51 minutes when Dyer picked out Richard Jolly on the left of the area and his low skidder beat Eyre and nestled inside the near post.
The 48-goal man was soon looking for 49, but this time Eyre got down well to save.
Jolly was closer on 65 minutes when substitute Lee Chappell on for Pett ran outside his man to slip the striker in, but the shot was blocked by the foot of the advancing keeper.
Six minutes later it was the turn of Jones to excel at the other end with a brilliant parry to deny Stokes and keep Stones in front.
A minute later the Braintree loanee excelled again beating out a shot from substitute Sherwin Stanley.
His interventions proved crucial when the clincher Stones needed came on 77 minutes.
Scott McCubbin’s ball in from the right was dummied by Dyer for Jolly who swept the ball across goal where Fitzgerald looking suspiciously offside applied the finishing touch.