Ten man City play-off hopes ended by Wealdstone

City suffered play-off heartbreak this evening at Twerton Park, losing 3-1 to Wealdstone in a match that also saw Ryan Brunt red-carded. The pressure of the game seemed to affect both sides in the opening exchanges but the Stones settled their nerves on 11 minutes when Sheppard’s low drive found the corner of the net. City slowly began to get a foothold in the game after this setback though, Ross Stearn forcing a good stop from North on 20 minutes. From the resultant corner Brunt had a shot cleared off the line by Tyler. Sheppard then blazed over the bar when well placed before North denied Stearn and Tom Smith. The visitors were now looking to prevent City from building up any momentum by any means necessary and were fortunate to end the half with eleven men. Grant had already escaped a booking for flattening Stearn in an aerial challenge before an even wilder challenge on the same player resulted in just a caution. The second half saw City push the visitors back but they couldn’t turn this pressure into clear chances and just past the hour mark Monakana slid the ball past Ryan Clarke to double Wealdstone’s lead. Then ten minutes later City’s task was made even harder when Brunt’s desperate attempt to reach Joe Raynes’ through ball saw him collide with North and the referee showed the big no.10 a straight red card. After lengthy treatment the keeper was stretched off the pitch to warm applause from both sets off fans in the 2201 crowd. Within three minutes of the restart though City were back in the game, Adam Mann’s deflected shot looping over replacement keeper Paterson. Sensing a remarkable comeback City threw everything they could at the visitors, Raynes, Mann and Smith all seeing chances blocked by desperate defending. With nine minutes of stoppage time their was still time for City to send the game into extra-time but midway though this an overhit pass escaped the grasp of Clark giving former City striker Pratt a simple tap-in and ensuring it would be Wealdstone who would face Woking on Sunday for a place in the Vanarama National League South Play-Off Final.