Despite a much improved performance for the majority of this ‘must win’ game , Wealdstone’s recent poor run continued at the normally happy hunting ground that is Kingsmeadow on Saturday. Stones dominated for virtually the whole of a good first half and for ten minutes of the second but once the home side burgled a goal with literally their first serious on target effort on 66 minutes, the away side’s fortitude and confidence seemed to ebb away.
Although already a goal down, Stones also had the over rated advantage of playing against 10 men for the last 20 minutes as K’s Adam Green walked for a second yellow card.
But any neutral observer at this entertaining match played on a fine surface would reach the conclusion that Wealdstone certainly do not have a crisis on their hands – just currently no end product from some excellent approach play. This was certainly the case during a strong first 45 minutes for the away side as they moved the ball around well all over the park but just couldn’t find the vital breakthrough to beat K’s competent custodian, Rob Tolfrey.
Stones made several changes for this important clash, in for starts came James Hammond, Aaron Tumwa and Nathan Webb; all performed well replacing injured stalwarts Chris O’Leary, Wes Parker whilst Kurtney Brooks was on the bench.
The K’s programme notes made much of their lamentable record against the Stones – only one win in the last ten encounters and no doubt the home team talk would have this in mind as the 120 travelling Stones fans were in a mood of some expectancy pre match.
Early doors it was K’s that applied pressure with an off target strike from skipper Aaron Goode to show for it. Stones soon started to assert themselves with the midfield working well including Scott McCubbin in an unfamiliar central role. It was McCubbin that broke well and provided the first of several decent chances for Richard Jolly but the goal ace was not at his sharpest all match.
The key difference to Stones play was that they consistently pressed the ball and attacked in numbers, always forcing Kingstonian into mistakes as they harried and chased effectively through the middle. Jolly spurned a good opportunity on 15 minutes and then Tom Pett who also looked far livelier than of late blazed over. A great Pett ball into the box was then ballooned over by Jolly whose luck seemed out.
Stones vociferous fans momentarily celebrated as Chris Moore found the net but he was called back for an offside infringement as the away side impressed and continued to control the tempo of the game. Matters became feistier as the tackles went in – Moore was booked with K’s Adam Green who was later to see red.
So despite having far greater possession than their hosts and looking threatening with it, the feeling at the break was that Stones needed to find the net whilst in the ascendency.
And so it proved as Ks picked up the pace and began to use the width of the pitch to better effect once Stones tempo wilted a little. Even so Stones still attacked with some venom early on and a Jolly strike could only be parried by Tolfrey. Then Lee Chappell’s excellent run and cross deserved someone to get on the end of it.
But Stones were rocked on 66 minutes when a K’s attack finally caused serious problems for the Stones back line who allowed Matt Pattison a strike on target that scuffed past Rikki Banks for 0-1 .
Wealdstone visibly dropped off whilst the home side sensed the rare possibility of turning over Stones who seemed increasingly incapable of making the break through themselves.
Stones gained an advantage when Green was sent packing for an illegal challenge but it had little effect as Gordon Bartlett’s men struggled to lift themselves from the blow of conceding.
One or two chances did present themselves as Stones forward efforts became increasingly frantic – Alex Dyer was desperately unlucky to see his header cleared off the line without even a corner to show for it. With the home side defending in numbers they relied on occasional counter attacks as Stones pushed forward leaving gaps to be exploited.
K’s netted a second goal with 11 minutes remaining with an overhead volley from Andre McCollin that deceived Banks with a vicious bounce. It was effectively game over as Wealdstone’s fight was bled out of them having had so much of the previous action
Stones brought on all their subs but it was too no avail as Kingstonian were able to see out the match and celebrate a rare victory and, no doubt, all the sweeter for it.
As a result of this defeat Stones drop to 5th in the table with monied front runners Whitehawk now eleven points clear at the top of the Ryman Premier table as they no doubt reflect with some satisfaction on the fruits of their investment. Stones need to regain the momentum to get them back up there challenging and quickly.
Wealdstone: Banks, Hammond, Chappell, Tumwa, Cronin, Dyer, Webb, McCubbin, Moore, Jolly, Pett Subs used: Dean, Brooks, James. N/u: Parker, Haxia (GK)
Attendance: 451 (120 Wealdstone)