Wealdstone finally lost their unbeaten record on Saturday when they came up against a well organised and very resilient Margate side that defended stoically for the full 90 minutes. And despite Stones having the majority of possession for long periods they just couldn’t sustain a sufficiently high tempo game – high enough up the park – to open up the Margate defence.
Stones now find themselves in fifth position in the Ryman Premier six points behind leaders AFC Hornchurch whom they meet next weekend in an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round tie.
Stones were caught cold after only two minutes play when they conceded a corner and loose defending allowed Charles Ademeno to back flick the ball past Jonathan North at the near post.
More early sluggish play from the hosts allowed ‘Gate striker Phil Walsh to find the space to head powerfully goalwards but his effort struck the woodwork and was cleared to safety – a real let off for the frustratingly hesitant home side.
Stones gradually worked their way back into the game and Tom Pett had a couple of half chances to find the net. Striker Chris Moore then had a better chance from a great one-two with Scott McGleish but the opportunity went begging
The anxious vast majority of the 591 crowd were quiet for long periods as if they were constantly waiting for something to happen before they had permission to make some noise to urge their side on.
The Kent based side continued to look threatening on the break and Stones defence had to be on constant alert although North remained untroubled. New signing Tom Hamblin, who enjoyed a very solid debut performance, replaced skipper Wes Parker who limped off injured. Despite the constant midfield prompting of Glen Little who understandably was not at his best with a three week lay off, Stones just couldn’t make the breakthrough they needed before half time. McGleish shot over when well placed and it was already looking like ‘one of those days’ for the home side who struggled to find the killer pass on goal despite some higher tempo play as the game progressed with Siva in the thick of things and crossing well.
After another slow start to the second period Wealdstone finally moved up a few gears but despite wave after wave of attacks and numerous crosses into the ‘Gate box there was no way past Margate’s brick wall defence.
And as Stones pushed relentlessly forward they left gaps at the back for Margate’s quick silver wide players to exploit but they squandered several good opportunities to kill the game off on the break.
Scott McGleish had a great chance to lob over ‘Gate keeper Craig Holloway with 15 mins to go but he stumbled at the crucial moment.
Stones attacks became increasingly desperate as they fought hard to salvage something from the game but their best chance to equalise was spurned when Pett shot wide from substitute Peter Dean’s great through ball.
It was ironic that Stones were defeated in a match when Wealdstone Keeper Jonathan North had one of his quietest afternoons – his most strenuous duty being to pick the ball out of the net two minutes after the start.
After the match, Wealdstone Manager Gordon Bartlett was in an upbeat and philosophical mood: ‘I am obviously disappointed by the result but I am happy enough with the performance today. We were playing far too deep at times but we are still creating chances and on another day we would have converted several of them. We won the game territorially but credit to Margate, they closed us down and defended well, but we were better than them’
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Siva, Parker, Cronin, Godfrey, Little, McCubbin, McGleish, Moore, Pett. Subs used: Hamblin, Dean, Hutchison. N/u: Bailey, Brooks.
William Hill MoM: Jey Siva