Boreham Wood 2 – 0 Wealdstone
2 - 0
The disappointment of the faces of the Stones faithful as they trudged away from a dank and depopulated Meadow Park on Tuesday evening summed up an abject second half performance from a Stones side that have set high standards this season. A second successive defeat was not on the agenda pre match, but it has to be said that Wealdstone deserved what they got out of this torrid affair – no points and other than a welcome return to the side for Callum Martin as a late substitute, few players came out with any credit.
Wood are an average but workmanlike side; they have struggled of late and had lost to Harrow Borough the previous Saturday. Stones increasingly worrying forward problems of not holding the ball up and an inability to make the most of good possession in the early stages manifested again. This allowed the home side’s confidence to grow and make something of a game that looked beyond them for long periods of the first half.
Stones front pairing of Davis Haule and Ian Hilaire patently did not work on the night but with a threadbare squad also lacking the suspended Greg Ngoyi there are few quality forward options available to Manager Gordon Bartlett to call upon at present.
As on Saturday, however, Stones started brightly and played with aggression, pressing the ball effectively on a good surface. Ryan Ashe was the instigator of a good move into the Wood box after 7 minutes but the ball was cleared. An excellent cross from Davis Haule was met by Danny Spendlove but his headed effort lacked the power to trouble Antony Anstead in the Wood goal.
A pattern soon developed of Stones having large chunks of possession but when the ball came forward it was clear that Ian Hilare was struggling to make the most of Davis Haules intelligent runs and flicks. The ball was continually sent airborne by no nonsense Wood defenders who did their jobs well enough.
Wealdstone’s best chance of the half came when Danny Spendlove managed to somehow retain the ball after he appeared to have lost possession twice, then wriggled free and produced a decent shot that was blocked by Anstead. But the home side were now visibly growing in confidence and finally they managed to break free and brought an excellent save from Sean Thomas at the close of the half as a misty rain fell over Meadow Park.
In a sense of déjà vu, the second half was eerily similar to that of Saturday’s match with Harlow at The Vale. Matters started badly and contrived to creep ever worse in terms of lost possession and attacking ideas. Wood were now dominating the midfield areas and using the width of the park far more effectively than a Stones side that appeared strangely and unnecessarily mentally inhibited.
Eventually Hilaire could struggle no more and was substituted by the surprise but very welcome return to fitness of Callum Martin and although Stones conceded soon after his entrance, Martin’s contribution was very positive in terms of attacking flair and passing into the danger areas.
The home side’s pressure had to tell and following a failure to clear their lines, Stones conceded – ex Northwood striker Sean Sonner, shooting a loose ball past a helpless Thomas with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Sadly Stones lacked the attacking nous to carve out the possibility of a quick equaliser and worse was to follow as Chris O’Leary made an easy spot kick decision for unpopular referee J G Comley. This was not a night when a 4th successive penalty save miracle was going to occur and Wes Daly duly despatched the ball past Sean Thomas to kill of the game.
There was some late pressure from the Blues; Lee Chappell had a good run into the box that looked for once as though it might end in a goal. But it wasn’t to be and Stones need to get this game out of their system by winning the Middlesex Senior Cup tie on Thursday evening (19 February) at The Vale. A tough game then beckons on Saturday at Carshalton – a great opportunity for the real Stones to stand up and be counted.
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Haule, Hilaire, Spendlove. Subs used: R. Hicks, Callum Martin, Clarke. N/u: Jones, Alexander.