Wealdstone 4 – 0 Sutton United
4 - 0
Stones leave Sutton shell shocked
Wealdstone stunned Sutton United on Tuesday evening with a scintillating second half four goal blasting and possibly the only person not surprised with this result was Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett who has steadfastly kept faith with his under pressure squad.
Two second half goals from man-of-the match Alan Massey and a goal a piece from Lee Chappell and Ryan Ashe saw Wealdstone home with plenty to spare at the end of an absorbing encounter at the Vale that kept most of the 371 crowd happy.
A surprise start for Callum Martin pitched in as a strike partner for Stephen Hughes set the tone for a night of unexpected twists and turns. Martin, promoted rapidly from the reserves following some impressive recent performances, had the steepest of learning curves against highly experienced defenders but improved gradually as the night wore on and could have grabbed a goal or two himself.
Stones started relatively quietly and found it tough going against an impressive looking Sutton team that looked to play some neat controlled football across the park. But the home back line set their stall out from the start with some tenacious tackling with James Gray making a welcome if unexpected return from injury. In fact Gray, Massey and Carl Martin were outstanding all evening and built the foundations of eventual victory with resolute defending and great aerial ability. Sutton appeared to have the capacity to be dangerous but their forwards were kept at bay and were restricted to long shots with Sean Thomas enjoying a relatively comfortable 90 minutes.
So a hardworking and resilient Stones were reasonably satisfied with a 0-0 at the interval but were finding goal opportunities at a premium with Callum Martin finding that Ryman football provides no time at all to dwell on the ball. But with the big, physical presence of Stephen Hughes providing some good hold up play and flick ons this did allow Martin some freedom to turn and run on occasions.
Stones came out looking determined in the second period and continued to repel Sutton’s forays up the slope. Suddenly Stones midfield of David Hicks, Ryan Ashe and Kieron Forbes started to liven up, find space and play some crisp passing moves and combined with some effective flank play from Lee Chappell and the speedy Marvin McCoy, put the away side under real pressure. The breakthrough came on 54 minutes with a lovely strike from Alan Massey who found himself in a great forward position and gave Keeper Paul Nicholls no chance as the ball arched over him into the far corner of the net. 1-0.
Stones pressed on and looked in no mood to give anything away. Incredibly Massey then struck again 6 minutes later following a great return ball into the area from Ashe. The young centre half found himself in space, turned, and then shot past Nichols with his left foot and wheeled away in delight for 2-0.
A great run from the fleet footed McCoy down the right flank almost gave Callum Martin, at full stretch, a debut goal minutes after. Sutton now realised that the game was slipping rapidly away and brought on their remaining subs in an attempt to strike back.
Martin was unlucky with a clear run and strike at goal that was parried away as Stones continued with a relentless, pacey, work rate all over the park. Lee Chappell took the pressure off with a super run and shot past Nicholls to make the game safe, 6 minutes from time but Callum Martin capped an excellent display when he slipped the ball through for Ryan Ashe to slide in at the death to seal an emphatic victory – Stones first at the Vale.
Hopefully this super win is the confidence boost Stones need and they can build on this energetic and effective performance when they entertain a physical Ramsgate side on Saturday (6 September) at the Vale
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Massey, Gray, Carl Martin, Ashe, Forbes, Hicks, Cullum Martin, Hughes, Chappell. Subs (None used): O’Leary, Burrell, Quaye, Salpatas, Clarke.