Carshalton Athletic 3 – 2 Wealdstone
3 - 2
Stones fortunes reserved very disappointingly again in this match at Colston Avenue on Saturday and from a strong position at half time with goals from Ryan Ashe (penalty), and Danny Spendlove, with Wealdstone seemingly in full control they then contrived to concede two late goals. But if Ryan Ashe had converted his second spot kick we may well have been looking at a different outcome and on such incidents games turn – in this case the miss was undoubtedly a fillip for the Robins when they could and should have been down and out.
The defeat now means that Stones have not won a league game since 31 January at Tooting, and the harsh realities of keeping up with the Jones’s in a tough Ryman Football League Premier Division again came into sharp focus. Wealdstone drop to 11th in the table as a result of this latest defeat, but are still able to move up if they can just get their act together with a couple of wins.
On paper, this match was never going to be a stroll in the late February sunshine for Stones with Carshalton going very strongly in 4th position prior to kick off. And with the league’s leading scorer playing for Robins in the shape of the formidable ‘old boy’ Richard Jolly, a result for Stones would be something of a triumph, particularly coming on the back of two defeats. But on the evidence of the afternoon’s action those actually witnessing this encounter will certainly wonder how Stones somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Despite the ultimate score line, and being arrogantly dismissed as ‘agricultural’ by the official Carshalton website, Stones undoubtedly gave an allegedly highly waged Robins the run around for long periods and the home side will know that they took full advantage of some generous late defending and unusually wayward goal keeping.
Stones starting line up had two changes from Tuesday’s defeat at Boreham Wood, with Greg Ngoyi returning from suspension to partner Davis Haule in attack, and Carl Martin replacing Marvin McCoy at the back.
The eager Ngoyi looked very lively on his return to action and proved a handful for the Robins defence from the start and with greater composure he could have scored a couple early on but scuffed his shots.
Stones went behind to a goal after 8 minutes that was as much down to a rare error of judgment by Sean Thomas than a piece of magic from Richard Jolly who lobbed the ball in. But 12 minutes later the away side came roaring back into the match. First David Graves gave away a penalty as Danny Spendlove was brought down and Ryan Ashe blasted home the spot kick. Within a minute Stones took the lead through an own goal from Lewis Gonsalvas who deflected a good shot from Spendlove past Robins keeper Richard Stroud.
Carshalton were rocking now and their Manager Haydon Bird made a very early double change to bring on Adrian Toppin and Barry Stevens.
Then came the turning point of the match. With Wealdstone in full control they were awarded a second penalty kick, when Graves bundled Greg Ngoyi into the advertising hoardings with the defender only receiving a yellow card for his misdemeanour.
Ashe stepped up again but this time dragged his penalty effort wide, much to the huge relief of the Robins.
Stones continued to look comfortable in a less frenetic second period – that was until the 70 minute mark when Stones appeared to lose concentration, although tiredness following three matches in quick succession may have had some part to play. After a succession of corners, Carshalton levelled when Graves atoned for his earlier nonsense and headed past Thomas
Worse was to follow for Wealdstone when four minutes later Dwain Clarke curled a free kick into the net to seal an unlikely win for the home side and a real gut wrencher for the Stones
Credit to Stones they continued to battle to the end and Spendlove was unlucky not to equalise late on with a shot that struck the woodwork but the Robins hung on.
Next up for the Stones is Margate at The Vale next Saturday (28 February) and this is a classic ‘must win’ encounter; the intervening weeks rest, though will no doubt be very welcome for Gordon Bartlett’s battle weary troops.
Speaking on the Wealdstone FC Club Call Line after the match, Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett said: ‘We lost the match, they didn’t beat us. We are prone to silly errors and this has to stop, defending must get better and the desire to stop opponents from scoring – but I cannot fault the attitude of our players most of whom are still learning’
Wealdstone: Thomas, Carl Martin, Gray, Massey, Chappell, Forbes, O’Leary, Ashe, Spendlove , Haule, Ngoyi . Subs used: Callum Martin (for Ngoyi), Ben Clarke (for O’Leary). N/u: Jones, McCoy.