Sutton United 5 – 0 Wealdstone
5 - 0
‘There will be days like this’ so goes the song by the The Shirelles but although Wealdstone Manager recently admitted that he fully expected blips during this intense and expectant campaign he will be concerned by the manner of this torrid but only second league reverse at a chilly Gander Green Lane on Saturday.
The recent FA Cup and Trophy machinations, together with an ever growing list of injuries are without doubt taking a heavy toll on Stones’ squad.
This was a thoroughly miserable encounter with Sutton United, with a depleted Wealdstone side looking second best all afternoon and sadly the score line was fully reflective of most of the play. Even more worrying than the result was the additions to the list of injured personnel: already out are Sean Thomas and Kieron Forbes, Marvin McCoy did not feature and now Chris Ellerbeck and Jimmy Gray are added to the sick list, both limping off.
At least Alan Massey was back in the side and also making a very welcome return to the squad were striker Callum Martin and goal keeper Luke Woods. Martin was forced to make an unexpected but useful appearance in the second period.
Stones hadn’t learnt the lesson from the close league cup shave in midweek with poor possession and ball winning throughout.
The U’s signalled their attacking intent as early as 7 minutes when, following some sustained pressure, they struck Sam Beagle’s cross bar. But the home side took the lead 10 minutes later when Alan Pouton scored from an excellently struck free kick from 25 yards.
Rob Fitzgerald appeared to be struggling after he went down and this added to the pressure on Beagle’s goal. On 22 minutes Sutton went further ahead when a free run down the right allowed Sam Gargan to head in at the far post, with Ken During being led a merry dance in the build up.
Stones had a decent shout for a hand ball in the area waved away but it was basically one way traffic. Darren Locke and Chris Ellerbeck replaced he injured Jimmy Gray and the struggling Ken During.
Anything that Stones Management had to say at half time fell on deaf ears as they fell further behind after only 3 minutes of the second period as Sam Gargan netted his second goal.
Beagle saved well from a firmly struck free kick but then Stones were further disrupted when Chris Ellerbeck appeared to tweak a hamstring and Callum Martin entered the fray.
Gargan wrapped up his hat trick on 66 minutes as Stones were now faced with a damage limitation exercise that was never part of the plan.
With the away side in some disarray, a new experience for Stones onlookers this season, they conceded a fifth goal on 90 minutes from striker Steve Watts and an emphatic victory for his side in front of most of a grateful crowd of 698.
Wealdstone’s management now have some serious work to do in the weeks ahead and if injuries are long term, as some certainly are, then options may be limited as bringing in players on a limited budget may be out of the question. Potentially, though, players may need to be drafted in on loan to make up viable squad numbers at this rate.
Apocalyptically, Ryan Ashe, Rob Fitzgerald and Jimmy Gray now have suspensions looming. This Saturday’s clash with run away leaders Dartford, who ironically lost in the league for the first time this season on Saturday, now takes on a new dimension and Stones reaction to this heavy defeat could be a milestone in a season that has so far brought so much success and real progress.
‘Hey! Don’t you worry’ said Mama.
Wealdstone: Beagle, During, Massey, Fitzgerald, Chappell, E’Beyer, Ashe, O’Leary, Spendlove, Gray, Ngoyi. Subs used: Locke, Ellerbeck, Callum Martin. Mpi. Woods (GK)