Wealdstone 2 – 1 Sutton United
2 - 1
Monday’s programme notes asked the question: ‘Can Stones pass the test?’ and at the end of this exhilarating win against one of this season’s main promotion contenders the many beaming faces leaving The Vale gave the answer.
Stones battled to score a breath taking injury time winner from substitute Danny Spendlove following an equally thrilling goal from Mark E’Beyer that cancelled out Sutton’s shock lead on 72 minutes through Stefan Payne. As a result Wealdstone move up to 11th position in the Ryman Premier table.
Wealdstone lined up without Dartford hero Sean Thomas through injury and Charlie Mpi who was also unavailable. In came Ross Lafayette up front for his first league appearance and Sam Beagle covered between the sticks.
The U’s dominated the opening exchanges and forced a quick corner which Stones defended strongly. But Kieron Forbes countered quickly with a good run to relieve some of the pressure; sadly Forbes went down with a head injury and had to be substituted by Danny Spendlove after only 14 minutes play.
Greg Ngoyi ran through but lost his footing at the crucial moment and the chance was gone. Sutton looked strong at the back with experienced centre half Jason Goodliffe pulling the strings and seemed content with patient build up play to break down Stones defence also employing a long throw tactic that is becoming a common sight in the league this season.
Stones Keeper Sam Beagle came up some pressure with an aerial bombardment and managed to push away a couple of dangerous crosses. Alan Massey and Rob Fitzgerald again looked assured at the back with some timely interceptions and good aerial play.
The home side then began to get some good passing moves going through the midfield with Ryan Ashe, Mark E’byer and the ever combative Chris O’Leary combining well. Danny Spendlove looked like he had the bit between his teeth and was influential throughout cutting in well from the left flank at every opportunity.
Lee Chappell was crudely chopped down by Stefan Payne who was booked as the anti began to be upped. With Wealdstone’s clever movement now looking threatening they ought to have taken the lead just before the half hour mark when Ryan Ashe had only U’s keeper Kevin Criven to beat, but somehow he blocked the midfielders fierce shot from 10 yards out.
Ross Lafayette battled away but was struggled a little to adjust to the pace of the game following his lengthy lay off through injury. Ashe then shot tamely into the Keepers arms following another incisive attack.
Sutton continued to counter but Stones were comfortable as the half ended and should have been ahead.
Stones soon picked up the pace very early on playing down the slope and dealt comfortably with U’s forays and limited clear opportunities with Massey dominating in the air. But Sutton soon began to find more space on the right flank and Stefan Payne looked lively in that area.
Greg Ngoyi then charged into the box, turned and shot but his strike was just over on 51 minutes. But Sutton raided quickly up the slope and their best chance so far just flashed past Beagle’s far post from Payne as Stones flagged a little needing too much time on the ball. The game then opened out more as both sides sensed a goal was not far away. A tiring Ross Lafayette came off for James Gray with 23 minutes to go as Sutton also rung the changes.
Stones were stung on 72 minutes against the run of play when Stefan Payne broke speedily away down the right wing and smashed the ball passed an exposed Beagle for an unlikely lead and suddenly the whole complexion of the game changed. The home side needed a goal and they needed it quickly as tempers frayed – U’s Sam Gargan was booked for a nasty looking challenge in the middle of the park.
But within a minute Stones were level. Makeshift striker Jimmy Gray bravely got a good header back into the U’s box and Mark E’Beyer with his back to goal sent a spectacular overhead kick into the net with Scriven clutching thin air. Game on!
Beagle held a decent looking cross as both sides looked for a winner but the momentum undoubtedly now lay with Stones as they turned up the heat and attacked at will. Ngoyi was then subbed by Jamie Osborne who provided fresh legs and further impetus up front. Man of the match Marvin McCoy was the instigator of a number of attacks down the right with some great surging runs. The young Osborne was soon in the thick of the action as he just shot over with 5 minutes left on the clock. Stones won a corner but O’Leary blasted over when well placed and the chance for all the points appeared to be slipping away as the game entered injury time.
With the last minute of overtime on the clock Stones mounted one last attack. Jason Goodliffe sent a headed clearance skywards as Danny Spendlove raced in to meet the descending ball with U’s keeper Scriven leaping to clear. Spendlove just got to the ball first and sent a spinning ball into the net to set off wild celebrations amongst players and supporters.
A hugely exciting climax, then, to a match that Stones deserved to win on endeavour, work rate and no little skill.
Wealdstone: Beagle, McCoy, Chappell, Fitzgerald, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Lafayette, Ngoyi, E’beyer. Subs used: Osborne, Gray, Spendlove. N/u: Botham, Locke.