Canvey Island 1 – 1 Wealdstone
1 - 1
In a physical and bruising encounter in the freezing cold flatlands of the Thames estuary on Saturday , Stones continued to show the effects of their long layoff but still gained a welcome point despite having taken a 50th minute lead through Callum Martin. But Stones later conceded from a twice taken penalty and as a result they drop one place in the Ryman Premier table to 8th but remarkably are only 5 points away from second placed Hastings United.
In a match that saw a physical Gulls side punished with 6 yellow cards and a sending off, Stones gave a debut to loan midfield signing from MK Dons, David King, and, perhaps more significantly, welcomed back goal keeper Sean Thomas from a very lengthy spell out of the team through injury.
And Thomas showed why he is first choice keeper with an outstanding save late in the second half that prevented defeat as, frustratingly, Stones continue to struggle to find the net consistently, even though striker Callum Martin’s goal threat and confidence grows match by match.
Wealdstone Manager, Gordon Bartlett, knows his side are under achieving at present and since the heights of the Rotherham Cup performance were reached last November they have either performed inconsistently or have not played at all due to ever present winter snow, ice and waterlogged pitches. Stones are now fully into catch up mode and it will be hardly surprising if, as the Stones Boss describes:’ there will be hiccups along the way’. At least Stones are still closely in touch with the play-off contenders as they effectively start the season again, and remain with several games in hand over their rivals. Fixtures will now come thick and fast – three matches are scheduled in this coming week alone and they face a testing time with limited squad numbers.
As for the match itself the first period was somewhat nondescript with little goal mouth action that is apart from Callum Martin’s attempted lobbed effort that was just over and some enterprising flank play from the lively Billy Gibson. Martin had a goal ruled out for offside as the Gulls came back into the match towards the end of a bruising half when they ought to have taken the lead but struck wide of Thomas’ post. New signing David King, 19, will understandably take time to adjust to the pace and physicality of Ryman cut and thrust football.
The second half burst into life as early as 5 minutes in. From Gibson’s great run, Ryan Ashe crafted a clever ball to Callum Martin who coolly poked the ball through keeper James Bastin’s legs.
Stones looked to take full control as Danny Spendlove , who had an excellent match, cut in toward goal but was scythed down just outside the area as the ball spun out to Martin who netted. But the referee frustratingly chose to call play back and the Gull’s centre half was sent off with a second yellow as Stones questioned why play was not allowed to continue as they had clear advantage.
As so often happens in these circumstances, Canvey now faced with playing the remaining 30 minutes of the match with 10 men suddenly upped their game and the impetus shifted the home side’s way. And with 15 minutes remaining Alan Massey’s challenge in the area wrought a clear penalty award. Sean Thomas heroically saved the spot kick but was infuriatingly adjudged to have moved off his line and the retaken kick was put away for 1-1.
Wealdstone rung the changes in an effort to spark a winner with Greg Ngoyi and Charlie Mpi eventually coming on; in between ex QPR man Sean Thomas brought off an outstanding save to keep his side in the match.
Wealdstone face a trip to Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday (2 February) and then Tonbridge in the League Cup on Thursday before a long, long awaited home match with Waltham Abbey next Saturday (6 Feb) at St George’s Stadium, The Vale.
Weather permitting…of course!
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Massey, Gray, Chappell, Ashe, King, Spendlove, Gibson, O’Leary, Martin. Subs used: Ngoyi, Mpi. N/u: E’Beyer, Beagle (GK) 4 subs only available.