Lowestoft Town 0 – 0 Wealdstone
0 - 0
Wealdstone produced a backs to the wall and battling performance at Lowestoft Town to claim a valuable point. Whilst it wasn’t the prettiest of performances,
Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett said after the match that he was pleased about the way his still depleted side defended against a team placed third in the league before kick-off.
Stones made one change from Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over Croydon Athletic, with Louis Lavers coming in for Scott Fitzgerald, in a change which saw Peter Dean playing on his own upfront. Despite the more defensive formation, Stones started brightly, with Peter Dean firing a volley straight at Lowestoft keeper Andy Reynolds in the second minute, and then Kieron Forbes firing well wide after a good interchange with Dean.
After the two early half chances for Wealdstone, the game settled into a slow pace with both sides struggling to create any real clear cut openings in the first 20 minutes, with Peter Dean again having the best effort for Wealdstone, sending an overhead kick straight into the arms of Reynolds, following a trademark Lee Chappell long throw.
The first real action of the half came just before the half hour mark, when Lowestoft’s Stuart Ainsley burst into the box and fired a low shot off the inside of the post. The ball then rebounded straight back to Ainsley but he fired well over when perhaps he should have scored. The home side then had another chance a few minutes later, but ex Norwich City man Adrian Forbes, older brother of Stone’s Kieron, saw his acrobatic effort fly well wide.
Stones were given a scare just before half time, as Scott Mitchell charged down a Jonathan North kick. With the ball loose Sean Cronin attempted to head the back to North, and Cronin’s header was nearly intercepted by Bloomfield, however North just managed to get to the ball first.
As the referee signalled for half time, Stones would perhaps have been the happier of the sides in a first half of few chances.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with Wealdstone looking well organised and solid across the back. They could however have found themselves behind on 58 minutes, with Greg Crane heading over from an Adam Smith free kick when unmarked. As Lowestoft continued to press forward during the half, Wealdstone defended resolutely and were able to limit them to half chances, the best of these being a 30 yard free kick from Scott Mitchell which was fired straight at North.
Lowestoft did create an opening for themselves on 78 minutes when Andrew Cave-Brown got down the right flank and sent over a cross, which substitute Dale Cockrill headed just wide of the post. With ten minutes remaining, Gordon Bartlett decided to bring on experienced striker Scott Fitzgerald to replace the tiring Ben Gill, in a change which meant that Forbes moved to right back with Dean dropping back into midfield.
Wealdstone found themselves under the cosh for the remaining few minutes, as Lowestoft looked for a winner, but Stones defended well as they had done all game. They even had a chance to steal all three points in the final minute, but Scott Fitzgerald fired a 20 yard free kick well over after Louis Lavers had been fouled on the edge of the box.
The fourth official signalled for a generous four minutes of injury time, but Stones stood firm to claim a hard fought point.
Wealdstone now take a break from the league, with a league cup tie away at Ware on Tuesday followed by a trip to Brackley in the FA Trophy next weekend.
Wealdstone: North, Gill (Fitzgerald 80), Chappell, Cronin, Massey, Dyer, Dean, O’Leary, Brooks, Forbes, Lavers. Subs not used: Parker, Yorke, Ogbara, Leggett
By Stuart Warren