Maidstone 2 – 3 Wealdstone
2 - 3
Wealdstone finally got back to winning ways in this ‘battle of the Stones’ at Maidstone’s temporary but far flung Homelands base in Ashford, Kent. This was a hugely important three points that has moved Wealdstone up to 7th position in the Ryman Premier Division table and sets them up for another massive play off clash with Tonbridge Angels next Saturday (3 April) at The Vale. Just as significant though is the fact that for the first time in many weeks, Stones have a whole week off from their crazy fixture schedule this coming week and will allow precious time to re charge batteries, rest tired limbs and minds and a chance to heal some niggling injuries. Once again, though, this match wrought a down side with in-form defender Marvin McCoy picking up a 10th booking for the season meaning that he will now have to serve a two match suspension and will miss the Ashford Town and Borehamwood games in April. Two second half Callum Martin goals and a quick fire first period opener from Ryan Ashe sealed the points for Wealdstone in a match played on an energy sapping surface that was transformed into a veritable bog after heavy bouts of rain mid-match. Adam Logie was slotted in at the right back position, Danny Spendlove made a welcome return to the wing and Charlie Mpi was paired with Callum Martin up front. Stones made the best possible of starts when hesitation in the relegation threatened home defence allowed Ryan Ashe to pounce on a loose ball and he fired powerfully into the net past keeper Andy Walker after only two minutes play. Maidstone hit back with a couple of corners in succession but these were comfortably defended by the away sid with skipper Jimmy Gray and Marvin McCoy in dominant mood in the heart of Stones defence. As the rain descended, Danny Spendlove burst into life with a great 50 yard solo run but he just over ran the ball and Andy Walker smothered. Martin then seized on a poorly defended ball but the move broke down as Mark E’Beyer was just caught in an off side position. With Maidstone’s defence looking distinctly nervy and unable to retain possession Stones tried hard to press home the advantage still further. On 24 minutes, Charlie Mpi had the ball at his feet and acres of space to run into. He skinned his marker all ends up and made for the goal line. But his excellent cross was poorly controlled by Martin and a glorious chance went begging. For all Stones hard work and pressing they just couldn’t add to the score line in the first period against under pressure and struggling opponents. HT 0-1 Wealdstone were made to rue those first half chances as the home side equalised with a ‘freak’ goal on 55 minutes. James Peacock appeared to be attempting to cross the ball but it looped over a flailing Sean Thomas and into the far corner of the net. Stones though broke back immediately and the game became very open and more entertaining as a spectacle for the sparse crowd of 218, with mistakes in the cloying conditions making matters unpredictable. A good Lee Chappell run through the mud down the flank delivered a teasing cross but Mpi headed just wide of the mark. After more pressure Stones re took the lead after Spendlove had created the opportunity for Callum Martin to get clear of a slow home defence and shoot past Walker for 2-1. Maidstone now had a strong spell and gained successive corners and these were only just cleared one effort was hacked off the line to save a certain equaliser. Martin again had a powerful effort pushed away by Walker for a corner and Ryan Ashe blazed over. But from yet another home corner kick Maidstone drew level again. On 77 minutes Rob Lyall headed in from a corner and Stones were facing real anxiety in the remaining minutes of the match. Greg Ngoyi replaced Mpi, then Alan Massey for Ashe as both sides were visibly tiring in the muddy conditions. Stones summoned up another counter attack and the fresh legs of Greg Ngoyi created the winning goal. Ngoyi turned brilliantly in the box and his shot rebounded out to Martin who made no mistake and poked home with 8 minutes left on the clock And despite at least 5 minutes of added time and a scare from a header right at the death, Wealdstone held out for a crucial maximum points haul from their trip in to deepest Kent. Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Logie, Ashe, E’Beyer, O’Leary, Mpi, Martin, Spendlove. Subs used: Ngoyi, Massey, Lavers.