Wealdstone 0 – 0 Bury Town
0 - 0
Despite huge pressure and almost total dominance and possession of the ball in the second half of this entertaining match on Saturday, Stones couldn’t deliver the break through, and, in the final analysis, had only themselves to blame for not taking all three points from an in-form Bury side.
A missed penalty at a crucial stage of the match just before half-time certainly didn’t help Wealdstone’s cause when Danny Burnell’s spot kick was well saved by Bury’s excellent goal keeper Marcus Garnham. Stones main prowess was in defence where Alan Massey and Wes Parker are forming a very solid partnership, although Kieron Forbes had an outstanding game and justifiably won the man-of-the-match accolade.
On an afternoon when the attendance at the St George’s Stadium was pleasingly swelled by ‘Non League Day’ Premiership and Championship fans, this encounter was nevertheless always a fascinating and very watchable contest, with both sides attempting to play good football.
Stones Manager, Gordon Bartlett, was bordering on apoplexy after the match and clearly felt his players had thrown away two very valuable points but is again an indication of the high standards he has set for himself and his players this season. But this Bury Town side were certainly no mugs and it was easy to see why they are unbeaten this term having got promoted last season and have rapidly adjusted to the higher level.
The early exchanges were even as Stones kicked up the slope and Danny Burnell, playing up front again in place of the injured Greg Ngoyi, was unlucky not to do more damage after 6 minutes.
But The Blues soon began to gain a foothold in the midfield and were soon playing some neat passing football across the park and gaining increasing possession, pegging Stones back for long periods. Stones stopper Jonathan North had to be alert on several occasions from high balls although clear shooting chances were severely restricted by a solid home rearguard. Forbes then switched sides of the pitch with Peter Dean and began to find a little more room on the left flank and was using his restored pace to unsettle the Bury defence. It was Forbes that was heavily involved in a super flowing move mid half that Lee Chappell couldn’t quite finish off.
A decent penalty shout by turned down as Chris O’Leary appeared to be upended in the box and then Scott Fitzgerald cheekily nicked the ball in the midfield and raced toward goal but frustratingly the end result was merely a corner kick. Stones thought they had got the break they craved on 41 minutes when Wes Parker was unceremoniously pushed over in the box and Referee immediately pointed to the spot. To his credit Danny Burnell grabbed the ball and looked determined to break his goal drought but appeared to rush his strike and Garnham read the direction well and pushed away with relative ease. Bury immediately countered but the danger was again cleared by the towering Alan Massey who stuck to his man all afternoon.
Stones looked a different side after the break, upped the tempo and closed down far more aggressively. Playing down the favoured slope, Peter Dean put over a great cross that just eluded his attacking colleagues after only one minute. Then Dean was in the thick of the action a few moments later with a firm strike that Garnham could only parry – Burnell couldn’t quite reach the loose ball.
Stones literally pummelled a now tense away side; Forbes was unlucky with a vicious cross- shot that was tipped over and then Burnell tried an ambitious but decent effort from fully 35 yards, then Forbes went close yet again this time with a header. On 65 minutes Greg Ngoyi, still clearly sporting a damaged eye, came on for Burnell to great applause from the vast majority of the 504 crowd, as Stones searched for the elusive winner. Wealdstone’s best chance came a minute after Ngoyi’s entrance, when Fitzgerald finally got past Garnham but somehow his goal bound shot was blocked by a keeper that was more than earning his afternoon’s wages.
Both sides rung the changes and Bury looked the more threatening in the latter stages. The highly experienced former Ipswich and Crystal Palace striker James Scrowcroft came on for The Blues for the final few minutes and his economy with the ball provided the base for some penetrating runs to trouble Stones who had pushed up and were now vulnerable to the counter punch. In an alarming spell for Stones, Town’s Sam Reed got clear and arrowed in on goal but Massey did enough to close him down and it was a point apiece.
Stones actually moved up one place in the table with this hard fought draw but will know that it should have been a win; Gordon Bartlett will be looking for an improvement from his players on Tuesday at Billericay Town in another formidable clash.
Wealdstone: North, Lavers, Chappell, Parker, Massey, Brooks, Dean, O’Leary, Burnell, Fitzgerald, Forbes. Subs used: Ngoyi, Spendlove. N/u: Ashe, Cronin, Thomas (GK)
MoM: Kieron Forbes