Cray Wanderers 2 – 1 Wealdstone
2 - 1
Wealdstone suffered their third defeat in a row on Tuesday night at Cray Wanderers. It was another night full of frustration for Stones, who had the chances to claim at least a point from this encounter, most notably an effort from Richard Jolly which seemingly crossed the line but was not given by the referee or his assistant.
There were three changes from the side which had lost at Lewes on Saturday, with James Hammond and Danny Spendlove returning to the side, as well as a first start for new signing Ricky Miller,
Miller and Spendlove were in the thick of the action early on, when after Miller was hacked down on the corner of the box, Spendlove curled the resultant free kick into the box where defender Arron Day nearly turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Chris O’Leary, however Cray ‘keeper Andy Walker did well to palm away.
Stones ‘keeper Jonathan North then excelled at the other end two minutes later, producing an excellent one handed save to turn Chris Saunders’s header round the post after a cross from Jack Clark.
It proved to be just a temporary respite though, when the resultant corner was headed back across goal into the path of Lewis Perkins who drilled the ball through a crowd of players into the back of the net to put the home side 1-0 up.
Wealdstone responded well though, and they will feel they perhaps should have had a penalty when Richard Jolly’s powerful effort appeared to strike the arm of a defender; however Stones had to settle for a corner.
Jolly had another effort soon after, hitting a spectacular volley from the edge of the box which flew just over the crossbar
Cray were then nearly gifted a second on the half hour mark when James Hammond sold North short with a back header, however the former Watford ‘keeper just managed to beat Perkins to the loose ball.
Saunders had another chance for the hosts with five minutes left of the first half, letting fly with an effort from the corner of the box which flew just wide.
The second half began in a lively and controversial fashion, when after a free kick was played into the box, it appeared that Richard Jolly had scrambled the ball over the line, however the referee adjudged that the ball had been cleared off the line rather than from behind it.
Lee Chappell then nearly gave Stones the lead just before the hour mark, when after Chris O’Leary was tripped on the edge of the box, the Wealdstone captain stepped up to curl a superb effort which unfortunately crashed off the bar and away to safety.
After pressing Wanderers back for first half hour of the second half, sloppy play saw Stones find themselves 2 goals down on 73 minutes. A cross field pass from James Hammond was intercepted by Sam Long who surged forward before threading the ball to an unmarked Jack Clark who slotted past North.
Wealdstone did respond five minutes later though when Richard Jolly was put through on goal by Alex Dyer. The striker still had plenty to do but managed to hold off the defender before side footing past Walker.
The goal gave Stones a lift, and Dyer came close to snatching an equaliser on 83 minutes, seeing his 20 yard effort deflected just
wide of the post.
Substitute Peter Dean then came close with 3 minutes left on the clock; however his shot from close range lacked the power to beat Walker after a good move involving Chappell and Hicks.
Walker then made a great stop deep into injury time, blocking Jolly’s close range effort from an acute angle after he had been found by Chappell’s pass.
It was to be the last action of what had been another all too familiar frustrating night for Stones, who now look to pick themselves up for the visit of Lowestoft Town on Saturday.
North, Hammond, Chappell, Cronin, Massey, Dyer, Brooks (Hicks 81), O’Leary, (Adjei 73), Miller, (Dean 81) Jolly, Spendlove. Subs not used: Locke, Parsons
By Stuart Warren