Wealdstone 1 – 2 Canvey Island
1 - 2
Canvey Island ultimately came out on top in what was a game of two halves at The Vale on Saturday. After totally dominating a first half in which they played some of their best football of the season, it looked like Stones were going to stroll to a comfortable victory – that was until the sending off of Peter Dean on the stroke of half time completely altered the course of the match. Canvey seized their opportunity to score two second half goals, one a disputed penalty.
After a very bright and lively opening in which both David Hicks and Alan Massey went close, Wealdstone deservedly took the lead on 19 minutes when skipper Wes Parker rose to head home a superb David Hicks corner.
They then thought they have doubled the lead ten minutes later when Richard Jolly headed in a pin point cross from Hicks, however the striker appeared to be harshly adjudged to have been in an offside position.
With the home side now rampant, Jolly then came close again soon after, sending a glancing header just wide of the post after a great cross from James Hammond.
Stones were totally dominating the first half but crucially as it turned out, not turning their superiority into more goals, not least when Alex Dyer was guilty of missing a great chance, when after darting into the box, he side footed wide when well placed.
Despite the excellent first half for Stones, things took a turn for the worst on the stroke of half time when Peter Dean was given his marching orders for a second yellow. Having been booked for a dive earlier on in the half, the striker threw himself into a challenge on the half way line, however his tackle was late and he was given his second booking of the afternoon meaning Stones would have to play the second half with ten men.
Canvey looked to make the extra man advantage count after the break, and after some early pressure they snatched an equaliser on 57 minutes when John Curran lashed home a powerful effort from the corner of the box which gave Jonathan North no chance. Stones now dropped deeper and deeper and stopped playing their passing game that had worked so well before the turnaround.
Wealdstone tried to respond, and Hicks came close with a driven shot from 20 yards, however his effort flew just wide of the post.
Matters got even worse for Stones and on 74 minutes and they were well and truly rocked when Canvey were awarded a penalty, but in bizarre circumstances. Sean Cronin appeared to handle the ball on the goal line and a penalty was awarded, however referee Anthony Serrano didn’t show a card, presumably as he had not been able to make out which player the ball had struck, as if he had Stones would have almost certainly found themselves down to nine men. Rob King stepped up to take the kick, with the former Colchester United midfielder sending Jonathan North the wrong way with his well struck effort.
In an effort to salvage something from the game, Manager Gordon Bartlett threw on both Scott Fitzgerald and Danny Spendlove late on, with the former coming close with a powerful effort from an acute angle which just cleared the crossbar.
Stones were unable however to find an equaliser, and despite a great first half display in which they were in total command came away from this encounter empty handed. They must now pick themselves up rapidly ahead of Saturday’s important visit to Banbury in the FA Trophy 3rd Round Qualifying, but first up is the matter of playing Staines Town on Tue night (away) for the MCFA, George Ruffell Memorial Shield ko 7.30.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Massey, Parker, Cronin, Dyer, Hicks (Spendlove 82), Brooks, Dean, Jolly, Ahamed (Fitzgerald 76). Subs not used: Adjei, Jordan, Beagle
By Stuart Warren