Maidstone Utd 1 – 0 Wealdstone
1 - 0
Wealdstone were sunk at a windswept Gallagher Stadium on Tuesday night, worryingly their fourth defeat on the bounce, and as a result Stones drop to 18th in the league table and nudging the drop zone.
Nevertheless, this was a much improved performance from Saturday’s turgid display at fellow strugglers St Albans City and against a better side but the season long problems of finding the net came back to haunt Stones once again.
Wealdstone laudably and steadfastly refuse as a club to get sucked into a knee jerk ‘spend your way out of trouble’ policy. They will need to understand soon if they can realistically sustain a competitive side at National League level without significant investment to support Gordon Bartlett’s astute management on a comparatively shoe string budget.
Striker Jefferson Louis was one of three players dropped to the bench by Bartlett for this clash but injury issues still affect selection with Wes Parker and Matty Harriott still not available, together with other long term injured including Tom Cadmore
Maidstone’s early play was dangerous. Matt Bodkin collected Birchall’s pass on the right-hand side of the box and juggled the ball before seeing his volley blocked at the near post.
Birchall’s cross from the left was then cleared only as far as Joe Healy, who tested Jonathan North with a decent drive from distance.
May went even closer to breaking the deadlock on 15 minutes when he let fly from distance. His shot beat North but struck the angle of the crossbar.
But Stones started to come into the game and when Matt Lowe was allowed to turn inside the penalty area, United were relieved to see his curling effort sail wide.
Neat play on the left-hand touchline then got Stones most effective outlet Shaun Lucien away from Maidstone’s Callum Driver and the winger’s low cross sparked a scramble in the box before the home side managed to clear their lines.
United took the lead when Paxman’s perfect pass from midfield bisected the Wealdstone defence and May timed his run perfectly to stay onside before sliding a cool finish under North. This was Stones only real defensive lapse all match but paid the price as they did on Saturday.
Stones hit back and Matt Ball got a shot away at the start of the second half but United keeper Worgan made the save.
Lucien showed great persistence to win the ball on the byline and laid it across goal. However, Ball was caught flat-footed on the 4G surface in the six-yard box and the ball bounced off him and behind for a goal kick.
The second half was 15 minutes old before the home side created anything of note. May turned smartly and curled a shot straight at North.
Then a deep Driver cross from the right reached Birchall at the far post but he delayed his shot and that allowed Wealdstone the time they needed to reposition and block his strike.
Maidstone sub Flisher had a good chance to make it 2-0 when he was sent clear in the left-hand channel but North turned his shot behind for a corner.
Wealdstone stuck to their task manfully and Lucien unloaded with a left-footed volley which fizzed over from a narrow angle but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Stones face bogey side Bath City on Saturday at Home
Wealdstone: North, Duffy, Binns, McLeod-Urquhart, Hamblin, Godfrey, Wright (Hudson-Odoi 71mins), Lowe (Davies 41mins), Hutchinson (Louis 76mins), Ball, Lucien. Subs not used: Christian-Law, McGleish.
Alan Palmer Pics HERE