Wealdstone 0 – 1 Boreham Wood
0 - 1
Gordon Bartlett claimed poor decision making cost Wealdstone a point at home to Championship chasing Boreham Wood.
Stones were sunk by a Ricky Shakes header deep into stoppage time at the end of the first half – one of few chances for either side in a game blighted by a biting cold blustery wind at The Vale.
Bartlett’s men lost the ball deep in opposition territory and then compounded the error by conceding the needless free-kick which yielded the winner.
No surprise then boss Bartlett called for his team to show a little more nous in their quest for points.
He said: ‘I am disappointed with this defeat but Wood are a strong side and are where they are on merit. Our game management cost us dearly at a crucial time with a minute remaining at the end of the first half. We worked hard and battled away though and on another day we would have got a result.’
The goal apart, Stones gave a good account of themselves against their Hertfordshire visitors, showing grit absent from some of their home defeats this term.
However, in the absence of creator supreme Scott Davies and midfield enforcer Michael Corcoran, both side-lined through injury they lacked the spark necessary to provide the necessary ammunition for front two Jefferson Louis and Scott McGleish.
Davies’ fractured metatarsal, meant a recall to the starting XI for Daniel Brown in the only change from Monday night’s 3-0 win over Gosport.
Kicking up the slope towards the gun turret end in the first half, Stones were soon on the back foot as Junior Morias’ overhead just cleared the crossbar inside the first 10 minutes.
With tall striker Lee Angol a willing runner in the channels, Wood soon threatened again when Daryl McMahon’s free-kick to the right of the D forced Jonathan North to tip over.
It was the start of a busy few minutes for Stones’ No 1 as some devilish corners from the visitors had him pawing balls behind at full stretch.
Stones eventually escaped their own box and created what turned out to be their best chance of the game midway through the half when Matt Ball, playing out on the left hit a sweetly struck volley which produced a flying save from James Russell.
McGleish failed to get sufficient power into an attempted overhead to similarly extend the Woods’ keeper and Stones were soon on the back foot once more.
It was another excellent set piece by the visitors which almost broke the deadlock just before the half hour. An inswinging corner from the right saw Callum Reynolds rise highest and head towards the far post, but Watford loanee Luke O’Nien was in the right place to head of the line and the hosts scrambled the ball clear.
Angol was close with another header, but just as it seemed Stones would get to attack down the slope on level terms disaster struck in the second of two added minutes.
The wounds were self inflicted as Brown dwelt on a clearance rather than feeding the ball back into the Woods’ box, allowing the title challengers to counter.
Even then there seemed little danger until Elliott Godfrey committed an unnecessary foul near the left touchline almost level with the penalty area.
The delivery was excellent once more and after Wood won the first header Shakes arrived right on cue to head home from well inside the six-yard box.
With the slope in their favour and most of the wind at their backs, hope remained that Stones could mount a fight-back, but the hosts struggled to pass the ball well enough in the blustery conditions to exert pressure on a Woods side largely content to preserve their narrow lead.
We were beyond the hour by the time Ball produced an excellent free-kick which finished just the wrong side of the post with Russell a mere spectator.
Godfrey would warm Russell’s hands with another effort from long range before Richard Jolly and Shaun Lucien were unleashed from the bench in place of Brown and McGleish for the last 15 minutes.
Lucien produced a couple of trademark bursts, but the final delivery did not match the speed and so the needed leveller never arrived, meaning Stones drop two places to 13th in the Vanarama South table.
Wealdstone: North, Martin (Hammond 66), Watts, Parker, Hamblin, Godfrey, O’Nien, Brown (Lucien 74) McGleish (Jolly 74), Louis, Ball. Subs not used: Wright, Cronin
William Hill MoM: Tom Hamblin
By Jon Batham
Steve Foster pics HERE