Ashford Town 2 – 1 Wealdstone

AshfordAshford Town (Middlesex)
Ryman League Premier Division

2 - 1

KO: 19:45 | Tue 19th Aug ’08

In their first away league game of the season, last night, the Stones gave a disappointing performance against a workmanlike Ashford side and lost 2-1 in front of a crowd of 278.

Gordon Bartlett made two changes from the draw against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday which saw Kieron Forbes and Graeme Montgomery coming in for Dean Papali and Gary Burrell. As a result he decided to start with a 4-5-1 formation with Ben Alexander playing the lone striker role.

It seemed clear from the start that the formation did not work with the Stones unable to make much headway against a well organised Ashford side. The Stones did create a good chance in the 13th minute when O’Leary crossed from the left and Forbes met the cross with a header that went past the post when clearly he should have hit the target.

Immediately after this, Ashford took the lead when a long ball was played through the Stones defence for Ashford striker, Byron Harrison to run on to and he cooly chipped the ball over the stranded Thomas in the Stones goal.

After 35 minutes, Alexander should have done much better when he was set up by Ryan Ashe on the edge of the penalty area but he blasted the ball high and wide when he should have hit the target.

Half-Time: Ashford Town (Middx) 1-0 Wealdstone

With the Stones still not making much headway early in the second half, Bartlett decided to make a substitution by replacing the ineffective Montgomery with Nick Salapatas in the 61st minute. Within six minutes, he nearly scored when the Ashford keeper made his first save of the night when he saved well from a point-blank header from Salapatas.

Two minutes later, the home side made it 2-0 when the ball was bouncing around in the Stones penalty area and the ball fell to Harrison who scored his second goal of the night when he sidefooted home from close range.

Two minutes later in the 72nd minute, Ben Alexander reduced the deficit when from a free-kick he managed to score from a rebound after his initial shot was saved by the Ashford keeper.

A minute later, the Stones made a double substitution with Dean Papali coming in for Derek Quaye and Lee Chappell coming on for Chris O’Leary.

The Stones nearly clinched an equaliser with a minute left on the clock, when Ryan Ashe dinked a ball into the penalty area and defender Carl Martin headed narrowly wide of the keeper’s right-hand post.

Four minutes of injury time was played but the Stones could not save a point. This was a very disappointing performance with too many Wealdstone players not playing to their potential. However it has to be said that the formation did not help wth Ben Alexander playing the lone striker role. There was an improvement in the second half but not enough for the Stones to secure at least a point.

Stones Line-Up:-
1. Sean Thomas.
2. Marvin McCoy
3. Alan Massey
4. James Gray
5. Carl Martin
6. Ryan Ashe
7. Derek Quaye (Sub: 73: Dean Papali)
8. Chris O’Leary (Sub: 73: Lee Chappell)
9. Ben Alexander
10. Kieron Forbes
11. Graeme Montgomery (Sub: 61: Nick Salapatas)

Attendance: 278