Aveley 2- 2 Wealdstone
2 - 2
Stones travelled to the Thames estuary on Saturday, and, in a match played out in an atmosphere as bereft as the landscape surrounding Mill Field, they shot themselves in the foot. Having control of the game for long periods Wealdstone somehow contrived to concede goals late, very late, in each half and effectively threw away two points in disappointing fashion.
Disappointing, but Stones can still take many positives from this match against a difficult side that were 5th in the table prior to kick off. Excellent work from the midfield and defence was undone by a continuing lack of goals from a forward line that despite masses of endeavour just couldn’t quite find the net when on top.
Stones goals, including a great second half finish from defender Marvin McCoy and earlier from stalwart centre half Alan Massey had seemed to ensure all the points but a lack of concentration at crucial moments let a subdued home side off the hook.
Sam Beagle took over in goal from Sean Thomas who broke down in the pre match warm up and acquitted himself well throughout. Charlie Mpi was restored to the forward line with Greg Ngoyi; Kieron Forbes was able to take his midfield berth following his head injury against Sutton.
The away side took a few minutes to settle in front of a miniscule crowd, boosted by an away contingent of around 70, which was in complete contrast to the previous week at Dartford. Miller’s Junior Dadson shot over but Stones began to pass the ball well with Kieron Forbes darting forward at every opportunity. Charlie Mpi almost stole in front from a good through ball but was squeezed out by Aveley’s big defence.
Stones rapidly took control and seized the majority of the effective possession. Ryan Ashe looked to have headed a perfectly good goal but or some reason the assistant flagged for offside on 11 minutes. Mark E’Beyer who is becoming more influential as each game passes, then thought he had taken his side into lead only for his effort to be also ruled out for offside.
But Wealdstone pressed forward as the Miller’s had to be content with a couple of free kicks in reasonable areas and a wide shot from Dadson.
Wealdstone then won a free kick for a foul on Mpi on the right and, finally, on 29 minutes they got the breakthrough their play deserved as Alan Massey headed in to beat Jamie Lunan all ends up from Lee Chappell’s kick.
E’Beyers firm strike was held by Lunan but Charlie Mpi just couldn’t quite make the time and space he needed to get his shots away as Ngoyi also toiled to finding shooting positions as Stones worked hard to increase their lead.
Totally out of the blue the Miller’s hit back from their one strike on target in the half and on 45 minutes Martin Tuohy snatched an unlikely equaliser to stun the away side.
The home side exerted some serious pressure early on perhaps following a half time lashing from their manager, Rod Stringer. Two corners in succession were defended well enough but Stones were slow to get back into their stride and still seemed to be recovering from the goal blow.
But Charlie Mpi’s electric pace suddenly created an opportunity as he won a corner from sheer determination as Stones gradually woke from their slumbers.
On 58 minutes Marvin McCoy decided to take matters into his own hands and showed the forwards how to find the back of the net. Picking the ball up 40 yards out he cut inside on a trade mark mazy run leaving two defenders in his wake and slammed the ball past Lunan incredibly for his first Stones goal.
Danny Spendlove then replaced Kieron Forbes as Manager Gordon Bartlett felt a new outlet was needed on the left side. This change worked or a while and when Mpi crossed expertly for Ngoyi it seemed the goal was at the striker’s mercy but he couldn’t quite leap high enough to connect. Ngoyi then almost netted with a good turn and strike; his luck must surely turn soon.
Ross Lafayette then replaced Mpi as play became increasingly untidy with some loose balls from both sides. Jamie Osborne soon came on for a luckless Ngoyi as Stones looked to consolidate and play the game out.
Stones appeared to have the game in the bag as the steady Rob Fitzgerald and Massey tidied up well at the back. 4 minutes added time was announced when worryingly the Miller’s gained some key possession in the danger areas and to their credit pressed hard on Beagle’s goal. There was time for a shock in the final minute when the home side smashed and grabbed a scruffy equaliser from an ugly goal line scramble. Initially it seemed as though the assistant had flagged for an infringement but it was merely to indicate that the ball had indeed crossed the line with Tuohy again the scorer. 20 seconds later the final whistle was blown.
A frustrating end to a match that Wealdstone could and should have had sewn up by half time but the single point still moved them up the Premier table to 9th position.
The Stones roll on to Arlesey in the FA Cup next Saturday and let’s hope the striking department can have a deserved change of fortune in Bedfordshire.
Wealdstone: Beagle, McCoy, Chappell, Fitzgerald, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Ngoyi, Mpi, E’Beyer. Subs used: Spendlove, Lafayette, Osborne. N/u: Gray.