Staines Town 2 -2 Wealdstone
2 - 2
Wealdstone stepped up to the plate against high flying Staines at Wheatsheaf Lane on Saturday, despite the loss of goalkeeper Sean Thomas in the first half through a sending off. Playing with ten men for two-thirds of the match, they battled heroically as a unit to claim a point that at the end felt like all three had been won. Striker Davis Haule was not able to take part on Saturday and Greg Ngoyi was the lone striker; Marvin McCoy replaced the rested Carl Martin who was on the bench having been on extended trials with Aldershot Town during the previous week.
The opening period of the first half saw both teams create decent opportunities but neither could find the net. Stones did find themselves under some pressure but restricted the Swans to long range efforts by Dean Thomas and Scott Taylor. But Wealdstone were up for the battle and the tireless Ryan Ashe and Greg Ngoyi were causing problems for the second in the table hosts. Chris O’Leary, who had an excellent game in the midfield, found Ngoyi with a deep free kick but Swans keeper Louis Wells brought off a good save to deny the youngster.
Match referee Nigel Lugg had a busy if not controversial afternoon and dealt a total of eight cards in the match, four to each side – the majority coming in a fiery spell late in the first period when three of the goals arrived. On 35 minutes Swans Leroy Griffiths scored the opener at the far post. But Stones roared back immediately when a David Hicks ball was not defended and Ryan Ashe arrived to bundle the ball in for the equaliser.
The home side piled forward from the restart and a key incident in the match resulted from this surge. Griffiths was brought down by Stones keeper Sean Thomas and was dismissed by Mr Lugg. Fortunately Stones had a replacement goal keeper on the bench in the form of the returned Luke Woods. But Woods could not prevent the penalty finding the net as Richard Butler stroked the ball into the net. Ten man Wealdstone now faced a massive uphill battle but they were not found wanting.
Gutsy Stones upped the tempo and took the game to Staines from the restart and created chances. Just eight minutes into the second period the away side were awarded their own penalty when James Gray was upended in the area. Ryan Ashe confidently levelled matters again, from the spot. Stones ten men continued to battle hard for the remainder of the match and the whole team fought manfully as a unit to retain the point and ensured that there was to be no last minute heartache. Their reward was moving up the table to a merited eight position, albeit on goal difference.
Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett was a contented man after the match, speaking on the Wealdstone FC Information Line he said: ‘This felt like a win today. We had them watched on Tuesday and felt that we could get at them. It was disappointing when we went a goal down but our response was excellent. Again we conceded a poor goal but in the second half we battled superbly well and could have won it when Greg (Ngoyi) had a great chance 5 minutes after we equalised with the penalty. The belief is there, we defended well and our work ethic is outstanding – the match on Tuesday (24 March) against AFC Hornchurch is now massive’
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes (Jones), O’Leary, Ngoyi (Clarke), Hicks, Spendlove (Woods, GK). Unused subs: Carl Martin, Locke.