Wealdstone 0 – 3 Carshalton
0 - 3
As Wealdstone crashed to their first home defeat on Monday evening, these are now testing and difficult times for a side that had high hopes for a play-off position as a minimum target only a few short weeks ago.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that taking a single point out of the last four league matches will soon see the Stones scrapping it out at the wrong end of the table; but the question being asked by just about everyone at The Vale, presumably including the players, is: why? This Wealdstone team has an abundance of quality – particularly in attack – and yet against an admittedly competent and fast raiding Carshalton side they could barely muster two or three strikes on goal all evening.
And despite bringing in two new players in the form of former Northampton Town midfielder Alex Dyer, 20, (34 appearances, 3 goals) and Jack Pattison, 19, a right back from Hayes & Yeading United, Stones couldn’t change their fortunes following Saturday’s highly disappointing display and reverse at Margate. At least this performance was far better than Saturday’s turgid affair.
But whilst the effort and perspiration is there in abundance for most of the time, the look and shape of the side just doesn’t feel right to onlookers at present and somehow the right formula and system has to be found if poor league form does not tip over into an FA Cup debacle at Chesham this Saturday – a crunch match looming if ever there was one. Andy Leese, The Generals Boss was at the match and must have been rubbing his hands together as he left The Vale.
As for the match itself, Stones did start brightly enough and initially looked right up for the challenge against a pacy and powerful looking Carshalton side that now features the agent led and goal hungry Byron Harrison, but not Richard Jolly.
A good run by Kieron Forbes almost threatened to do damage very early on but Alex Dyer miscued his shot as both sides played fast and furious football in an entertaining passage of the contest.
The Robins had pace in abundance and although the menace that is Harrison was well shackled by Wealdstone’s central defensive pairing of Wes Parker and Alan Massey, down the flanks, Michael Boateng and Chris Henry were causing were finding space and creating all sorts of problems as the half wore on.
Jonathan North was called into action as he got down well to a decent strike as the tackles went flying in from two sides that were physically testing each other out. Scott Fitzgerald almost got in with a header that just eluded the excellent Wes Parker who had got forward.
Referee Muge kept a lid on the physicality with a couple of bookings as the wick was turned up and a goal looked increasingly likely from the away side who now had the edge. North saved well again from the lively Chris Henry as Stones started to give away possession and provide too much space for an eager Robin’s midfield and attack.
Former Stone James Duncan finally broke the deadlock when he rifled home a great strike from 20 yards on 38 minutes to give the away side the lead.
Carshalton went on the attack immediately after the turnaround and soon gained a corner, but then came Stones most pressured spell when they gained four successive corners. Parker’s flick deserved better but the net just couldn’t be found.
In their best period of the match Stones attack persisted with Forbes played higher up the flank and on 58 minutes they had a great chance to equalise when Lee Chappell smashed a first time shot against the upright, following a good cross from Dyer.
Stones brought on Peter Dean and Danny Spendlove as time ticked away to spark things up, but within minutes the unfortunate Dean had put past his own goal as Harrison cut in and smashed a vicious shot across the goal that rebounded off the former Hendon man and past North.
It was game over on 77 minutes as Joel Ledgister volleyed home with another excellent strike to completely kill off any hopes of a come back by the now dispirited home side and the match dribbled out to its inevitable conclusion and a comprehensive mauling for the Stones.
Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett said after the match ‘It’s back to the drawing board with the changes but I don’t think we were as bad as the score line suggests. We lacked a real threat for long periods but they had a couple of good strikes and Peter was unfortunate with the own goal. I need to get the belief back and turn things around starting in the Cup on Saturday’
Wealdstone: North, Pattison, Chappell, Parker, Massey, Smith, E’Beyer, Dyer, Ngoyi, Fitzgerald, Forbes. Subs used: Dean, Spendlove, Burnell. N/u: O’Leary, Cronin
MoM: Jonathan North