Lewes 1 – 0 Wealdstone

Lewes 1 – 0 Wealdstone
Ryman League Premier Division

1 - 0

KO: 15:00 | Sat 1st Oct ’11

Wealdstone edged to defeat at The Dripping Pan on Saturday in what was a tale of two penalties. Stones also saw Peter Dean harshly red carded late on, in what was an extremely disappointing and frustrating afternoon for the club.

After Nic Ciardini had put the home side ahead with an extremely contentious penalty in the first half, Richard Jolly had a great
chance to rescue a point for Wealdstone from the spot with five minutes left, however the striker’s weak kick was saved by Liam Mitchell, condemning Stones to their second straight league defeat.

Following on from Monday night’s reverse to Hendon, manager Gordon Bartlett opted to revert back to a 4-4-2 formation, with striker Kieran Knight restored to the starting line up.

With the sun beating down on a perfect playing surface at The Dripping Pan, Wealdstone carved out a couple of half chances early on, with Kurtney Brooks drilling a 25 yard free kick wide, and then Sean Cronin seeing his header from a Jake Parsons corner deflected wide.

Jonathan North was then called into action for the first time of the afternoon on the 12 minute mark, saving well at the feet of Ian Draycott before diving full stretch to his right to palm away Michael Malcolm’s follow up effort after a clever interchange of passes from The Rooks.

The home side were then handed an extremely dubious and controversial penalty three minutes later. Nic Ciardini burst into the box where Chris O’Leary made what looked like an excellent challenge, clearly winning the ball. The referee however pointed to the spot, much to the bemusement of the 736 strong crowd. Ciardini dusted himself down to take the
kick, and although North guessed the right way he was unable to get a hand to the ball.

The front pairing of Richard Jolly and Kieran Knight were yet to make an impact on the game; however they combined well on the half hour mark to put Kurtney Brooks through on goal. The former Watford midfielder managed to get his shot away, however it was met by a good block from  Mitchell .

Stones then came even closer a minute later when Jake Parson’s corner to the far post was headed back across goal by Sean Cronin. Jolly attacked the ball in the six yard box, and although the striker didn’t connect with the ball properly, his headed effort still found its way past the stranded Mitchell but luckily for The Rooks, Steve Robinson cleared off the line.

There was then an enforced change for the visitors just before half time, with Jake Parsons having to be taken off after pulling up short with an injury, and Peter Dean taking his place on the right hand side of midfield.

Gordon Bartlett then opted for a second change at half time, withdrawing the ineffective Knight and handing a debut to Ricky Miller.

Despite the changes in personnel, Stones were still finding it difficult to create any clear cut chances, with their best effort early on in the second half being a header from Jolly which flew just wide after a pin point cross from Lee Chappell.

The home side were looking content to sit back and contain Wealdstone, although they had a couple of decent chances mid way through the second half with Matt Somner heading just wide from a corner, and then the impressive Christian Nanetti firing a free kick the wrong side of the post.

Wealdstone then had a decent penalty shout turned down with 15 minutes left to play when Alan Massey went down under a heavy arial challenge, however the referee waved play on, infuriating the big defender who felt that he had been clearly impeded.

After an uneventful second half, the match sprung into life in the remaining 10 minutes.  Wealdstone found themselves harshly reduced to ten men, when after Mitchell could only fumble David Hicks 20 yard effort, Peter Dean slid in to try and prod the loose ball home however he caught the goalkeeper, resulting in the Lewes players unnecessarily and theatrically rushing in to confront Dean. After a long consultation with his assistant, the referee opted to show Dean a straight red card.

Despite being down to ten men Wealdstone continued to press and had the perfect opportunity to pull them level with six minutes left to play. Massey again went down under a heavy arial challenge from Steve Robinson, with the referee this time pointing to the spot. Jolly stepped up to take the kick, but his effort was saved by the feet of Mitchell, with the loose ball
then trickling just wide of the post.

It was a hugely frustrating end to a disappointing afternoon for Stones, who must now look to get their league campaign back on track on Tuesday night at Cray Wanderers (playing at Bromley FC), 7.45 kick off.

Wealdstone: North, McCubbin, Chappell, Cronin, Massey, Dyer, (Hicks 64), Parsons (Dean 41), O’Leary, Knight (Miller 46), Jolly, Brooks. Subs not used: Hammond, Adjei

Attendance: 736

By Stuart Warren