Tooting and Mitcham United 1- 0 Wealdstone
1 - 0
Wealdstone’s New Year hangover continued as they went down 1-0 away at Tooting and Mitcham United. It was once again a case of Stones not being clinical enough in the final third; although things could have been different had Danny Spendlove not spurned a golden opportunity before Billy Crook netted the only goal of the game with a well taken strike.
Gordon Bartlett opted to field a variable 3-5-2 formation which has worked well away from home in recent weeks, with Peter Dean playing as the main striker. It was Stones who had the first chance of the match three minutes in when Alex Dyer stung the palms of Tooting goalkeeper Jamie Butler with a powerful effort from inside the box.
Wealdstone were seeing a lot of the ball in the opening stages, and Ben Gill was next the go close, firing over from distance after a good ball from Peter Dean.
Tooting’s first effort of the afternoon came on 9 minutes when the pacey Tyrone Sealey cut inside onto his left foot and fired a powerful effort from 20 yards which crashed off the inside of the post.
Wealdstone looked to respond immediately, and Lee Chappell saw his powerful effort hit the side netting after a clever interchange with Dean, before Butler saved well at the feet of James Hammond.
Some sloppy midfield play almost gifted Tooting the opener five minutes before half time when Sealey picked up on a loose ball before rounding Jonathan North; however the former Ebbsfleet man was unable to find a teammate with his pull back.
The home side finished the first half on top, and hit the woodwork for the second time of the afternoon on the stroke of halftime, when Rob Haworth saw his towering header bounce off the top of the crossbar.
There was one change for Stones at half time, with Ben Gill being withdrawn and Chris O’Leary replacing him in the centre of midfield. Stones had their best chance of the match five minutes into the second half, when Alex Dyer finished off a neat run with an inch perfect through ball to Danny Spendlove. Spendlove timed his run to perfection and found himself one on one, however his finish lacked any pace or direction and was easily gathered by Butler.
New signing Max Worsfold was introduced for his debut on 55 minutes, with the young Aldershot Town wide man replacing the hard working James Hammond,in the hope that he would add more bite to the Wealdstone attack.
Tooting soon began to take control of the game, and Alan Massey had to be alert to clear a Jay Lovett header off the line as Stones began to get pushed deeper.
The home side did get the goal they’d been looking for on 63 minutes when Billy Crook found time and space on the edge of the box before sending a powerful effort past the despairing dive of North.
Crook nearly doubled the advantage five minutes later but he saw his shot rebound off the woodwork after a neat pass from Reece Hall.
Gordon Bartlett made his final substitution of the match on 70 minutes,introducing Greg Ngoyi in a change which meant that they reverted to 4-4-2.
Stones then began to push forward in desperate search of an equaliser, and Peter Dean fired well over from inside the box when perhaps he should have hit the target after a good pull back from Chappell.
Wealdstone created two good chances in the last ten minutes, with O’leary seeing his close range effort blocked by Butler as he bore down on goal, before a combination of Ngoyi and Cronin saw the ball heading goalwards from a Lee Chappell throw, however a Tooting defender was able to hook the ball away on the line.
Tooting found themselves down to ten men for the remaining few minutes after Rob Haworth received a second yellow for a challenge on North, however they were able to hold on for all three points, gaining revenge for their 3-0 defeat at The Vale earlier in the season.
It was another disappointing away day for Wealdstone, and they will be looking to turn things around on Monday night, with a home encounter against Margate, 7.45 kick off.
Speaking on the Stones Clubcall line after the match Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett said:’ I am bitterly disappointed and today was not good enough by a long,long way. The players have let themselves and the supporters down and they had better deliver on Monday. We need to keep believing and fighting – we have 63 points left to play for’
Wealdstone: North, Hammond (Worsfold), Chappell (c), Parker, Massey, Dyer,Dean, Gill (O’Leary), Cronin, Brooks, Spendlove (Ngoyi). Subs not used: Lavers, Long