Wealdstone 0 – 0 Tonbridge Angels
0 - 0
Wealdstone had to settle for a point after a frustrating evening at The Vale, in which Peter Dean missed an injury time penalty. Whilst it will be particularly disappointing for Stones, they are still very much in the mix for a playoff place and still have a decent chance of a top five finish which seemed virtually impossible just a few weeks ago.
The big news before kick off was that manager Gordon Bartlett had signed highly rated Watford striker Gavin Massey on loan until the end of the season. Massey, who came through the academy at Vicarage Road is held in high regard by the Watford coaching staff and has already made 5 appearances for the first team. He came in from the start for this crucial tie against promotion chasing Tonbridge Angels in place of Joe Benjamin who picked up a thigh injury in Saturday’s win over table toppers Sutton Utd.
Massey was involved in the thick of the action right from the off, cutting inside from the left and firing a shot just wide from 20 yards with just two minutes played.
Tonbridge nearly took the lead just two minutes later though, when a free kick was fired into the box, Carl Rook rose highest to send a flicked header goalwards. It was a fairly tame effort but North somehow fumbled the effort onto the post, and in the scramble that ensued John Beales fired just wide.
Gavin Massey was beginning to show the pace which has made him such hot property, and he used this to good effect on 14 minutes, racing clear of the Angels backline and firing just the wrong side of the post.
Stones had seemingly found their rhythm, and Alex Dyer was next to go close, firing just wide after a clever interchange with Peter Dean.
Tonbridge were then nearly gifted an opener on 23 minutes, when Alan Massey failed to clear his lines properly, Rook was presented with a great opportunity, however Massey made amends by throwing himself in the way of the striker’s shot.
The game was now becoming stretched as both sides looked to get the ball forward quickly, and Danny Spendlove had a good chance for Stones on 35 minutes, beating his man down the right flank and seeing his shot from the edge of the box deflected away to safety. Kurtney Brooks, who seems to improve game by game, then saw his dipping 20 yard effort fly just over the bar.
The visitors then had a chance of their own on the brink of half time, when Lewis Taylor burst down the left hand side and pulled the ball back to Adrian Stone whose goal bound effort was scrambled off the line by a combination of Alan Massey and Wes Parker.
The second half again began at a quick pace, although neither side were able to fashion any chances until 58 minutes when Peter Dean shot straight at Angel’s ‘keeper Lee Worgan from the edge of the box. A succession of corners then followed but Stones were unable to capitalise.
Stones were then forced to make a change on 64 minutes, with Wes Parker picking up a painful looking injury, and being replaced by Nikki Ahamed in a change which meant there was a reshuffle of the side with Ahamed playing on the right, and Chappell reverting to his more customary left back position.
Alex Dyer had once again been enjoying an effective game in the centre of the park, and he came close to opening the scoring on 75 minutes, firing just wide from 20 yards after good work from substitute Ahamed.
Tonbridge’s Danny Walder had been walking a tightrope after being booked for a lunge on Spendlove in the first half, and the fullback picked up his second booking for a late challenge on Alan Massey. It seemed to be a clear booking, although a member of the Angel’s coaching staff clearly objected and was sent to the dressing room for his protest.
Angel’s then seemed to completely lose their discipline, and Chris Piper was next to go into the book for late challenge on Chappell right on the edge of the box.
Stones tried in vein to get a winner against the ten men, and had a great opportunity in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty when Brooks’ goal bound shot was blocked by a defenders arm. Peter Dean stepped up but his penalty was well saved by Worgan who dived to his left to palm the ball away.
Tonbridge then had to play the remaining few seconds after the penalty with nine men when Lewis Taylor was given a second yellow for dissent, much to the bemusement of the away side.
It was to be the last action of what had been an eventful game, and Stones now have to look ahead to Saturday’s trip to relegation threatened Aveley.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, A. Massey, Parker (Ahamed 64), Cronin, Dyer, Spendlove (Martin 76) Brooks, G. Massey, Dean, Chappell (c). Subs not used: Duncan, Conteh
Man of the match: Kurtney Brooks