Hayes & Yeading United 2 – 1 Wealdstone
2 - 1
Wealdstone’s frustrations reached excruciating levels at York Road, Maidenhead on Saturday. Stones outplayed Hayes & Yeading for long periods in a feisty encounter enjoying 70% of the possession, but once again they shot themselves in the foot defensively. The chronic lack of a cutting edge up front cost them dear once again after a seventh winless Vanarama Conference South match.
To the onlooker it appears obvious that further changes to the squad are inevitable; indeed a change was made to the revolving left back position and in came former Arsenal youngster Samir Bihmoutine from the Capital League set up and he acquitted himself well and provided better balance to the side.
What made this defeat all the more galling was that United looked a very average side and were there for the taking. They won the game from a controversial out of the blue penalty award that left most scratching their heads, but Sean Cronin was surprisingly suckered into some cynical play having adjudged to have taken a player out in an off the ball incident. Cronin appeared to suffer an elbow later in the match but all he received was a bloody head and a booking for dissent from beleaguered Referee, Mr Eaton. What proved to be the winning goal came from a poor defensive lapse that allowed Pat Cox to loop a header past a stranded Jonathan North at a crucial time just before the break.
Stones fought back and huffed and puffed with loads of midfield possession but after the hard working Scott McGleish netted after only 6 minutes of the second period they could not hit a barn door. But it wasn’t without determination and effort; that is not what is lacking. What is absent is creativity and a sharp, goal scoring, forward. But that’s what every club in the league wants and Stones will have to be patient in the time that they have available to them, even at this early stage of the season.
Despite this sobering assessment, Stones had many positives to draw from this match and that is not confined to their magnificent traveling army that numbered 225 on Non League Day, easily outnumbering the home support.
Tom Hickey continues to improve and looked good value winning the ball in midfield consistently; generally the defence was untroubled with Bihmoutine playing his part well.
Stones started strongly and looked to get forward very positively but Tom Collins spurned a chance to make an early breakthrough. Hayes hit back and Daniel Wishart who was rejected by Stones in the close season, went close.
But with the away side continuing to press they were rocked to the core when play was called back for the penalty that Cox took and gave no chance for North to save a fourth penalty kick after 12 minutes play.
Stones pushed on relentlessly without pulling the trigger but they thought they had equalised when McGleish leapt acrobatically with an overhead effort that smashed past Calum Kitcha but an official’s flag for offside was raised to halt the celebrations.
Cox then got above Cronin for a clever looping header and two nil seemed a mountain to climb in the second period.
To their credit Wealdstone came out of the blocks with huge positivity after the turnaround and a goal was finally delivered. Collins showed persistence and his cross shot was fired home by McGleish.
Possession wise Stones were embarrassing the home side that lacked any sort of real attacking threat but try as they might the Ruislip based side could not prise open the defence sufficiently to find a killer strike.
The two best chances for Stones to equalise fell to Luke O’Nien who with time and space hit the outside of the upright and then his great strike from range was pushed away by Kitcha for a corner. Johnny Wright came on for Collins but matters would not open up for Wealdstone as they continued to pile forward.
The home side hung on aided by some blatant and irritating time wasting tactics leaving Stones to lick their wounds once again.
Wealdstone: North, Mills, Bihmoutine (Little), Hamblin, Cronin, Martin, Turner, Hickey, McGleish, Collins (Wright), O’Nien, Subs not used; Godrey, Pigden,Malcolm.
Crowd: 406 (225 Wealdstone)
Steve Foster Pics HERE