Stones on the Road – Grays Ath – Sat 12th Apr – Match Preview

Wealdstone travel to Essex for the second time in just over a week this Saturday, knowing that victory against Grays Athletic will finally see them crowned champions of the Ryman Premier. The Stones missed the opportunity to all but claim the title when they drew 0-0 with Lowestoft Town on Tuesday evening in front of a crowd of 852 at The Vale.  

Indeed, should results go in their favour, a draw at Mill Field this weekend may even be enough to secure the title, but Stones will not want to rely on other results as games start to run out.  Gordon Bartlett’s side are without a win in their last two games, however the bigger picture paints a much different story. Wealdstone have suffered defeat just once since mid-January, won nine of their last thirteen, keeping ten clean sheets in that run.  

Grays represent a sturdy test however, as they bid to at least postpone the league leaders’ celebrations for a later date. The Blues currently lie safe in thirteenth position with games in hand, but the Stones will be aware that their hosts have had to endure a punishing schedule this week. After a bright start to the campaign, Ryan Kirby’s side’s hopes of promotion faltered with a mid-season blip, but five consecutive wins during February and March ensured there was no danger of a nervy run-in. Perhaps then, the Thurrock-outfit have taken their foot of the gas in recent weeks, having won just one of their last six outings, albeit drawing each of their latest three. 

Wealdstone will welcome some members of their squad back to fitness, with Tom Pett hopefully recovered after illness. Tom Hamblin remains a doubt for the clash, while Scott McGleish is likely to be missing for the longer term. The Stones ran out 3-1 winners in the reverse encounter at The Vale back in October. After conceding an early goal, strikes from McGleish, Hamblin and Pett ensured a first league win in three for the hosts – the same again and the Ryman Premier will have new champions on Saturday evening.

By Matt Desai

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