Wealdstone 0 – 1 Eastbourne Borough
0 - 1
Wealdstone’s tale of woe continued at The Vale on Saturday with a third successive defeat. But the match turned on a moment of high controversy on 35 minutes when keeper Jon North was dismissed for handling the ball outside the area, the referee adjudging that he had denied a clear goal scoring opportunity.
With no substitute gloveman on the bench, it was down to midfielder Matt Ball to go between the sticks. On- loan keeper Alex Lynch from Wycombe Wanderers had been recalled the same day by the injury hit Bucks club – such is Stones luck at present.
Referee Mr E Kaye rather officiously delayed kick off by 6 minutes as he demanded that two players from each side adjusted their playing ‘equipment’ according to the rules. One has to ask why this wasn’t managed by the officials in the dressing room prior to kick off and whether other officials will take such a line in future matches.
Eastbourne failed lamentably to take advantage of Stones weakened state until stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes when Ball, who did magnificently well, was finally beaten by a cool finish by sub Nathan Pinney. A cruel blow for a Stones side then that had rallied well and defended with organisation albeit against a surprisingly limited away attack.
Stones should have taken the lead as early as the first minute when skipper Wes Parker couldn’t get a clean strike in front of goal; then on the half hour mark when Ball, still in a non-goalkeeping role, brilliantly fed Shaun Lucien in acres of space but the wide player’s strike was blocked expertly by Lewis Carey.
Borough were restricted to long range off target strikes but both sides, who were winless and pointless going into the clash, understandably perhaps took a cautious approach throughout.
Amazingly the away side, after the sending off of North, had their first real strike on goal 20 minutes into the second period as Stones defended comfortably.
It looked like Stones would hold out for a valuable point and could even have snatched a goal via sub Bradley Hudson-Odoi who headed wide from fellow substitute Connor Calcutt’s decent cross.
But from a last gasp attack, started by the advancing Carey, Eastbourne stole the win, sending Stones, not unsurprisingly, to joint bottom of the Vanarama National League South. The time: 90+3 minutes.
Stones face big spending Margate away on Tuesday but will have the now free from suspension Jefferson Louis in attack. Stones need a full, fit side to face the opposition but a slice of much needed luck won’t go amiss.
Wealdstone : North, Bevans, Watts, Parker, Hamblin, Corcoran, Wright (Godfrey 66), Ball, Hutchinson (Calcutt 77), Davies, Lucien (Hudson-Odoi 69) Not used: Brown, Urquhart