Wealdstone 1 – 4 Brackley T
1 - 4
Wealdstone meekly bowed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday and were comprehensively outplayed by a strong, sharp and highly capable Brackley Town side.
This lamentable performance was the polar opposite of Stones magnificent victory over National League Southport only three weeks previously but, as ever, there were mitigating circumstances that made the lead-up to this tie an absolute nightmare for Manager Gordon Bartlett and his management team.
Already shorn of his talismanic forward Elliot Benyon who will possibly be out for a further two weeks, he then also lost Matt Whichelow to a freak training injury on Thursday evening. Despite dozens of phone calls, no non cup-tied replacements could be signed in time for the Friday lunch time deadline. The result was a side that took to the pitch with little attacking threat and a weakened defence – Jack Smith being another recent casualty and in came the barely fit Josh McLeod-Urquhart.
These deficiencies were all too obvious against Brackley’s eager and swift forwards and whilst it would be unduly defeatist to suggest this game was lost before kick-off, Stones fans could be forgiven for thinking such thoughts as the goals rained in past Jonathan North who was solely responsible for keeping the score line down to that of the reasonably respectable. North pulled off a string of outstanding saves throughout the afternoon.
Digging deep to show desire and passion is one thing. Having the players available – or brought in – to show such attributes is clearly another – something that Gordon Bartlett knows has to be put right quickly with key league games rapidly looming.
As for the match details, Town midfielder Jimmy Armson hit Stones twice inside the opening 11 minutes to effectively kill the game, silencing the initial party atmosphere inside The Vale where perhaps a larger away crowd would have swelled the gate to that befitting of the occasion, but that was never going to happen of course.
Stones had barely a single strike on target in the first half and only livened up after Nathan Mavilla entered the fray for Ciaron Brown after 30 minutes.
Constantly on the back foot, Wealdstone conceded again shortly before the interval when David Moyo smashed the ball past an overworked North after good work from Ellis Myles.
Stones tried to up their tempo in the second period and won a couple of early corners and they did start to put some pressure on a now understandably relaxed away side. This culminated in a sharp strike and goal from Danny Green on 61 minutes to pull his side back to 1-3. But just to rub salt in to the wounds this mini revival lasted a mere minute as Brackley powered up the other end of the park where Lee Ndlovu was on hand to finish, and, that was that.
So, a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the team at a time of evolving and positive change off the field at Wealdstone. The players on the park and those that may come into the side must now show much needed consistency and deliver some greater reward to their loyal supporters.
Wealdstone: North, Urquhart (McGleish 83), Goulding, Oshodi, Brown (Mavila 31), Godfrey (Koroma 58), Cox, Green, Wellard, Sheckleford, Wright. Subs not used: Hunt, Hamblin.