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Wealdstone 1 -2 Staines Town
Wealdstone's poor Ryman League form since the turn of the year continued in ever more frustrating fashion on Saturday when they lost out to an average looking Staines Town side.
With just a single point gained since the emphatic Boxing Day win over Harrow Borough, Stones are now pointless from their last 4 league matches. The form conundrum is baffling, not least for the management team who will feel that changes are now inevitable - something that Boss Gordon Bartlett had understandably hoped to avoid.
Stones continued with a 4-4-2 formation with Andre Delisser playing in an advanced role in the first half with Peter Dean the main spearhead. Both strikers struggled to make any real headway in a first half that was fast and frantic but had little in the way of composure and the half was littered with mistakes and costly lost possession.
Nevertheless Stones worked hard and lacked nothing in determination and had more ball than the Swans who seemed to lack any great ambition. But for all Wealdstone's possession they were continually closed down by Staines who pressed the ball and were far more economical with the possession they enjoyed in a generally scrappy first period. But Stones did have some decent attacks early on - the ever lively Ryan Ashe being the main instigator in the midfield. Lee O'Leary struggled and looks out of sorts, which given his early season form is hugely disappointing for onlookers to see. Graeme Montgomery had some good runs on goal was crosses were either played too soon or were inaccurate.
Stones most effective area was in their defence with Carl Martin and James Gray looking generally solid with Lee Chappell and Robbie Rice tidying up well. So it was against the run of play that Swans took the lead with what, to those in-line with play, looked a blatantly offside goal from Howard Newton who found himself in acres of space to fire past an open mouthed Karamoko on 28 minutes. Stones could only have themselves to blame, however, as the goal emanated from another misplaced pass.
Stones management must have felt that all was still to play for in the second half but before most spectators had emerged from the clubhouse Staines had doubled their lead. Matt Flitter headed in from a corner on the right again leaving Karamoko exposed. It would be wrong to say that the game was effectively over from that point but that is the way it felt until Stones finally got their act together after 20 minutes of the second period. By now big Steve Hughes was on for a down in the mouth Lee O'Leary and play livened up considerably. Andre Delisser, often judged unfairly by fans who overlook his unstinting work rate was the most dynamic of Stones players and was effective in runs from midfield areas and it was from his deep cross that Stones pulled a goal back - a great strike from Lee Chappell nearly breaking the net after Courtnage had failed to deal with the cross.
Sadly, Wealdstone could not use this goal to launch a come back and despite some encouraging attacking moves with 3, sometimes 4 forwards showing much needed urgency, the game fizzled disappointedly out for another home reverse.
The second half saw the welcome re-introduction of loan returnee Dean Papali and he now has the chance to liven up the forward line. This was countered by the sight of the excellent Carl Martin limping off again with what looked like a thigh strain.
Stones need a spark to save their season and with the Ryman Premier table looking increasingly ominous, a bright flame is needed - probably in the shape of some new blood. Tuesday's match at Northwood Park against Maidstone is a massive game and one that Stones are more than capable of winning. Self belief would be a good start.
Wealdstone: Karamoko, Rice, Chappell, Martin, Gray, Ashe, L O'Leary, C O'Leary, Delisser, Dean, Montgomery. Subs used: Hughes, Reid, Papali. N/u: Gross, Nichols.
MoM James Gray