True Blue: Fine margins make the difference for battling Wealdstone

PUBLISHED: 16:57 31 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:59 31 October 2013

Gordon Bartlett

Gordon Bartlett

Copyright - © Steve Foster/Wealdstone FC 2013. You do NOT have permission to use this image unless it is properly accredited.

Another week, another game of football and for Wealdstone it turned out to be a good day at the office on Saturday - but it was far from plain sailing!

Having been involved in several cup competitions in the last fortnight Stones were back in Ryman Premier League action and it was going to be imperative that points - preferably all three on offer – were taken from a very tough looking clash with upper mid-table and newly-promoted side Grays Athletic. The concern being that we have to keep in touch with the top two sides and pace-setters in the Ryman Premier, both also promoted into the Premier section this season, Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet. Wealdstone made an atrocious start to the clash with the Essex side at The Vale, conceding a goal as early as the fifth minute and it’s difficult to explain why but that’s football.

It was doubly ironic, as last week the Stones defence had been outstanding but some changes had been enforced on Saturday due to Sean Cronin’s suspension, kicking in from his Leiston FA Trophy red card offence.

In fact Stones rode their luck and only some profligate finishing by The Gravelmen prevented the contest from becoming out of sight before it had really got going.

However Wealdstone showed some real guts and determination to gradually haul themselves back into contention with some progressive passing football and grabbed an unexpected way back in to the game via a highly controversial penalty award that was emphatically converted by our veteran striker Scott McGleish a few minutes into the second period. On such things games turn and so it proved.

Further goals from recent signing and skipper Tom Hamblin, who has made a very solid start to his Wealdstone career, and the irrepressible Tom Pett secured all the points in a hugely improved display after the turnaround sending the vast majority of the 554 crowd home happy and fully entertained. Stones now sit seven points behind leaders Maidstone, who also won on Saturday, but they have one game in hand over their Kent rivals.

This now nicely sets up the big FA Trophy 2nd qualifying round clash between these two sides on Saturday at The Vale. Not the draw both sides would have wanted so early in the competition but nevertheless this tie will be a massive test for both teams and possibly an indicator of what may happen in the league come the end of the current campaign. It’s bound to be a real corker!

A big and vociferous crowd is in prospect for this ‘battle of the Stones’ and with Maidstone attracting home gates of close to 2,000 these days one would expect a large travelling support to invade Ruislip for this clash. Bring it on!!

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