Oct 19 2012 By Jon Batham
GORDON Bartlett lamented his team’s game management after Wealdstone threw away two points at the death on Saturday.
Stones looked set for the ugliest of 2-1 wins over basement boys Thurrock with just three minutes left on the clock, before a careless loss of possession in midfield allowed their Essex visitors to break out.
And when Sean Cronin failed to deal with the eventual cross from the left, Matt Pooley stole in to stab home and snatch victory from the hosts’ grasp.
Bartlett admitted a win would have flattered his men, but insisted they cannot afford to continue to be naive and that they must learn when to ditch the pretty stuff and close games out.
He said: “I’m bitterly disappointed with our game management with three minutes to go. We’ve lost possession of the ball in midfield, they break away, they score. At that stage of the game you put it in behind them, you lose it down by their corner flag and then they have 10 players to get behind plus a keeper.
“We are guilty of wanting to play all the time as opposed to the right time.
“There’s a time to play football and a time to be sensible, run the clock down and lose the ball behind them.
“These things are maybe not very pleasant on the eye, but they are result orientated so we must learn to do them.”
Despite Richard Jolly grazing the bar and Tom Pett forcing a fine stop from Wil Viner, a lacklustre Stones rode their luck in the first half and it was no surprise when they fell behind on 37 minutes.
Ritchie Jones’ venomous shot from outside the box cannoned the far post, and when Banks failed to hold Sam Berry’s weak follow-up effort, Charlie Stimson pounced to force the ball home.
Stones responded in first-half stoppage time when Pett stole possession out on the left and when his cross was only half cleared Kurtney Brooks’ shot from the edge took a deflection and dipped beyond Viner’s left hand.
The goal did not lift Stones, but they took the lead courtesy of a huge piece of luck on 75 minutes when Laurence Yiga sliced beyond his own keeper in a bid to clear Brooks’ mishit shot.
Even that was not enough and it remains to be seen how costly Pooley’s late strike will become in May.
Meanwhile, Monday night’s action saw Stones progress in the second round of the Ryman League Cup as Shabazz Baidoo’s double and a first senior goal in England for Jacek Magdzinski clinched a 3-2 win over Ramsgate.