Feb 18 2013 By Alex Ward
Gordon Bartlett Image 2
RYMAN ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE
Wealdstone 2 Margate 1
Gordon Bartlett believes Wealdstone’s league campaign has reached a ‘turning point’ after their dramatic home win against Margate on Saturday.
Stones looked on the way to a damaging defeat against their promotion rivals when they still trailed to Dan Stubbs’ first minute goal with just four minutes left on the clock.
However, Wes Parker not only equalised, but also grabbed a last minute winner and with other promotions rivals Concord and Canvey Island slipping to defeats the late rally lifted Stones to second in the table.
A delighted Bartlett was left to reflect on the sort of result which could see an end to their recent form blip.
“This could be the turning point,” he said “We’ve stuttered a bit recently, but this could be the moment that kick-starts the rest of the season.
“We haven’t played well today, but the performance really showed the character of the players. They dug in and we came through that difficult period and we got another three points.”
“Momentum should care of itself. There will be a really positive attitude around the changing room and going out on the park. It moulds us further together.
It took Margate just 32 seconds to open the scoring, when Stubbs met a looping cross to head past the outstretched Rikki Banks at the near post.
The goal set the tone for the rest of the half, with the Margate midfield trio dictating proceedings as they pressed high to smother Wealdstone’s passing game and Bartlett’s men would have been further adrift had Rikki Banks not pulled off smart saves from first Ryan Dolby and then Tommy Whitnell.
The pattern continued early in the second half with Stones starved of possession, but after the hour mark as Gates’ tempo flagged the hosts rallied.
The introduction of Richard Jolly, Nathan Webb and Esmond James only added to the surge, with Peter Dean coming close when he burst into the box only for visiting player-manager Craig Holloway to get a vital touch as the forward attempted to go round him.
The pressure finally told on 86 minutes. Lee Chappell’s free-kick caused confusion as Hollway dropped the ball under pressure from Parker and after Sean Cronin stabbed the rebound goal-wards it was the Stones’ captain who got the vital final touch.
The fans had barely stopped celebrating when Stones struck again at the death.
Jolly was fouled 25 yards out and when Chappell’s devilish delivery came in from the right Parker rose above everyone to power home his header and steal the points.
Stones have a few war wounds arising from the victory with Cronin nursing an ankle knock and influential midfield man Alex Dyer a dead leg, but Bartlett remains unfazed and insists that the squad are capable of rising to the challenge.
He added: “We’re covering as many options as we possibly can, so if we get a couple injured then we’ve got boys able to come in the squad.
“We’re looking strong at the moment and that’s important to us.”