Gordon Bartlett doesn’t believe Wealdstone are out of the woods yet in their fight against relegation, despite a remarkable 3-2 victory against Havant & Waterlooville.
The Stones conceded twice in the space of two minutes on the hour mark but goals from Wes Parker, James Demetriou and Johnny Wright handed them a late win at Grosvenor Vale.
Bartlett doesn’t see his side’s seven-point cushion on the National League South relegation zone as sufficient for safety, instead encouraging his charges to aim for the top half.
He said: “I don’t see ourselves as safe.
“I feel a lot happier after that result, particularly against Havant as they’re down there with us.
“I’ve said all along that I think we’re a top half of the table side.
“I want to get as many points as possible from the last six games and not worry about the safety,” he continued. “I want to finish in the top half, that’s been my target all season and it has not changed.”
In contrast to a breathless second half, the first half was an utterly turgid affair. Havant came closest, fluffing two fine headed chances that fell to George Barker and Matt Paterson from back-post crosses.
The game came to life in its 60th minute when set-piece specialist and former Stone Scott Donnelly whipped an arching free-kick into the top left from 20 yards to open the scoring.
The visitors doubled the lead less than a minute later with a neat move that passed through Paterson and ended when James Hayter rifled into the roof of the net from inside the box.
The Stones boss felt that his decision to immediately introduce Nathan Mavila after Donnelly’s opener may have brought about a second concession just seconds later.
He commented: “You’ve got two, nervous sides down there because of where we both are, we don’t want to make mistakes.
“I felt it was going to be an afternoon where one mistake could have been the difference, or one bit of quality.
“Scott Donnelly used to be with us, we know exactly what he’s like and he did it to us last year, put it in the top corner.
“We made a change to be positive straight away after Scott’s bit of magic and I think we went two down so quickly because of the way we changed it.
“The response after that and the attitude of the squad was excellent.”
It took less than five minutes for the home side to react, half-time substitute Jefferson Louis scrambling in Scott Davies’ delivery at the back post.
Louis then laid on fellow replacement James Demetriou’s equaliser in the 74th minute, playing the Swansea loanee into space from which he slotted into the bottom corner.
Five minutes from time, visiting full-back Harry Medway accidently fired a clearance at his own keeper and the rebound fell to Johnny Wright, the calmest man in the ground, who applied the winning finish.
Louis could have put the game beyond doubt in injury-time- hitting the foot of the post with a header- before Havant had a strong handball shout turned down in the dying seconds.
Bartlett confidently stated that the ball struck the hand of one of his defenders: “I certainly think it hit his hand.
“That was my initial reaction, whether it’s ball to hand or hand to ball I don’t know but it’s certainly hit his hand.
“We’ve had a few like that against us this year and unfortunately that’s what happens, particularly when you’re going through a bad time.”
Wealdstone may be without Scott McGleish and Bradley Hudson-Odoi in the coming weeks, who both came off with muscle injuries.
Bartlett challenged his charges to deliver on a more consistent basis: “I’ve questioned their character on two or three occasions.
“They’ve got it, as we’ve seen today, so why don’t we produce it on a regular basis?
“We should not be struggling against relegation with the quality we’ve got here.
“As much as I’m applauding them for today’s result, it’s only what I expect.”