GORDON Bartlett vowed to display his ruthless streak on the run-in to what he hopes will be title glory for Wealdstone.
The Stones’ boss took the tough decision to relegate Jonny Wright to the bench for Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bury Town in favour of giving Michael Malcolm a home debut up front – this despite Wright having scored in an excellent display in defeat a Canvey last time out.
His selection was vindicated with Malcolm scoring his first goal in Stones’ colours and forming an immediate understanding with two-goal hero Scott McGleish in a 3-0 win.
Bartlett insisted his decision was no reflection on Wright, but merely an indication he would shuffle what is a tight squad of 16-18 in whatever way necessary for the remainder of the campaign in the quest for safe passage to Conference South.
He said: “It was very harsh on Jonny because he scored in the last game and worked his socks off up there on his own, but we are here to try and win the league. We are not here on sentiment or anything else.
“Jonny has accepted that and what we have got to do is use the group the best we possibly can.
“The group of 16 out there today are pretty much the group who are going to see us through to where we want to be.”
Given Stones’ recent bout of inactivity, the fact they came into the game on the back of two defeats and Bury’s run of 10 wins in an unbeaten run of 12 matches, their victory over the Blues was as comfortable as anyone would have dared imagine.
However, Bartlett admitted victory was not without its odd anxious moment given it took his side almost an hour to put clear daylight between themselves and their Suffolk visitors.
He said: “We started off like a train and if we had been 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes it would have been a fair reflection.
“Their keeper has pulled off a couple of world class saves and then you are left thinking it is only 1-0 and you are a little bit worried as they came back into it the last 15 minutes of the first half.
“We hadn’t played for a fortnight and it was a heavy pitch, so all those doubts go through your mind.
“Bury have been on a fantastic run and if you had offered me 3-0 at 3 o’ clock I’d have been delighted. Even in the warm-up we were looking very comfortable in possession of the ball, moving it well and looking nice and sharp and there was no real point we did not look in control or where our goal was put under any threat.”
The biggest danger to a stones’ victory came from the weather with a fierce storm hitting The Vale at half time and forcing play to be suspended for around 10 minutes mid-way through the second half with the hosts 2-0 to the good.
However, Bartlett insisted he was never concerned the game would be abandoned.
He added: “I wasn’t worried. I saw the referee point to the sky about the lightning and when I went over to him he said ‘it is only while the overhead conditions are like this.’
“Their manager also said they wanted to finish the game as they did not want to be coming back mid-week to play again, so all parties wanted it to carry on and in the end there was no problem with that because the lightning stopped.”