Whitehawk 1

Wealdstone 1

GORDON Bartlett felt his Wealdstone side had done enough to claim three points against Ryman Premier leaders Whitehawk on Saturday.

Hakeem Araba gave Whitehawk the lead before Alex Dyer equalised in the second period and both sides were reduced to 10 men late on.

More than 300 Stones fans made the trip to Brighton and Bartlett reckons his team could count themselves unlucky not to narrow the gap at the summit.

“I was frustrated,” said the Wealdstone manager. “I felt our second-half performance warranted more than the result we got.

“I think we should be flattered that a team at the top of the table decided to play one up front in a home game and defend against us.

“They were concerned about our movement up top and wanted to play it tight.

“Territorially and possession-wise, we were comfortably the better side.”

Wealdstone sat in second-place, seven points adrift of the Hawks going into this one and it was imperative that they avoided defeat against the big spending Sussex side if they were to maintain their hopes of automatic promotion.

Those hopes took an early knock as Whitehawk took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark when Stones failed to clear their lines from a corner and Araba nipped in to bundle in a scrappy opener.

As half-time approached, Peter Dean made space for himself just outside the box, before letting fly with a left footed effort which was beaten away by Chris Winterton in the Whitehawk goal.

Stones were kicking slightly downhill in the second-half and captain Wes Parker almost continued his recent goal scoring run on the hour, meeting Richard Jolly’s cross with a powerful header, but his effort tipped over the bar.

However, the travelling Stones fans sensed a goal was coming and on 75 minutes it arrived.

Dyer collected the ball on the left before cutting inside and blasting home from the edge of the box.

It looked as though Wealdstone had the edge and could snatch the points until Chris Moore’s straight red card for a lunge.

Whitehawk’s Mark Knee followed him down the tunnel soon after to see the match end all-square.

“We created a few openings and Alex got a good goal,” Bartlett added. “We had the momentum with 15 minutes to go and unfortunately Chris got sent off.

“From where he was I thought he gave the referee a chance to make a decision. My initial reaction was it was a foul.”

Wealdstone were last night (Wednesday) due to travel to Thurrock.