RYMAN PREMIER LEAGUE
Wealdstone 2 Wingate & Finchley 2
Wealdstone played out their third straight draw of the season as they allowed Wingate & Finchley to leave The Vale on Saturday with a share of the spoils.
‘Frustrating’ was the word used by Wealdstone Manager Gordon Bartlett after the match, and not for the first time as they once again failed to take all three points in what is still a winless Ryman Premier League campaign for Stones.
Bartlett went on to vent his feelings, saying: "We have now gifted five goals to the opposition and what’s more we should have won all three games."
Despite his frustration, it was Wingate who looked the brighter side in the opening exchanges.
They were quicker to the ball and certainly looked more confident in midfield in the early stages, dominating from the start and going into an early lead. Striker Scott Shulton catching the Stones defence napping, poking the ball past Jonathan North with just eight minutes on the clock.
But Wealdstone, stunned by going behind so early on, sprung into life and hit back almost straight away, with front man Chris Moore rifling home Sean Cronin's lofted ball.
Despite getting level, Stones could not seize the advantage. Their midfield, despite showing a great deal of work rate and enthusiasm, lacked chemistry and cohesion.
The diminutive Jack Hutchison worked hard to impress against his former team, but lacked the desired end product and alongside him Adam Martin looked uncharacteristically subdued in front of the Vale crowd.
With the home side's central midfield was struggling, they looked to the wide areas to provide their attacking threat, where Tom Pett put on a terrific display down the right.
The winger caused panic in the Wingate defence whenever he wriggled free and looked extremely menacing after 20 minutes when he powered a strike just over on the twenty minute mark.
The home side looked the side more likely to move in front, but it was Wingate who got their second of the game first. Wealdstone, once again being let down by a lack of control in the centre of the pitch, allowed former loanee Leon Smith too much time in the box to lash home.
But Stones were once again galvanised by falling behind and they grabbed a smart equaliser three minutes before the break. Pett, ever threatening from the right, received the ball out wide, drove inside and scored with a superb angled drive past the helpless Wingate 'keeper, levelling the game again before half time.
To the excitement of the home support, Bartlett introduced new signing Glenn Little at the start of the second period.
Little, the former Premier League player, had gained international clearance the previous day, and he wasted no time in using all his experience in steadying the ship in the second half.
The ex-Reading player added a feeling of calm to proceedings in midfield, allowing Wealdstone to get on top and dominate.
But for all their possession and chances, they seemed unable to find the winner. Substitute Scott McGleish drive wide when well placed and Reece Grant also missed an excellent chance.
Then, with the final chance of the match, Stones were agonisingly denied once more. Wes Parker rose well to meet a corner, and a goal looked certain until the ball agonisingly rattled the post, leaving the game as a draw.
Despite the disappointment of failing to attain victory yet again, Bartlett was relatively upbeat, reminding fans that his team remains very much in transition and that it will take a month for his squad to 'fully compliment each other'.
Stones remain unbeaten, and with the promising debut of star signing Glen Little who will, in due course, add a resilience and calm to midfield, it is definitely looking positive for the rest of the season.