Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett has all but written off his side's Ryman Premier play-off chances after another toothless defeat on Thursday night. Matt Johnson scored Aveley's winner direct from a corner shortly before half time to keep their hopes of a top five finish alive and, in truth, it was no less than they deserved.
There was a sense of urgency about them, they worked tirelessly while their physicality knows no bounds. By comparison, Stones were powderpuff, lacked ideas and a real sense of what was at stake.
The closest they came to scoring was when centre half Darren Locke hooked a hopeful cross-cum-shot onto the bar with 15 minutes left.
By that time the hosts had already lost their two main attacking threats, striker Callum Martin and Danny Spendlove, to hamstring injuries.
Stones remain in eighth place, four points behind fifth placed Hastings United with two games in hand on them and sixth placed Boreham Wood.
“Aveley were the better team and we can have no complaints,” said a disappointed Bartlett. “We huffed and puffed, lacked width and did not pass it.
“We have made it extremely hard for ourselves (to secure a play-off place), it is out of our hands now.
“Mathematically it is still possible and we can achieve the target I set of 70 points. I have told the boys there are four games left that we need to try and win.”
Bartlett admits he faces a tough task lifting the morale of his players for Saturday's trip to Horsham.
He added: “The defeat is a huge psychological blow, but we have responded well to adversity before, can we do it again?
“The problem is there is a lot of tired legs out there. Spendy was struggling before the game but we needed to win and it was worth risking him.”