The footage you never knew existed… @StonesGoals cup countdown

In the run up to Saturday’s huge FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash, @StonesGoals has dug up some archived footage of classic Wealdstone cup matches throughout the past twenty years. In this instalment, Wealdstone lost. Albeit it was a mouth-watering tie against the cup holders – Kingstonian… and it was in the other FA competition – the Trophy.

Bartlett buzzing for Cup football

Bartlett buzzing for Cup football

The sides were drawn to face each other on 15 January 2000 in the FA Trophy 3rd round just two weeks after the world welcomed the dawn of a new millennium. With Westlife topping the British music charts with the single ‘I have a dream’, the Stones, who were on a torrid run, were certainly dreaming of a huge Trophy upset – and, having been denied promotion to the Ryman Premier just 9 months earlier due to a ground grading irregularity, there was every reason to be cautiously optimistic.

Kingstonian meanwhile were on a good run with just two points separating them and Rushden & Diamonds at the top of the Nationwide Conference. The K’s regarded the Trophy high on their priority list, and testament to that was the 250 strong travelling army that arrived in Edgware that day.

On the day The K’s were too much for Wealdstone as the gulf in class told, the away side recorded an emphatic 5-0 victory. The Stones cause clearly not helped by the dismissal of Paul McKay in the first half for a debatable handball in his own area.

Kingstonian would go on to retain the Trophy for a second season in succession, but fell short in their league challenge – eventually finishing 5th; 18-points short of Champions Kidderminster Harriers. Wealdstone, chastened by the experience, by contrast struggled – finishing 16th in the Ryman League Division One. The goals of Brian Jones and Micky Swaysland ensured relegation was avoided before the late emergence of future football league star, Marvin Morgan.

Re-live Wealdstone 0-5 Kingstonian and the footage you never knew existed…. including an interview with a ‘young’ Gordon Bartlett. Match day official attendance was given as 639 – highest home gate of the 1999/2000 season.

 

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10-man Stones send Havant to fifth defeat on trot

Wealdstone overcame a Havant & Waterlooville side by two goals to one on Saturday to record their first away victory of the season and move out of the bottom-five in the process. The game was not short of controversy however when Wealdstone’s Elliott Godfrey was dismissed in the 76th minute for an apparent two-footed lunge. With the StonesGoals cameras suffering a rare moment of absence it is difficult to quantify whether the decision was correct with many visiting fans calling it harsh. 

Indeed, Stones saw out the remaining 20-minutes to record an impressive win against a full time outfit – one that was expected to challenge at the business end of the National South table.

Wealdstone had got off to the perfect start in the sunshine at Martin Road when Lucien raced onto a long ball to cut back for Matt Ball; in turn the playmaker was astute and reacted well to square the ball to Hudson-Odoi. The striker was calm under pressure slotting under the Havant keeper’s legs to put the Stones 1 up inside the opening 20-minutes and record his third league goal of the season in the process. This was perhaps against the run of play as Havant missed an early sitter from 10-yards out.

Havant pressed well and had a few good chances before Wealdstone doubled the lead on the 40-minute mark. This time speed merchant, Shaun Lucien, raced down the opposite flank before crossing for Ball. The midfielder’s effort was on target and stung the palms of the Havant stopper who could only parry to the feet of Louis – the journeyman made no mistake from two yards and Wealdstone were two to the good.

The second half inevitably saw a lot of Havant pressing and Marvin Morgan, playing against the Stones for the first time in 11-years, was busy in attack but ultimately long balls into the target man were well dealt with by the aerial presence of Tom Hamblin – who was a colossus in the Stones back line. The moment of controversy came moments after Morgan was hooked in the 75th minute, the resultant throw-in saw Godfrey race in to challenge but with the ref believing he raised studs, Godfrey was dismissed. Stones were forced into seeing out the game with ten-men and despite seeing their advantage halved by James Hayter’s 88th minute tap in, they did enough to hold on for a deserved victory; stretching their unbeaten run to an impressive 11-games in the process.

Full time: Havant 1-2 Wealdstone.

“What a goal!” Alan Brazil and Stuart Pearce on talkSPORT breakfast show

Alan Brazil and Stuart Pearce are buzzing about Scott Davies’s 70-yard strike. Listen again below as the pair, who co-hosted this morning’s breakfast show, share their views on the strike.

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The pair appeared together on the talkSPORT breakfast show this morning where Pearce also made special mention to the late former Wealdstone manager, Alan Fogarty. Fogarty gave Pearce his first big break in football, handing the future England captain his debut at just 16.

Listen to the full clip here.

Ten games… and you still don’t sing

In the week where the FA Cup and TV crews came to The Vale, Wealdstone’s unbeaten sequence quietly crept into double figures. Despite this Bartlett remains adamant his Stones outfit are still not singing from the same hymn sheet. Six of the ten were against teams ranked lower than the Stones in the league ladder yet the message remains: “the performances could have been better.” As Stones head back to Hampshire this weekend to collide with a Havant side who sit fourth bottom of the form table, @StonesGoals previews another (potentially) super Saturday…

Head to head: Havant & Waterlooville v Wealdstone

Head to head: Havant & Waterlooville v Wealdstone

Away days

Wealdstone like playing away. Or at least they did.

There’s only two sides in the National League South yet to win on their travels this term and both meet on Saturday. Havant possess the league’s worst away record (two points from six games and just two goals), whilst Wealdstone don’t fair much better (three points from five).

What’s changed? Stones finished the last campaign as the league’s form team on the road winning five of their final seven away, with one draw and just one defeat – ironically to Saturday’s hosts, Havant (1-3).

Stones are yet to lose a league game since August whilst Havant are yet to win one – losing their last four, a run that has seen last season’s promotion contenders slump to 17th. They’ve also failed to score in six of their twelve league games – only Margate, 7 games, have faired worse.

Having been hammered 3-0 to Truro in their last outing, Hawks manager Lee Bradbury called for his side to win ugly. “We have to get back to basics and regain the solidity we had at the back last season,” said Bradbury. “We won a lot of games with the only goal because of our resolution. If it means we have to win ugly then so be it. We have to be far more ruthless in both penalty areas – defending at one end and sticking the ball in the net at the other.”

Goals please

Media storm: Davies "surprised" by interest in THAT goal (photo: Alan Palmer)

Media storm: Davies “surprised” by interest in THAT goal (photo: Alan Palmer)

The Stones know more than most at this level what it’s like to be thrust under the social media microscope thanks predominantly of course to the infamous figure that is Gordon Hill (The Wealdstone Raider).

On-the-pitch-matters have not been far from the spotlight either with Glen Little scoring what is still arguably regarded as ‘the greatest non-league goal ever‘. That strike alone has generated to date 330k YouTube views and although, this week, Davies’s strike was viewed enough to trend on the UK YouTube top-10 most-watched, it still trails Little’s effort with a paltry 150k view total at time of press. Give it a year.

Nevertheless, such figures have been significant enough for the strike to feature on the BBC, The Daily Mirror, across a range of blog sites and of course the local press, and on Thursday the BBC were down at The Vale to film for an FA Cup feature set to air a week on Friday.

And why wouldn’t it be championed? He hit it from 70-yards you know…

The plaudits rightly belong to the man who hit it – Scott Davies. The midfielder himself has admitted his surprise at all the publicity it has generated. Speaking to The Bucks Herald this week he said:
“I looked up, saw the keeper off his line and thought why not? Luckily I connected so sweetly with the ball. But for a split second I was hoping it didn’t bounce over the bar. It’s one I’ll remember but in all honesty, I can’t believe the publicity it has received.”

Money to burn? Or just playing ‘silly blighters’?

Havant, meanwhile, have been busy creating a media storm of their own with a reported £10,000 bid for Gosport Borough frontman Justin Bennett. The striker won the National South Golden Boot last campaign and has already been exceptionally prolific this time round netting 11 from Gosport’s opening 12.

Bennett: £10,000 bid

Bennett: £10,000 bid

To me, to you

There’s clearly no love lost between the Hampshire neighbours with Havant pinching Gosport’s former-Southampton marksman Matt Paterson on a free transfer in the summer. Paterson and Bennett netted 58-goals between them for Borough last season – the highest scoring partnership in the club’s history.

This term Paterson has begun brightly for Havant, despite the club’s difficult start, with five goals in the first two months of the season enough to convince Gosport into offering £7,500 to pinch him back. It remains to be seen whether the player himself would be tempted into an almost immediate return, but chances of it happening appear slim with Hawks chairman Derek Pope dismissing the offer as derisory when he stated “I wouldn’t sell him to Gosport, even if they offered £100,000.

Silly blighters: supporters react to Bennett interest (courtesy of Havant & Waterlooville forum)

Silly blighters: supporters react to Bennett interest (courtesy of Havant & Waterlooville forum)

Now, one week on Havant have retaliated with their own attempt to reunite the pair when they offered £10,000 for Bennett’s services. Hawks boss Lee Bradbury commenting “It’s a no-brainer for me to want somebody of Justin’s goal scoring record who lives local to the club.” Gosport chairman Mark Hook has already retorted “It won’t happen.”

Marvellous Marvin

One striker familiar to both Wealdstone, and now Havant, is Marvin Morgan who could line up against the Stones for the first time in 11-years. Then aged 21, he had netted 54 times in 152 starts and was starting to forge a promising partnership with Jermaine Beckford before Hayes & Yeading paid £3,000 for his services. Many may argue Wealdstone have not been blessed with a strike pairing of the Beckford/Morgan calibre since – it would be hard to disagree.

Morgan went on to have a successful career in the football league and can even boast scoring for Shrewsbury at The Emirates in the League Cup. It’s perhaps his fashion range where he has achieved the most notoriety, managing to kit out the likes of JLS, The Beckham kids, N-Dubz and other ‘esteemed’ celebs with his #FEK (FreshEgoKid) clothing line – The Wealdstone Raider, clearly, the missing link.

Marvellous Marvin

Marvellous Marvin

On the subject of familiar names, expect Scott Donnelly to line up against the Stones once more – the midfielder was cast as the pantomime villain in last term’s home tie (more below), but as we’re talking away days Stones could face former-Lewes winger Nic Ciardini. The name may be synonymous to some Stones fans (or those with good memories) for the role he played in one of the most memorable away days of recent seasons; October 2011, he netted the penalty that sent Lewes on their way to a 1-0 victory back in the days when Wealdstone were a Ryman side. The tricky winger now plies his trade at Martin Road.

Plum draw

Last week’s FA Cup saw victories for both and a good week all round for Havant who have landed a plum home draw against Conference Premier side, Cheltenham – having overcome Aveley 2-0. Havant know all about good cup runs having caused a scare to Liverpool at Anfield seven years ago before eventually succumbing 5-2 in the FA Cup fourth round. Former-Stone Rocky Baptiste was one of Havant’s scorers that day.

Wealdstone of course beat Brockenhurst 5-1 to progress and were also handed a tie that is equally mouth-watering and, on paper at least, very winnable – home to Bognor.

Last season

Saturday’s game will be just over a year to the day that Havant visited The Vale and a partisan Tuesday night atmosphere awaited the-then table-toppers. Wealdstone had just beaten Weston to record their second league win of the season but remained rooted to the foot of the table.

Despite leading twice, the Stones were pegged back and had to settle for a 2-2 draw but the positivity was beginning to be felt amongst the terraces as four points in three days saw the Stones leapfrog Staines Town to climb off the bottom of the table. Former-Stone Scott Donnelly scored the Hawk’s equaliser and was the subject of much abuse from the home support who felt he shouldn’t have been on the pitch following a two-footed lunge midway through the second half.

The away fixture saw Havant run out 3-1 winners on their way to a fifth placed finish and qualification for the playoffs, before defeat to eventual winners Boreham Wood ended their chances of Conference Premier football.

Prediction

In six games against the current bottom ten Wealdstone have an acceptable record – winning two, drawing three and losing just once; Havant have failed to score just once at home and despite losing their last four, three of those were against sides in the current top five (Ebbsfleet, Whitehawk and Maidstone). There’s enough in the Havant side to suggest they’re in a false position and there are still some question marks over Wealdstone’s ability in front of goal – this despite hitting eight in the last two outings.

Both sides are off the back of good cup victories but I’m going to tip the visitors; I think Davies’ goal, and publicity, would have done him the world of good so I’d expect him to start and, if he can get back to his best, he can make a difference. Winning becomes a habit and you can only beat the sides in front of you – the Stones have done that of late and I can see them, against the general consensus, continuing their good form. 1-2.

And it’s live…

All ya goals and big match highlights via @StonesGoals. Alternatively, listen via Hawks FM coverage from 14:40.

The quickest way to access goals…

Reminder that the quickest way to access @StonesGoals coverage remains via YouTube. You can subscribe today via: youtube.com/stonesgoals.

StonesGoals YouTube channel: the quickest way to all match-day content

StonesGoals YouTube channel: the quickest way to all match-day content

If you’re not already subscribed to the StonesGoals YouTube channel I would encourage you to do so. All StonesGoals content is uploaded there prior to being pumped out across Twitter, and I invariably tend to tweet just key chances and goals.

Speed is of the essence, and it remains my priority to disseminate clips quickly and effectively – obviously that will continue through the @StonesGoals Twitter feed but if you’re eager for more head over to YouTube where you’ll find content that forms part of the full match highlights, stuff that is captured but not instantly tweeted.

The direct channel link is youtube.com/stonesgoals.

@StonesGoals website rebuild

I remain keen to enhance the service and welcome feedback (good or bad). I have been rebuilding this website over the past few weeks with the aim that all YouTube match-day clips automatically pull through.

It’ll act as a better container for highlights and previews and I’m hopeful the look and feel will move @StonesGoals away from blog-led to a more service-led approach – one that will do better justice to the clips and pics whilst adding an important touch of professionalism.

You can see a preview of this site below. I’d hope for this to be up and running by November.

new site: @StonesGoals

new site: @StonesGoals