St Martins 2-1 Stone Old Alleynians

Stone Old Alleynians unbeaten run came to a disappointing end with a 2-1 defeat at high-flying St Martins.

A lacklustre display from Matt Smith’s men meant that they tasted defeat for the first time in 13 games, a run that stretched back to early October.

Danny Heard’s equaliser midway through the first half was the sole plus point for the Old Boys, who slipped to sixth, and also lost in-form striker Ben Lewis early on with a fractured metatarsal.

Ben Lewis on the attack before having to come off with a broken foot
Ben Lewis on the attack before having to come off with a broken foot

It was a nightmare start for Alleynians, Chris Heard was harshly judged to have committed a foul on the edge of his own penalty area, and Shaheen Miah piled on the misery by superbly curling the free kick past the stretching Lewis Paglia.

The visitors were then let off minutes later when another Miah free-kick on the edge of the box found the unmarked Sam Litchfield six yards out, but fortunately for the Old Boys he headed wide.

Lewis Paglia unable to keep out Shaheen Miah's free kick
Lewis Paglia unable to keep out Shaheen Miah’s free kick

Stone then equalised with their first real attack. Danny Heard’s slide rule pass split the host’s defence, allowing Carl Dibden to race into the box before cutting the ball back to Heard who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal seemed to settle the visitors who began to get more of a hold of proceedings without creating any clear-cut chances, Luke Askey’s header the only other effort on target before the interval.

The hosts began the second half in the ascendancy, forcing Chris Heard into a goal-line clearance from another Miah set piece after Litchfield rose highest to head his corner goalwards.

St Martins then got the reward that their dominance deserved, after clever wing play from the lively Shawn Melusi forced a save from Paglia, but Josh Sumner was on hand to put away the rebound.

As in the first half, going behind proved the spark that the Old Boys needed, Matt Thomas forcing a save out of the host’s keeper following a slick passing move.

Stone took to a more direct approach in their desperation for an equaliser, and in injury time, an Adam Tomkinson corner found its way to Danny Heard at the far post but the frontman was unable to keep his volley below the bar.

Manager Matt Smith looks on as his side slip to first defeat in 13 games
Manager Matt Smith (centre) looks on as his side slip to first defeat in 13 games

Manager Matt Smith found it to be a very disappointing game all round.

“There aren’t many positives to take away from today as it was a bad result and a bad performance. We never really got ourselves going, we had some good opportunities but weren’t able to turn them into chances, and then a defence lapse has cost us.

“But there are a lot of games left to play so we just need to make sure that we bounce back next week.” He said.

“I was disappointed with the officials today, there is no way that the foul for the free kick for their first goal is a foul, it is so soft, and then straight after that he doesn’t give anything for a foul on Ben Lewis that leaves him with a broken metatarsal.” Smith added.

Stone OA: Paglia, Bigham, Askey (c), Whalley, Hodgkinson, Tomkinson, C Heard (Griffiths), Sinclair (Buckley), Lewis (Thomas), Dibden, D Heard