The Ryman Football League
Published 11th May 2012
....show for their season after suffering play-off heartbreak.
The Stones lost their Ryman League Premier Division semi-final after they were beaten 2-1 by Lowestoft Town.
Wealdstone were reduced to nine men in a controversial match and were sunk by a penalty six minutes into injury time.
Bartlett said: “It’s been a fantastic season but we’re all disappointed that we have nothing to show for it. The players and fans deserve something from it.
“After the match, the fans stayed singing for 20 minutes as if we had won the match. It was absolutely amazing considering we had just been beaten.
“We have to reflect positively on the season but we’re bitterly disappointed to have nothing to show for it.”
It was a horrible way for the season to end after Bartlett’s side won seven of their last eight league games to finish fourth.
The Stones also reached the last-four of the FA Trophy with a remarkable run in the non-League competition. But Wealdstone ultimately came up just short after their agonising defeat to Lowestoft, who were beaten in the final by AFC Hornchurch.
The hosts took the lead against the Stones after 21 minutes when Scott Mitchell pulled the ball back across goal for Chris Henderson to net from six yards out.
The Stones equalised just after an hour when Scott Fitzgerald headed home Lee Chappell’s cross.
But two quick dismissals for Wealdstone left their hopes in disarray. Chris O’Leary reacted to a challenge by pushing Mitchell and was shown a second yellow card.
It got even worse minutes later when Sean Cronin saw red for a two-footed challenge.
Wealdstone defended bravely but were caught out deep in stoppage time when Scott McCubbin brought down Lubomir Guentchev and Dean Sinclair’s penalty ended their promotion dreams.
Bartlett, who was named manager of the month for April, said: “To lose two men in two minutes, we knew it would be an uphill battle.
“We put so much into it and we felt a little bit hard done by but we have to get over the disappointment.
“We have to turn the negatives into positives. If we can keep our squad together then I see no reason why we can’t have a good season next year.
“I struggle to see why anyone would want to leave unless they were going to a much higher level. There is a feel good factor around the club. Why would people want to walk away from that?
“We have something pretty special here and I hope the players want to come back and help take us the next step further.
“The players are disappointed but there is no point looking back at what might have been.”