Smith 2, King
NEWPORT (IOW) 1
WEYMOUTH’s player-manager Paul Compton carried out his threat to make changes to his team last night.
And they duly beat Newport Isle of Wight in the first leg of the Larch Image Window Cup.
But he wasn’t satisfied. “We played some good stuff for long periods,” he said. “But we fell away at times. I was happy that we scored three goals, but there is still room for improvement.”
Ironically, it was Jorge Diaz, one of the youngsters he left out along with Gary Fullbrook and Brian McGorry, who hit back at the boss with some determined running over the final ten minutes after coming out as substitute.
Diaz produced a great run four minutes from the end, when he left his marker and made ground fast down the right flank before producing a peach of a pass to find the wide-awake Kevin Smith just inside the box.
The Terras’ attack-leader, who scored two second-half goals to back up one earlier in the game from Brendon King, did the rest.
Smith breasted the ball down in confident style, kept control and strode on to hammer home the goal of the match.
It was his tenth of the season – and a beauty.
In the last minute, Diaz, who had come out as a tactical substitute for Richard Evans, made another strong effort, crossing perfectly to the far post to give smith the chance of achieving his second hat-trick of the season. But Paul Moore, in the Newport goal, went full stretch to reach Smith’s header.
The match itself was nothing to write home about. It was scrappy and I always had the impression that if only Weymouth had been able to keep piling on the pressure they would have won by double their final score.
As it was, the Terras were careless at the back a number of times and lucky that Newport failed to take the few chances that came their way.
Even so, Newport grabbed an away goal which counts double and could prove vital in next Tuesday’s second leg game.
And Weymouth met with more bad luck towards the end when Compton went off with a shoulder injury, although he told me: “I will be back for our important league match at home to Crawley on Saturday.”
Man-of-the-match Smith showed his shooting power early on, when Moore was fully extended in diving to push out a shot from outside the penalty box from the centre-forward.
Then, after 20 minutes, King put Weymouth ahead. He kept cool in trapping the ball on the left of the box, following a well laid David Hughes’ pass, and leaving Moore helpless with a low shot from an angle.
Newport sent out substitute Matt Porter on the half-hour, when Simon Russell was carried off with an ankle injury.
The visitors with so little to offer up front, apart from hitting and hoping, drew level in the 50th minute with a long shot from Steve Greening over the head of goalkeeper Sean Ford.
And twice Newport should have scored. Andy Sampson was clean through, but lobbed the ball over the bar from 15 yards with only Ford to beat.
Greening should have also scored, instead heading a cross from close range into Ford’s arms.
In the 70th minute Newport failed to get a corner away and Smith pounced to score from close-range after two stinging shots had been block on the line.
Then came Smith’s super goal to make Weymouth’s scoreline look more respectable. But they also should have scored more against such weak opposition.
Richard Cooper, back in Weymouth’s midfield, and Tony Brown, brought in at right-back, both persevered. But still need to finish more often where it all count – in front of goal.
Weymouth: Ford, T Brown, S Browne, Johnson, Compton (Harrison 77 mins), King, Hughes, Cooper, Smith, Evans (Diaz 57 mins), Pugh.