Chelmsford City 0-3 Weymouth
By Liz Randle
A DOUBLE Terras goal-strike within three minutes just after half-time settled this match between two promotion-chasing sides, but in reality there was only one team in it from the kick-off.
Weymouth were by far the better side throughout, outclassing the current league leaders and but for some woeful late second half finishing, they would have returned with a fully-justified winning margin of at least half-a-dozen goals.
The Terras were clearly more fired up from the start of this encounter, played on the exposed Dengle Marshes of Maldon Town’s bleak ground – homeless City’s current groundsharing partner.
And Weymouth president Don Stevens said the match produced one of the most outstanding Terras displays for many years.
He said: “With a lifetime association with Weymouth Football Club I would rate the performance at Chelmsford as one of the best I have seen.
“The 100-or-so travelling supporters who made the long journey and certainly played their part in the eventual success got a superb reward for their efforts.
“I spoke to my counterpart at the Chelmsford club after the match and, despite being on the losing side, he was full of admiration for the Weymouth team.”
Weymouth effectively won the points after 49 minutes when after a slow build-up down the right Ian Hutchinson jinked his way inside an exposed home defence to deliver a low left-foot shot which beat the outstretched keeper Lee Ballard to hit the inside of the far upright and into the net.
Three minutes later it was again down the right where the Terras created the opening as John Waldock waltzed around City player-boss Gary Bellamy and from the by-line sent over a high cross to the left where the unmarked Neil Housley crashed the ball into the roof of the net first time from an acute angle.
It was no more than the Terras deserved and particularly the busy Housley, who on his return from a loan spell at Salisbury, was a constant thorn in the home defence all afternoon until he was substituted in the 72nd minute for Aaron Watkins.
It was Housley who had given Weymouth the lead in the 32nd minute with a well-taken goal, having drifted unmarked into the middle and just inside the City area to receive a fine through-ball from Waldock.
In one swift move he controlled the ball, turned and drove it into the far corner of the net, giving keeper Ballard no chance. It was an opening goal that had been coming for some time and the Terras should have opened their account eight minutes beforehand when the impressive Alex Browne had moved up for their first corner.
He rose above everyone to head the ball goalwards only to see the fortunate keeper Ballard just manage to push it onto the underside of the bar before full-back Brett Girling scrambled it away for another corner.
With Weymouth controlling the midfield, Browne, Waldock and Mason well in command at the back and temporary manager David Laws leading the front line so effectively, the home side had few chances and, surprisingly for league leaders, little idea of what to do on the day.
Their best two chances of the afternoon came from the speedy Jamie Reilly who raced clear of the Weymouth defence in the 29th minute only to send his hard shot across the goal and behind for a goal kick.
He broke away again four minutes from the end and with only keeper Paul Myers to beat, screwed his shot into the side netting.
By then though the Terras were home and dry and fully deserving their comfortable win, which should have been greater had Laws not fluffed two easy late chances and Mark Robinson also missed another clear opening.
The only black mark of the afternoon was another booking for Nick Flory for more of a clumsy first-half on striker Richard Cherr, who was going nowhere at the time.
TERRAS: P Myers, D Powell, N Flory, A Browne, J Waldock, A Mason, M Robinson, I Hutchinson, M Jackson, D Laws, N Housley
Sub: A Watkins
Subs not used: L Bradford, M Boulton
Scorers: Housley 2, Robinson