Competent Terras in Royal opener
WEYMOUTH 1 READING 3
WEYMOUTH gave an encouraging display as they opened their warm-up campaign against Reading at the Wessex Stadium.
The Terras proved more than a match for last season’s beaten Nationwide Division Two play-off finalists and that despite having four debutant trialists in their line-up.
And the quartet of new boys – Plymouth youngsters Danny Bance and Joe Broad, former Exeter striker Rob Speakman and one-time Bournemouth apprentice Michael Sajic – all did enough to be invited back for more.
The Royals, who arrived late due to heavy traffic, soon got into gear with live-wire Nicky Forster shooting just wide in the very first minute.
The Madjeski Stadium outfit then began to spray the ball around at leisure with the impressive Alex Smith pulling the strings in midfield.
Slowly, but surely the Terras came into the game and a chance went begging when Lee Phillips’ shot lacked power and direction after being put clean through on goal.
On 13 minutes Phillips thought he should have had a penalty when he was upended in the box, but Premiership referee Paul Durkin waved away his appeal.
The hosts then enjoyed their best spell of the game, during which a number of decent chances were wasted.
Phillips was again the guilty party on two occasions – first losing control with only the keeper to beat and then striking the post from close range following Darran Rowbotham’s delightful flick.
Out of contract John Waldock showed sharp reactions in the opponent’s box, looping a 12 yard effort that was well saved by Jamie Ashdown in the visiting goal.
Chances were coming thick and fast for the Terras, and Mark Robinson was unlucky when Ashdown saved at his feet after the midfielder had linked up well with Michael Dean.
But on 23 minutes, and against the run of play, Reading took the lead.
After receiving a ball from the right-hand side, Royals striker Danus Henderson mis-kicked his shot, and the ball richoted to Forster who made no mistake from ten yards.
The Terras didn’t let the setback distract them as Ian Hutchinson fired just over from 22 yards and Broad screwed inches wide following an excellent build-up involving Rowbotham, Robinson and Matthew Hale.
But on the half hour, Waldock fouled Forster 20 yards out and up stepped James Harper to curl the free-kick which took a deflection before creeping in at the far post.
The Terras seem to lose their way for the rest of the first-half with Forster threatening to increase Reading’s advantage on a couple of occasions.
Each team made a number of changes at the break with Terras boss Andy Mason introducing Speakman, Sajec, Martin Underhay, and Simon Browne.
Things went a bit flat for the opening 15 minutes of the second period with neither side creating much in the way of clear-cut opportunities.
Dave Newland then replaced newcomer Bance on 56 minutes and three minutes later home keeper Danny Potter was forced into action, turning a shot from Forster around the post for a corner.
Eventually the Terras got the goal they deserved on 67 minutes when Underhay was fed out on the right by Robinson.
He forced his way to the edge of the box and blasted the ball across goal where Speakman was well-placed to hit home via a post. The Royals upped the tempo in the last fifteen minutes and their superior fitness told.
Man-of-the-match Forster slotted home his side’s third late on and he should have completed his hat-trick when nudging just wide of Gavin Bates’ goal on 89 minutes.
But with Mason having given no less than 20 players a run-out, a 3-1 scoreline represented a decent afternoon’s work by the Terras.
Weymouth: Potter, Bance, Hale, Broad, Waldock, Cross, Robinson, Hutchinson, Rowbotham, Dean, Phillips. Subs used: Underhay, Speakman, Walker, Newland, S Browne, Sajec, Bates, Clasby, Oldrid.
Reading: Ashdown, Whitbread, Robinson, Parkinson, Viveash, Smith, Harper, Williams, Henderson, Forster, Hughes. Subs: Gamble, Shorey, Hunter, Murty, Igoe.