BRIAN’S BACK TO GIVE TERRAS DERBY JOY
EARLY riser Brian Dutton earned Weymouth fans the local bragging rights at the Wessex Stadium yesterday.
The recalled midfielder took just 77 seconds to head home what proved to be the Terras winner against Conference South neighbours Dorchester Town.
Dutton had been out of manager Garry Hill’s starting line-up for seven games before this Boxing Day clash.
But the 20-year-old former Cam-bridge United star returned in style to settle a hard-fought contest in front of a record league crowd at Radipole Lane of 4,029.
Dutton’s close range effort sealed a ninth straight league win for Hill’s table-toppers, and surely none will have been as sweet as this one.
For Dorchester, themselves unbeaten in eight games going into this derby, it was a case of what might been on a bitterly cold afternoon south of the Ridgeway.
Having survived relentless early pressure, Mark Morris’ hard-workers improved as the game wore on and arguably departed deserving at least a point.
In the end poor finishing, notably from strikers Jamie Brown and Matt Groves, cost the county town outfit dear.
With the meeting billed as the clash of Conference South in-form teams, this was always going to be a tight affair.
And despite Weymouth threatening to run riot in the opening exchanges, so it proved.
A repeat of the Terras 8-0 stuffing of Dorchester looked a realistic possibility in the first ten minutes as Hill’s team set out like a team possessed.
It took less than two minutes for Magpies fans worst fears to come true.
A patient build up involving Chukki Eribenne and Andy Harris ended with Darren Wheeler forcing his way to the by-line.
The winger sent over an inch perfect cross for Dutton to head home at the far post.
To their credit, Dorchester nearly hit back straight away. Simon Radcliffe found Glenn Howes whose stinging effort was pushed away by home keeper Jason Matthews.
But Weymouth’s relentless pressure continued and a drubbing looked the most likely outcome.
The rampant hosts had two efforts cleared off the line and another hit the bar during a ten-minute siege.
Eribenne’s close range header was turned away from under his own bar by Radcliffe before moments later the alert Alex Browne cleared Dutton’s shot off the line.
The Weymouth waves of attacks continued as Wheeler found Eribenne whose half-volley was tipped onto the bar by over-worked Magpies keeper Craig Bradshaw.
After such a frenetic start, it was perhaps understandably things quietened down after that. And with the pace slower, Dorchester began to find their feet and threaten themselves, wasting a golden opportunity to equalise on 13 minutes.
Terras skipper Matt Bound slipped in his own area, gifting possession to Matt Groves six yards out.
Most people would have put their house on the lethal Magpies striker finding the net.
But the unmarked Groves was left as red as Santa Claus when he embarrassingly sliced his shot well wide to the relief of the home crowd.
After previous full-blooded derbies, this one was somewhat less controversial.
The only real flashpoint came when Dorchester’s Jamie Brown escaped a booking after a late
challenge on Terras defender Steve Tully midway through the opening half.
Weymouth enjoyed the majority of possession as the half drew on, but it was the away side who fashioned the better openings.
Mark Jermyn scuffed a close range effort wide before Justin Keeler failed to hit the target from a promising position on the edge of the area.
Dorchester, for whom Keeler stood out, fired another warning shot seconds before the interval.
Jermyn chested down a loose ball 30 yards before sending a looping effort goalwards which back-pedalling Matthews touched over.
The second half started as the first finished, with the Magpies threatening an equaliser.
Glen Howes’s first-time volley was deflected just wide, Groves fired into Matthews midriff after rolling a couple of defenders, then Morgan went close with a downward header.
Dorchester’s half-hearted appeals for a penalty, after Howes went down under a challenge from Andy Harris, were then waved away by referee James Linnington.
Weymouth, who had a short spell without full-back Trevor Challis who needed treatment to a head cut, struggled to create anything.
Often the Terras, for whom Eribenne curled a tame effort wide on the hour, relied on strong defending by centre halves Matt Bound and Roy O’Brien to keep them ahead.
Hill tried to shore things up by sacrificing tricky winger Wheeler for gritty substitute Shaun Wilkinson.
And the switch nearly paid off when a superb run down the right by Tully led to the
ball breaking for Harris
whose thunderbolt from 20 yards was deflected behind by Browne.
Dorchester boss Morris made changes to try and conjure up an equaliser – forwards Ryan Moss and Larbi Mekchiche replaced midfielders Mark Robinson and Mark Jermyn.
Mekchiche could and should have done the trick on 76 minutes.
The Frenchman raced into the area and with plenty of team-mates in support opted to go for glory instead, only to end up slicing horribly wide.
With time running out Weymouth had a few other scares, and not just from the claret-short clad streaker who invaded the pitch.
Groves was inches away from seizing on O’Brien’s header back to Matthews and Keeler was not far away with a well-struck volley.
But it proved too little too late for Morris’ men who will now be out for revenge when the two sides meet again at the Avenue Stadium on Monday.