A BIZARRE strike by Terras’ stopper Jason Matthews handed the visitors the three points at Haig Avenue.

The 32-year-old’s wind-assisted effort just two minutes from the end ensured the Dorset outfit sealed back-to-back victories for the first time since November and moved only six points adrift of the Nationwide Conference National play-offs.

Weymouth boss Jason Tindall retained the same starting line up that began the 3-2 success over Crawley Town last Tuesday night and from the start it was clear that the strong wind and bumpy pitch were going to play a huge part in the outcome of the proceedings.

Playing into the wind in the first half Weymouth found it difficult to clear their lines while the home side attempted to make use of the conditions by shooting from distance. The Terras had to soak up a lot of pressure but they still looked dangerous on the break.

Matthews saved easily from Carl Baker and Liam Blakeman shot wide before Weymouth mounted their first attack.

Simon Weatherstone intercepted a poor pass by Baker and played the ball to Nick Crittenden but unfortunately his long ball found Ishmael Welsh in an offside position.

Matthews saved at the feet of Stephen Rowland in the 15th minute and just three minutes later the same player nearly found Paul Tait with a cross but it was just too long.

The home side’s best opportunity of the half came after 27 minutes when Mark Birch found Tony Gray. Matthews pulled off a terrific save but was unable to hold Gray’s drive and the rebound fell to Mark Duffy. Fortunately the home midfielder’s effort was deflected for a corner.

In the 29th minute Weatherstone and Adam Cottrell combined to find Stuart Beavon. The young striker played the ball into the path of Raphael Nade who brought it down on his chest and fired in a shot on the turn which Terry Smith held well.

Whilst the home side probably shaded the final minutes of the half, mainly due to the Terras’ inability to clear their lines, they were restricted to long distance efforts with Rowland’s strike from the halfway line causing Matthews to back pedal before going wide.

At the interval Weymouth replaced Callum Crawley with Narada Bernard. The defender lasted just 10 minutes before suffering an injury in a challenge forcing Tindall to bring Conal Platt into the action in his place.

Although Weymouth were making most of the running the home side were proving dangerous on the break and might have opened the scoring with a little more composure. The most notable occasion being when Sean Paterson and Tait were free just three yards from goal.

With Matthews helpless on the floor and the Terras’ defenders nowhere in sight Paterson hit his shot into Tait’s back and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

Both sides survived penalty appeals in debatable circumstances. For Southport, Tait managed to evade Trevor Challis and run into the box but the defender recovered to tussle with the front man, who went down in theatrical style. The referee judged that Tait had dived and cautioned him amid great protest.

At the other end, Nade then met a corner by Crittenden with his head but Dugdale stopped his effort on the line. It appeared that the Southport man had used his hand but the referee was not best placed to see the incident and waved play on.

When Weymouth’s goal did finally arrive, it was one of those that only a few of us get to see in a lifetime of watching football.

The ball was played midway into the Terras’ half and Matthews – following Tindall’s half-time instructions to kick the ball through the centre of the field – let fly with a punt up field, His clearance carried in the wind and took one bounce in front of Smith before sailing over him and into the net.

Matthews’ celebration was also something to behold. The stopper managed to slide a full 10 yards on his stomach before being flattened by the rest of his team.

This was the first goal scored by a Weymouth goalkeeper in open play in the club’s history and could not have come at a better time for the hard-working Terras.

Dorset Echo

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