Poor Terras lack fight
WEYMOUTH were unable to repeat their Hardenhuish Park heroics as they experienced defeat for the first time this season.
For the second match in succession, the Terras gave their opponents a two-goal head-start.
But unlike last Tuesday’s draw at Chippenham, there was to be no miraculous comeback from Brendon King’s men as they fell to a 4-2 reverse at St Neots Town, who in turn recorded their maiden victory in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.
The manager said afterwards: “We were poor. Collectively and individually we just weren’t at the races.
“We did make a good start and we were on top in the first 10 minutes. They hadn’t got out of their half but with their first meaningful attack they scored. And it came with us in possession, which is unforgiveable.
“Their third goal was a free header and although we got a goal back through Mark Ford, we conceded another with the ball in our possession once again. We looked most vulnerable when we had the ball.
“We had a chat afterwards and certain things were said, but it’s important no one panics as it’s only the third game of the season.”
Following last week’s fight-back, King made just one change to his starting XI – Alex Jeannin replacing Scott Dixon at left-back.
Having been urged by their manager to avoid another slow start, the first opportunity in Cambridgeshire fell to the Terras.
But after Dan Smith’s corner was only cleared as far as Kyle Critchell, home defender Declan Rogers was in the right place at the right time to prevent a certain goal.
The Saints took note of that early warning and responded with an effort from Stefan Moore that proved comfortable for visiting gloveman Simon Evans.
A three-man move released Dan Jacob and he rolled the ball across goal, allowing Ben Mackey to slide home the opener.
Weymouth responded positively and came within a whisker of restoring parity. After good work from strike partners Smith and Ben Joyce, the ball was laid back to Craig Duff but his 20-yard strike came back off a post before being hacked to safety.
At the other end, an unmarked Jordan Gent headed wide before Moore doubled St Neots’ tally in the 24th minute.
The former Aston Villa and QPR man appeared to be offside as he latched on to Ollie Thorn’s through ball, but the flag stayed down and Moore made no mistake.
The Terras may have found themselves three down heading into the half-time break but Mackey could only find the side-netting from an acute angle.
Despite clawing their way back from two goals at Chippenham, the chances of a repeat show looked extremely slim early in the second period.
Evans was forced to make a superb save to deny Lewis Hilliard with Jay Davies’ rebound being deflected for a corner.
The resulting delivery from Hilliard was met with a downward header by Arthur Lee and the Saints were three goals to the good.
King responded by making a double change. Mark Ford and Matt Groves replaced Jeannin and Joyce, and the switch paid immediate dividends.
A ball forward from skipper Scott Walker, now playing at left-back, found Groves and he picked out Ford, who beat keeper Michael Duggan from 15 yards.
However, the three-goal cushion was restored just three minutes later. Barry McConnell was dispossessed by Jacob and the home attack ended with Hilliard giving Evans no chance whatsoever.
Mackey missed an open goal 12 minutes before the end, somehow heading wide when it seemed easier to score, while at the other end Ford and Smith both failed to hit the target.
The Terras did manage a second goal, albeit mere consolation, and it came from the spot.
Ford was upended in the box by Gent and Walker, for the second time in as many games, converted from 12 yards – despite Duggan guessing correctly.
There was one final chance for the away side as substitute Lewis Clarke fired into the side-netting but the damage had been done and Weymouth will look to bounce back at home to Bideford this afternoon (3pm).