Duff is denied again as King’s men crash out
CRAIG Duff had an effort ruled out for the second successive game as Weymouth crashed out of the FA Cup at the Camrose.
Blue Square Bet South outfit Basingstoke had more of the chances but the Terras matched them throughout and could count themselves unlucky at the final whistle.
Ben Joyce put the visitors into a shock lead and after Town had turned the tables to go 2-1 up, Brendon King’s men were then denied an equaliser when Duff prodded the ball home with eight minutes remaining, only to see it chalked off by an offside flag.
The midfielder also had a header disallowed at Frome Town last Wednesday so when Basingstoke went on to add a third in injury-time it was no surprise to see the Terras completely deflated come the end.
With skipper Scott Walker joining Sam Poole and Ashley Wells on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, King decided to switch back to a 4-4-2 system with Matt Groves coming in to partner Joyce up front.
There was also a surprise on the bench where ex-Portland United defender Ben Doidge was included alongside Jamie Perry, Scott Dixon, Lee Sharpe and Mark Ford.
Basingstoke made the brighter start but the visitors’ defence stood firm with Alex Jeannin making an excellent clearance on nine minutes following a dangerous break from Jordace Holder-Spooner.
Keeper Simon Evans then rushed off his line and made a vital intervention to thwart Tim Sills before Holder-Spooner had an effort blocked after a fine pass from Shaun McAuley.
It appeared Town were getting on top but on 17 minutes they were hit by a sucker punch when smart interplay between Dan Smith and Matt Groves led to the latter pulling the ball back from the byline to Joyce, who fired home to the delight of the travelling fans.
The hosts looked stunned but just three minutes later they went close to levelling when Holder-Spooner’s header from a corner was cleared off the line by Lewis Clarke.
The Terras then responded with an effort from Jeannin that flew just off target and it was the Frenchman that was in the thick of things again on 26 minutes when he made another goal-saving intervention to deny Sills.
The visitors were defending like lions but 11 minutes later Town finally broke through when Sills looped home a header after Evans had misjudged a cross from Matt Warner.
Despite grabbing the equaliser, Basingstoke refused to let up and just seconds before the interval they took the lead when Ross Adams poked home after Jay Gasson’s header from a corner had ricocheted kindly into his path.
Half-time gave the Terras a chance to regroup but Town came straight out after the restart looking to put the game to bed with Nathan Smart sending a header over the crossbar.
A slick counter-attack then saw McAuley have a shot pushed over the bar by Evans moments later before Adams had a header blocked at the resulting corner.
Sills then threatened again with an attempt that flew just wide but as Basingstoke pushed on the Terras looked to counter with Smith’s dangerous cut-back from the byline being cleared by a piece of last-ditch defending.
The visitors continued to scrap and play the better football at times but on 64 minutes they could only watch on with relief as the impressive Holder-Spooner hammered a free-kick against the crossbar.
Evans then rushed off his line to save at the feet of McAuley before King opted to go for broke by bringing Ford on for Clarke with 16 minutes remaining.
Fellow substitute Delano Sam-Yorke, who replaced Holder-Spooner at the same time, made the quickest impact though by breaking away and firing a shot across the face of goal for Town as Weymouth began throwing men forward.
Wes Daly then somehow blazed over a rebound after Evans had parried a shot from Callum McNish before Duff stabbed the ball home at the other end, only to see it ruled out by a raised flag.
The Terras were adamant the goal should have stood and made their feelings known with Smith entering the book for dissent.
The incident was hard to call but it certainly added some extra vigour to Weymouth’s play as they began to pile on the pressure in an attempt to force a replay.
Unfortunately though, Town went on to kill the tie in added-time when Sam-Yorke found McNish, who fired past Evans at the second attempt to finally put the game beyond their plucky opponents.