Ben bags double as Terras go eighth
A well-taken double from in-form Ben Joyce earned Weymouth a much-needed home victory over hard-working visitors Arlesey.
This long-overdue triumph at the Bob Lucas Stadium – the first since a 3-2 defeat of Hitchin Town on October 20 – saw the Terras leapfrog their opponents and shoot up to eighth-place in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division as they secured their third win on the spin.
And this latest victory would no doubt have thrilled the Terras’ faithful who turned out in good numbers, boosted by a large contingent – 148 – from the club’s youth section who were invited along for the afternoon.
For the third game in succession boss Brendon King wisely decided to keep his faith in the team that had won back-to-back way games at Bedford and Chesham so the only change affected the bench where new signing Jamie Skinner earned a slot in place of reserve keeper Chris Povall.
The hosts got off to a perfect start with an opening goal inside four minutes when Mark Ford chased a ball into the left channel, pulled it back neatly from the byline to Ben Joyce who side-footed beyond visiting keeper Nathan Abbey.
However, that was as good as it got for either side in what became a scrappy opening 45 minutes, lacking any pattern or quality.
Indeed the next attempt on goal did not arrive until the 21st minute when Joyce nearly hit a corner flag with a horribly skewed effort and then moments later Joyce must have felt better as he saw Ben Farrell repeat the trick with Town’s first attempt of the game.
Then, just before the half-hour mark, Ford played a neat wall-pass with Joyce only for the former, who had a good sight of goal, to strike tamely at Abbey from 18 yards.
After 35 minutes, referee Peter Lavelle showed common sense to let Ashley Wells and Drew Roberts off with a stern word after both had tangled as Wells shielded the ball out for a goal-kick just before Stephen Reed looked to set Ford away on goal but, frustratingly, overhit the pass.
Late in the half, two home corners from Walker and Reed were hacked from the line while in first-half stoppage time Palmer expertly snuffed out the danger with a commanding header from a Roberts’ corner at the other end.
It was hardly edge-of-the-seat entertainment but at least the second period began with a better tempo and Joyce cheered the crowd with his second strike just five minutes in.
The former Kettering striker strode down the left flank before neatly cutting in and rifling a low drive inside Abbey’s left-hand upright from 15 yards to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
The omens were good for a much-needed home win and, from that point, the Terras appeared content to protect what they had got.
As expected Arlesey made a real fight of it though, but resolute defending ensured they were limited to very few openings.
Dangerman Roberts saw his snapshot on the hour well held by Evans and then, five minutes later, Town deservedly pulled one back with their best period of sustained pressure.
Roberts floated a free-kick to the back post where Leon Hibbert’s towering header was kept out by a top- drawer save from Evans, who managed to fling out a palm to tip it over the bar.
However, from the resulting Rob-erts’ corner Hibbert went one better as he jumped highest to power a header home at the back stick.
It could have been a really nervy ride for Weymouth over the next 25 minutes but they limited Town to just a couple of half-chances as they comfortably saw out the game.
In the 76th minute, Chris Marsh sent a dipping volley just over the top, seconds after his cross had caused anxiety with an indecisive Evans finally flicking the ball away from danger.
And there was only one more moment of tension for the home crowd to endure, when in the fourth minute of added time, Aston Goss dribbled a shot agonisingly wide for Town as the Terras held on for a priceless home win.