Famous five for Terras
THE ‘Battle of Barwell’ certainly lived up to its pre-match billing and it was the hosts who lost their cool and the game as Mark Ford’s first-half strike won it for the Terras.
Ford’s winner means Weymouth are now enjoying their best run of away form in the league for 15 seasons, putting them firmly on the heels of the clubs at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.
Boss Brendon King rewarded the side that beat Arlesey last time out by sticking with the same starting line-up in Leicestershire and it paid dividends, though it could have been a lot bigger margin of victory than it was.
And while the Terras spurned several chances to make the scoreline more emphatic, keeper Simon Evans had to be alert to preserve a clean sheet, making one key save in the first half, which prevented the hosts from making it 1-1.
It was Barwell who worked the first opening just before the 10-minute mark when a right-wing cross from full-back Scott Lower was met by Tom Weale but his close-range effort was smothered by Evans.
However, the Terras hit back and took the lead with some great work by Craig Duff as he found room on the right flank and his centre found Ford who showed his striker’s instinct to rifle home and give Wey-mouth a lead they defended to the end.
There was a sign of things to come moments later when Barwell midfielder Jamie Towers was cautioned and he was soon to be followed into the referee’s notebook on the half hour by Scott Lower.
Towers almost found an equaliser on the brink of half-time when he broke free of the Weymouth defence and saw his shot saved low down by the impressive Evans.
The second period nearly got under way with a bang for the visitors. Left-back Ashley Wells burst forward and unleashed a stinging drive from 30 yards only to see it fly just wide of Barwell keeper Liam Castle’s upright.
Duff then blotted his copybook with a caution for dissent but worse was to follow for the hosts on 56 minutes when Matt West was dismissed after appearing to punch Danny Clay in an off-the-ball incident, which understandably had the Terras fuming.
Towers then tested Evans again before Weymouth came close to a second when Scott Walker’s free-kick from 25 yards was not quite good enough to beat Castle.
Things then went from bad to worse for the home side when Lower received his marching orders for a second studs-up tackle, which left the referee with no option but to get his red card out again.
But as the game entered the last 10 minutes a Weymouth win was by no means guaranteed.
The Terras had opportunities to close it out when Ben Joyce saw his shot saved and substitute Matt Groves, on for goalscorer Ford, could not find the target when through one-on-one with Castle.
And disaster nearly struck King’s men in injury-time when Barwell thought they had rescued a point only for the linesman’s flag to go up for offside, much to the relief of the visitors and the travelling support.
“I didn’t think it was necessarily a dirty match,” said the Weymouth manager after seeing his side move to within a point of the play-offs. “They are a strong and physical side and we knew we had to look after ourselves.
“The first red card was for a punch on Danny Clay off the ball which was a horrendous thing to do while the second one was for two tackles where their player went in with studs showing, which you can’t do.
“The first red card actually seemed to galvanise them and we had to be on the ball to stop them from scoring.”
He added: “Mark Ford took his chance well and that goal gave us the platform we needed and from there on we were able to limit them to a few chances.
“Simon Evans made a great save in the first half which kept us in the game and he played well all afternoon.”
So it’s five on the trot on their travels for the Terras and with bottom-of-the table Kettering up next on Sunday you would not bet against them making it six as the race for promotion heats up.