Torture at Totton for Terras
A FOUR-GOAL second-half blast from Totton left Weymouth completely shell-shocked at the Testwood Stadium last night as they twice surrendered the lead before suffering a humiliating 5-2 reverse.
Ben Joyce twice put the Terras in front during a commanding first half that saw the Stags reply through a hotly-disputed goal from Richard Gillespie.
However, the visitors could have little to complain about as Ryan Hill levelled for the second time to spark an amazing final half-hour for the Stags who went on to net three more – one coming from the boot of former Terra James Coutts.
There was just two notable changes in the Terras’ starting line-up following the encouraging stalemate at Gosport on Saturday with Kyle Critchell switching to a defensive role in place of the unavailable Ashley Wells.
This opened up an opportunity for assistant player-boss Matt Groves who gained a rare start playing alongside Ben Joyce in attack while Dan Smith dropped back into midfield.
When the action started it took 13 minutes before either goal was threatened when Bailey Cargill drove down the left flank only to watch his low centre across the box elude everybody.
Moments later, Groves earned an early booking for a foul on keeper Gareth Barfoot just before a poor clearance from the visitors allowed Coutts a sight of goal but the former Terra and Magpie pulled his shot wide of Simon Evans’ goal.
Midway through the first period, the hosts were on the front foot again and it took a terrific last-ditch tackle from Critchell to prevent Jonathon Davis from scoring on the break.
Weymouth made their first meaningful response in the 24th minute following a clearance from Evans that picked out Craig Duff and his rising drive was expertly tipped clear by Barfoot.
And then, seven minutes later, Smith, marauding down the right, slipped in Joyce but the former Kettering striker drove just wide.
Eight minutes before the break the visitors were let off the hook when poor control from Stephen Reed saw a chance fall to Richard Gillespie but the striker was adjudged offside as he shot straight at Evans.
And it was from that free-kick that the game was to burst into life with the first of three goals in just seven minutes.
Evans launched the ball forward looking for Joyce who showed first-class control on the spin before arrowing a 25-yarder into the far corner beyond Barfoot.
However, that lead was to last scarcely three minutes as Gillespie, ignoring strong apeals for offside, slotted past Evans for one apiece.
In the aftermath of the Stags’ equaliser, Barry McConnell saw his name taken for his part in the protests, and then within four further minutes the Terras got their noses in front a second time.
Cutting in from the left flank, Joyce added his second of the night with a fantastic drive that beat Barfoot all ends up as it flew into the top corner to give Weymouth a 2-1 interval lead.
Ten minutes after the restart, Duff tried to slip Groves in but an alert Barfoot just reached the ball first to thwart the danger Either side of the hour mark, both Ross Bottomley (dissent) and Danny Clay (foul) worked their way into the referee’s notebook before Totton found a second equaliser when former Magpie Hill hit a trademark free-kick home from 25 yards.
Now buoyant, the Stags went in search of a third and they only had to wait a further four minutes for it to arrive when a huge slice of fortune came their way as Whitley saw his intended cross find the top corner.
The Terras fought back and in their next attack McConnell, Smith and Joyce played neat one-touch football before the latter centred for Groves who should have found the target at least with his header.
With 20 minutes to go, the referee was forced to add the names of Duff and Coutts into his book for dissent seconds before Groves teed up Joyce on the edge of the box but his shot was easily gathered by Barfoot.
Those wasted chances were to cost the visitors dear as the Stags killed off the game in the 82nd minute when they conjured up a fourth goal.
After robbing Smith, Coutts spead the ball wide to Gosney and then accepted his return pass to slot home for 4-2 and it started to get unbearable for the visiting fans as Bailey Cargill added a fifth from a tight angle four minutes later.
Joyce did get another chance to complete his hat-trick but he was denied by a top-drawer save from Barfoot and then Groves fluffed another good chance before the final whistle sounded and the Terras could hardly believe how the game had turned.