Weymouth triumph in Slough Town thriller
|A BUMPER crowd enjoyed what was an action-packed spectacle on Non-League Day at the Bob Lucas Stadium and, more importantly for the home fans, they saw the Terras come away with all three points.The result, Weymouth’s third win on the bounce in the division, sees the Terras climb up to fourth in the Southern Premier League standings with a game in hand on the three teams above them.
The Terras were dealt a blow before kick-off when full-back Jordan Copp had to withdraw from the clash at the last minute, after his toe injury proved too painful in the warm-up for him to take part.
This meant that Matthews turned to Jacob Wannell to play at left-back on his return to the squad from the start, in the only change from the side that secured three points on the road at Cambridge City last time out.
There was much endeavour from both teams to start brightly and half chances did fall to skipper Stewart Yetton and the Rebels’ Johnnie Dyer, but it took until 17 minutes for the first real save of the clash to be made.
Ashley Wells and Chris Shep-hard, two of the Terras’ top performers so far this term linked up neatly on the right flank.
The former surged forward and cut inside to beat his man and stroked the ball nicely through to Shephard, who found enough space inside the area to release a vicious drive which Jake Somer-ville in the visitors’ goal was equal to, as he tipped the ball over the top with his right mitt.
But just three minutes after producing that top save, the Rebels’ stopper was then left sprawling to his right with no chance, as Adam Kelly let fly from the edge of the box to put Weymouth a goal to the good.
A slick free-kick move saw the midfielder peel off the Slough wall and play a neat one-two with Tim Sills, to hit his shot sweetly into the corner of the net for his fourth strike of the season, as the Terras’ inventiveness from the training ground continued to pay dividends. Sills was unfortunate not to have doubled the hosts’ lead two minutes later when he broke clear and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper, and the crowd held their breath as his effort ricocheted of the inside of a post, after a number of blocks on the follow up, Slough eventually cleared their lines.
Following a nasty moment which saw George Rigg go down clutching his face after a collision with Rebels’ captain Jamie Mc-Clurg, Sills then turned provider for Shephard to make it 2-0.
After the midfielder did well to keep possession, he made a run forward and got on the end of a perfectly-weighted ball through from the experienced frontman, and Shephard rolled the ball into the bottom corner to add his name to the score-sheet.
But just four minutes later, Weymouth were left to pay the penalty for a defensive lapse.
After the ball was chipped forward from deep, Jamie Laird’s header back to Matthews was too tame and allowed Rebels’ striker Ed Smith the chance to nip in between the defender and his goalkeeper, he went down under Matthews’ challenge inside the area to earn his side a spot-kick.
Dyer calmly stepped up and put the ball into the bottom corner, sending Matthews the wrong way to pull a goal back.
Shephard then went on another intricate run and was fouled on the edge of the box, to see his own free-kick sail inches wide, but he was to play a big part of the Terras’ third strike, which proved to be the winner just short of the interval.
The creative midfielder slid a pass through to Yetton, who showed superb composure to take the ball around the goal-keeper and put it home into an empty net in first-half stoppage time.
Defender Sam Poole then took a blow early on after the break and, while he was off the pitch receiving treatment, the Terras were undone by a corner to put the game back in the balance.
As the delivery was swung in by the away side, defender Reece York seemed to have heaps of space, and his header was nudged in by Dyer for his second of the game on 49 minutes, leaving an inquest among the hosts as to who was culpable for not picking up their man.
Kelly then saw his cries for a penalty dismissed by Dorchester-based referee Mark Derrien to his frustration on the hour, and Yetton had the ball in the net once again but was flagged offside.
Shephard continued to create chances and try his luck from range, and if anything it looked as if Weymouth could have added a fourth.
Matthews’ men were given a stark warning deep into injury time when Rebels’ replacement Alex Witham’s volley could have snatched them a point, but in truth, the Terras were good value for their victory, and remain unbeaten at home this season.