Weymouth hold firm to beat the Essex boys
|APTAIN Stewart Yetton’s header on the stroke of half time proved decisive to book Weymouth’s place in the fourth qualifying round of this year’s FA Cup.Yetton continued his run of scoring in every round the Terras have been involved in so far, and even though he missed a penalty early in the second half to double his tally for the afternoon, it did not cost the visitors in a gritty encounter in Essex.
As he has so often done this season, player-manager Jason Matthews refused to tinker with a winning side, and stuck with the same XI that started the 3-0 win over Cirencester Town last time out, despite having more options available to him.
That meant defensive duo Ed Palmer and Jake Wannell were left to take a place on the bench for their returns to the side after serving their suspensions.
Weymouth started promisingly and double-scorer from midweek Adam Kelly found Chris Shephard after some good work from full-back Ashley Wells, and Shephard’s shot was blocked by Blues’ skipper Richard Halle.
The tie then took a physical turn in the opening 15 minutes with Wells going in hard on Glenn O’Hanlon and Weymouth’s Chris McPhee then took an inadvertent blow to the face which required treatment.
Shephard then tried his luck once again with a rocket of a strike from 30 yards which almost caught Billy Lumley in the hosts’ goal floundering, after referee David Spain played a good advantage following a foul on Yetton.
Creative midfielder Shephard then had cries for a penalty waved away by man in the middle Spain, after he went down clutching his stomach in the hosts’ box, and was booked for what the official believed was a dive moments later, earning him a frosty reaction from the home fans.
New Blues’ signing Roman Michael-Percil then demonstrated his pace and also went down in the area with nothing given, and fellow new man Jacob Cleaver, who bagged a hat-trick in midweek, then headed on to the crossbar, but it was harmlessly flagged offside.
Weymouth then had a golden chance to break the deadlock six minutes before half-time, but in spurning the opportunity, it came at a cost.
George Rigg’s brave header at goal, which was well saved by Lumley, left him with a nasty cut to the face after he was caught and the midfielder was forced to go to hospital for treatment, meaning Tim Sills came off the bench to replace him.
And having saved Rigg’s header, there was nothing Lumley could do to deny Yetton what proved to be the winner just short of the break.
He lost his man to get on the end of Shephard’s delivery from the left and nodded into the top corner to send the visiting Terras’ support wild at the interval.
The same fans must have thought it was going to be 2-0 almost instantly after the break, when the away side were awarded a penalty for a foul on Kelly.
That man Yetton stepped up in a bid to double the visitors’ lead, but saw his spot-kick beaten away by Lumley diving to his left.
Weymouth were almost instantly punished for their miss, but winger Jeffrey Imudia then lifted the ball over the top from close range, following a mistake from Jordan Copp in the Terras’ area.
And after an unmarked Cleaver then headed wide under no challenge at the far post, at the other end Yetton and Shephard were denied by a fine double stop from Lumley to keep his team in it, as Matthews’ men operated briskly on the counter.
Copp then stretched Billericay down the left hand side and put a troublesome delivery into the area which just evaded Kelly, who came agonisingly close to making it two.
But the Essex outfit then decided to push men forward and Matthews was heavily called upon to keep an onslaught of Blues’ pressure at bay.
The player-boss produced superb stops to deny Seedy Njie ten minutes from time and stretched out to deny bustling replacement Ricky Sappleton.
Cleaver then tested Matthews again and the away goalkeeper had to deal with a barrage of corners being hoisted into his area late on.
But as Weymouth stood firm, the hosts were reduced to 10 men in the dying moments when Ryan Scott picked up his second bookable offence for a foul on Sills, as Weymouth held on to seal the tie and eagerly anticipate Monday’s draw.