Weymouth’s party crashed after Dunstable respond
By Dan Rose
ON a day where Terras’ boss Jason Matthews celebrated his upcoming 40th birthday at the Bob Lucas Stadium, Dunstable Town arrived late to the party to foil his side’s plans and grab a point with two second-half strikes.
When Chris Shephard and Stewart Yetton put the home side 2-0 up at the break, the visiting Blues had clearly not read the script, as substitute Jamale McKenzie-Lowe and Charlie Henry found the net after the break to level things up.
After admitting in the build-up he had some difficult decisions to make with regards to his team selection, Matthews rewarded full-backs Jordan Copp and Callum Laird with a place in the starting XI after impressing against Poole in the Dorset Senior Cup.
Alec Fiddes and Steve Colwell also kept their places. While Yetton and Calvin Brooks came back in for Tim Sills and Sam Poole, who both dropped out of the squad all-together.
Dunstable, under new boss Tony Fontanelle following the departure of Darren Croft, fielded former AFC Bournemouth man Steven Gregory, who also wore the captain’s armband.
The Terras imposed themselves early in proceedings when Callum Laird’s long throw was touched on by Yetton, and Shephard’s teasing cross to the back post narrowly evaded a Weymouth head inside the six-yard box.
Neat skill from Fiddes then allowed him to play a precise ball through for Shephard, who struck the ball over the bar after breaking clear.
In a strong opening for the home side, Chris McPhee then tried his luck which worked Charlie May in the Blues’ goal for the first time.
A poor clearance from May then fell to McPhee minutes after, and in an attempt to audaciously lob the keeper, he shanked the ball well off target.
For all of his side’s constant pressure, Shephard got the breakthrough for Matthews’ men after 24 minutes.
A slick run from the Terras’ playmaker gave him the space to find McPhee inside the area, who chipped the ball back to his team-mate, and Shephard made no mistake applying a cool finish.
And after Charlie Smith made Matthews work for the first time in the contest with a free-kick, moments later, the hosts had doubled their lead.
Shephard this time turned provider as he broke free on the right hand side of the box, and with goalkeeper May stranded, he stood the ball up with precision for Yetton to nod home into an empty net just past the half-hour mark.
It was then almost 3-0 when Callum Laird dug out a cross on the right flank, and if anything, McPhee caught his attempt at an overhead kick too well as it soared over the bar, as Weymouth entered the break well in command.
Following the interval, Weymouth picked up exactly where they left off.
Fiddes found room on the left and clipped a delightful ball into Shephard on the charge, who headed straight at May when in acres of space and possibly should have done better.
Dunstable then almost became the victims of their own downfall.
Defender Shane Blackett headed back into the path of gloveman May, and after spilling the ball inside his area, he managed to gather at the second attempt inside his six-yard box.
But having soaked up some heavy pressure throughout, Dunstable got a foothold back in the game just past the hour.
After Gary Wharton’s effort was blocked inside the area, fellow replacement McKenzie-Lowe was well-placed to put the ball past Matthews into the bottom corner.
And just eight minutes later, the Blues spoiled the party.
Following appeals from the home fans for handball, Weymouth failed to pick up Charlie Henry, whose snap-shot proved unstoppable.
And, if anything, it was then the visitors, who looked more likely to seal the win.
After Matthews palmed away a cross from the left, Adam Watkins fired inches over and moments later, Henry hit a rasping volley into the stands.
In search of a winner, McPhee and Yetton then went close for the hosts with headed efforts inside the box, and Fiddes fired straight at May but was eventually flagged offside.
It was then left for Dunstable replacement Elliott Bailey to put his mark on the contest after he got the better of Jamie Laird but, in what was a thrilling finish, he fluffed his lines as both sides had to settle for a point.