Weymouth seal priceless away win at Arlesey
By Dan Rose
WEYMOUTH secured their first victory on the road in two-and-a-half months with a much-needed three points at struggling Arlesey Town.
Stewart Yetton’s 55th minute strike proved the difference between the two sides, as a change of system paid dividends for player-manager Jason Matthews, who managed his first league contest from the sidelines.
Struggling with injury but naming himself among the substitutes, the Terras’ boss shuffled his pack intensely from the side that fell apart at Frome in midweek.
Matthews himself along with Jordan Copp, Alec Fiddes and George Rigg dropped to the bench. Calvin Brooks was suspended, Chris McPhee was ruled out of the squad with a back problem.
Goalkeeper Joe Wollacott was handed his Weymouth debut between the sticks and there were recalls for Neil Martin, Steve Colwell, Sam Poole, Adam Kelly and striker Tim Sills.
The home side also handed a first start for midfielder Zack Reynolds, who joined up with the Blues after signing from Aylesbury United earlier in the week.
As the Terras started 4-4-2, a nervy clearance from Wollacott saw the ball fall to Arlesey’s Christian Tavernier, but his effort on goal failed to trouble the Bristol City loanee.
On his return to the side, Kelly then swung the ball into his opposite winger Chris Shephard at the back post, and the ball eventually fell to Neil Martin, who steered a volley marginally wide.
Kelly then tested the home goalkeeper with a tame effort before a powerful run from Blues’ winger Martel Powell found target man Geoff Mitchell, who failed to convert.
Sills then headed into the back of defender James Sage but was adjudged to be offside from a free-kick, as Weymouth continued to use the experienced marksman as a focal point on his comeback to the starting XI.
After the visitors won a corner, Weymouth failed to take advantage, and a good covering tackle from defender Jamie Laird saw the chances of an Arlesey break snuffed out.
A Wollacott goal-kick then found Yetton who laid the ball off neatly for Shephard, whose shot was denied by the outstretched Nick Thompson in the Blues’ goal, in what was Weymouth’s best chance of the game with 30 minutes gone.
Kelly’s trickery in the area then caused the home side problems as the Terras broke into the box and when he felt he was felled in the area and went down under the challenge of a defender, the match referee waved away his protests.
A long-range effort from Colwell then cleared the stands and Weymouth appealed for another penalty after a challenge on Shephard, but with nothing given, Kelly was cautioned for his protests as the sides went in level at the break.
He then blazed over the bar as Matthews’ men continued to probe for an opening goal following the re-start, and moments later, Arlesey’s Javani Brown managed to get the ball out of his feet. His shot bent just wide of the angle when it looked to be heading for the net.
But after what was a relatively subdued opening 55 minutes, the Terras took the lead.
Yetton flashed the ball across goal and although keeper Thompson got a touch, he was powerless to prevent the ball rolling into the the net in what could have been given as an own-goal, but it was the Weymouth skipper who wheeled away in celebration to claim it.
In a similar move to the opener, Kelly then went close again as the Terras looked to put daylight between the sides.
Substitute Inih Effiong was then introduced by the hosts and almost immediately got involved in an altercation with defender Poole.
With the Blues having as many as four strikers on the pitch, Ashley Wells was then returned to the Weymouth side from the bench after serving a four-game suspension, replacing Callum Laird for what proved to be a dramatic final 10 minutes.
The Blues almost snatched a point with an audacious attempt from around 40 yards and Sills then almost wrapped the points up for the visitors when his looping header from Shephard’s corner was tipped over the bar.
Wollacott was out swiftly to claim a corner in the latter stages to keep his clean sheet intact, but that wasn’t the end of his heroics.
The youngster’s sublime save thwarted frontman Mitchell, and there was even more action deep into stoppage time.
From the resulting corner, Wollacott parried the ball away to safety, and as an Arlesey man prodded the ball into the net for what he thought was a leveller, the referee’s assistant flagged for offside and Matthews’ charges held on for a much-needed three points.