Puritans prove too much for Weymouth
By Dorset ECHO
ON Grand National day at the Spencer Stadium, Weymouth fell back into the chasing pack in the race for the play-off places as strugglers Banbury United romped into the winner’s enclosure.
Goals from Carl Tappin, Leam Howards and Jacob Walcott put the blinkers on Jason Matthews’ men, who had Jordan Copp sent off for a second yellow card late on.
As he revealed to Echosport in the build-up to the contest, player-manager Matthews slotted back into the Terras’ starting XI after overcoming a groin problem.
There was also a place on the bench for goalkeeper Steve Boore from Chickerell United, with Joe Wollacott fulfilling duties with Bristol City.
Strugglers Banbury had picked up four points from two games going into the clash, but were without striker Hicham Abdellah, who missed out through injury.
And after the Terras fended off a couple of early corners, an attempted training ground move from a Weymouth set-piece was then snuffed out.
Matthews looked assured as he raced out to claim a delivery from out wide on his return, as chances were few and far between in the opening 20 minutes.
A delivery from Terras’ full-back Neil Martin then just evaded player-coach Chris McPhee as the visitors probed into a testing breeze, but Banbury, who had conceded a mammoth 83 league goals already this term, stabbed the ball away.
Weymouth midfielder George Rigg’s shot was then charged down by the Puritans’ backline as Matthews’ men looked to up the tempo.
Some trickery from Chris Shephard then saw him beat his man and force a good stop from Leigh Bedwell in the Puritans’ goal, but in truth, the game still needed something to spark it into life.
And the opener almost came through visiting skipper Stewart Yetton.
He moved sharply to nip in front of his defender and latch on to a dangerous cross, only to nod the ball inches over the bar.
But right on the stroke of half-time, it was the Puritans who claimed the lead as the Terras’ were carved open.
Kynan Isaac showed superb skill to beat two defenders, his reverse pass provided the catalyst for Jacob Daffern to seek out Tappin, who had the easiest of chances to stroke home and heap misery on the away side going into the break.
Steve Colwell then blazed over as Matthews’ charges looked for a reply shortly after half-time and Rigg forced a diving stop from Bedwell, who got down well to his right to thwart the former Bristol City man.
Some more sloppy defensive work from Weymouth then went unpunished as Isaac slid in Darius Browne, who spurned a glorious opportunity to make it 2-0 to Banbury.
And, moments later, midfielder Adam Kelly’s afternoon took a dramatic twist.
He was adjudged to have been felled in the Banbury box, picked himself up to take the resulting penalty, and saw his spot-kick saved by Bedwell just short of the hour mark.
It then got even worse for Matthews’ men as they then fell two goals behind.
From a teasing ball in by the Puritans, a misjudgement from Ashley Wells let striker Howards slot home.
As Kelly was replaced by Conor Jevon five minutes from time, Bedwell then capped off his afternoon as he pulled of a sharp stop to deny Shephard once again.
And while the Terras’ had fluffed their lines from the spot, the Puritans, now full of confidence, made no mistake in adding another to their tally for the afternoon.
Substitute Jordan Copp brought down his man, and Walcott calmly struck the ball into the net to extinguish any hope of a late Terras’ comeback.
And after being given his first yellow following the spot-kick, Copp, who had only been on the field around 20 minutes after replacing Martin, was sent off by referee Matthew Buonassisi as Weymouth were left to finish a contest with 10 men once again this term.