Weymouth hit back to beat the Crusaders
TWO second-half strikes saw the Terras come from behind to seal three priceless points at home against Hungerford.
Weymouth were rocked by Nat Jarvis’ scruffy effort just past the quarter of an hour mark at the Bob Lucas Stadium but roared back after the break thanks to goals from Mark Cooper and Adam Kelly.
The Terras were forced into making two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Chippenham Town last time out.
With Chris Shephard unavailable and Mark Molesley suspended, Adam Kelly and George Rigg came into the line-up. There also was a place for Jordan Copp among the substitutes as he returned from a bout of food poisoning in midweek.
Hungerford had to re-shuffle their XI late before the game got underway at the Bob Lucas Stadium as defender Diak John pulled a hamstring in the warm-up.
That meant Gary Horgan came into the side at left-back and Allen Bossman, younger brother of starting striker Kelvin, came onto the bench.
There was also no place in the Crusaders’ ranks for Alan O’Brien, the winger was ruled out through injury.
The first clear chance fell to the visitors on eight minutes when the Terras’ conceded a free-kick on the left.
Hungerford’s James Clark sent in a devilish delivery, and, after taking a flick on, midfielder Mike Jones powered a header at goal, forcing a sharp stop from Weymouth player-manager Jason Matthews, who reacted well to keep the effort out.
Matthews then raced off his line minutes later to punch clear and clattered into Hungerford’s Stefan Brown in the process.
And, after having to endure some more pressure, Weymouth fell behind 17 minutes in.
Following Jones’ low corner, a scramble in the box somehow fell to frontman Jarvis, whose scruffy strike somehow dribbled through a sea of bodies into the corner.
In what was a disjointed opening 25 minutes for the hosts, they fashioned their first real chance a minute later.
Full-back Jake Wannell’s ball from the left found striker Ben Thomson. Looking to find his second goal in as many games, he turned away from two defenders and hit a low, deflected strike, which tested Crusaders’ gloveman Paul Strudley.
Thomson then almost had another opportunity as Kelly burst forward, but his pass was cut out by a covering defender.
Having looked lively, Crusader Clark’s eyes then lit up as the ball fell teasingly for him. He attempted a speculative volley from 35 yards that fell well wide.
Stewart Yetton then glanced a header marginally off target for the hosts as the sides reached the break.
And whatever was said in the Weymouth dressing room had an impact, as around 90 seconds after the restart, they got back on level terms.
After a switch from the left, the ball eventually made its way out to right-back Mark Cooper, who saw his first shot blocked.
But the second bite of the cherry then paid dividends as he stroked into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
And, with the Terras now much brighter following the break, they soon made it two through Kelly.
A knockdown inside the Crusaders’ box saw the Terras’ ace hit a clean effort which whistled into the bottom corner and turned the game on its head.
The Crusaders then made a triple substitution just past the hour mark, a change which gave them a much more attacking shape.
A long throw from Hungerford’s James Rusby was stabbed away by Rigg and, soon after, Wannell was cautioned for a late challenge.
From the resulting free-kick, Wannell was then out-jumped by Harry Goodger, his effort just landing on the roof of the net.
Still probing for an equaliser, a golden opportunity fell to Hungerford’s Mark Draycott.
Having come off the bench, he latched on to Brown’s drilled delivery from the left, and somehow put his effort over from close range.
Draycott was then in the thick of it again.
His stinging effort was beaten away by Matthews, only for both Goodger and Brown to fluff their lines on the follow up.
A flurry of late free-kicks were then given to the visitors but the Terras stood firm to record an important victory.