|WEYMOUTH bagged a second-half treble in South Wales to come from behind and beat Merthyr Town.Two goals from Chris Shephard either side of a special strike from Adam Kelly gave the Terras victory, in a dramatic contest which saw striker Stewart Yetton step between the sticks in place of goalkeeper Jason Matthews during the latter stages.
The Terras made two changes from the side that beat Winchester City 2-1 in the FA Trophy last time out.
Billy Lowes went out of the travelling party all together, meaning Chris McPhee returned to the Weymouth midfield. Jordan Copp also made way for the returning Shephard, following the latter’s recovery from illness.
As expected, Mark Molesley was also named in the Weymouth squad for the first time since the Red Insure Cup clash at Wimborne Town last month. The former AFC Bournemouth midfielder had recovered from a calf problem.
George Rigg had to wait to make his return to the Terras’ fold while there was a spot among the substitutes for full-back Jake Wannell. Player-manager Matthews’ men squared off against a Martyrs outfit in fine form.
Merthyr had won their last four games in all competitions, including a 1-0 triumph over Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division high-flyers Poole Town in the Trophy the previous weekend, thanks to a late goal from Gethin Jones.
The Martyrs named ex-Terra Rhys Baggridge in the heart of their defence.
Weymouth took a while to find their feet on Merthyr’s 3G artificial surface and avoided a scare early on as the hosts failed to take advantage of a free header on goal.
But with around 15 minutes on the clock, the Terras fashioned their first chance.
Skipper Yetton did well to find marauding full-back Mark Cooper, who burst forward and forced a comfortable save from Tom Bradley in the home goal. Boss Matthews was then on hand to save a strike from distance at the other end moments later.
Yetton had to shake off a knock after he was challenged heavily in the middle of the pitch and the Terras had to withstand slight pressure from the Martyrs, who were forced into an early change.
Jonny Brown failed to continue through injury, meaning Corey Jenkins was introduced for the hosts.
Just short of the half-hour mark, Weymouth had the ball in the net through Yetton.
Looking to score in three consecutive league games, the Weymouth captain smashed the ball in from close range, only to be flagged offside.
Yetton’s strike partner Ben Thomson then went close, as did Kelly, but the Terras’ skipper had the best of the chances to put his side a goal to the good.
Yetton pounced on a defensive mistake and put the ball just wide from 12 yards out.
And with just five minutes gone following the break, Merthyr drew first blood.
Ian Traylor’s cross to the back post was headed in by replacement Jenkins at the far post.
But, on his return to the side, it was Shephard who conjured up some magic to make it 1-1 four minutes later. He whipped a free-kick into the top corner to level things up.
Shephard then almost struck his second free-kick in to turn the game on its head, the strike just falling over the bar. That came shortly after the Terras almost managed to scramble the ball over the Martyrs’ goal line.
Kelly then made sure he was not to be outdone. He let fly with a stunning strike from range which flew into the back of the net to put Weymouth ahead.
Shephard then netted his second and Weymouth’s third of the afternoon for 3-1 but that was not the end of the drama.
Suffering a heel injury, player-boss Matthews had to be replaced by Molesley.
With no replacement keeper on the bench, up stepped Yetton to don the gloves and take his manager’s place.
But it was at the other end where the action took place as Weymouth’s Dean Evans struck a post late on.
Yetton was left untroubled in goal at the Terras’ push for promotion continues to gather pace.