Brave Weymouth sunk by Slabber’s winner
VALIANT Weymouth were left licking their wounds as Jamie Slabber’s first-half strike was enough to send them out of this year’s FA Trophy.
Slabber’s 12th minute goal for Hemel Hempstead Town at Vauxhall Road saw the Tudors take the spoils, despite the Terras proving they were well up to scratch with their National League South opponents, having created an array of opportunities throughout.
With Pat Baldwin ruled out through suspension after picking up five bookings, Terras’ boss Jason Matthews admitted he had to choose from a range of different options as to how to fill the void at centre-half.
In the end he elected to move Chris McPhee back into the heart of defence to partner Calvin Brooks, with midfielder Mark Molesley moving off the bench into the starting XI.
Jordan Holmes kept his place in the side with regular goalkeeper Matthews injured. There was a spot among the substitutes for assistant-manager Tim Sills.
Hemel went into the clash having to reshuffle because of injuries.
Club captain James Potton was unavailable having picked a up knock in the Tudors’ battle with Margate a week previously. It was also announced earlier in the week that central-defender Ed Oshodi had left the hosts.
Tudors’ manager Dean Brennan also revealed in the build-up to the contest that Hemel had Weymouth watched during their 2-1 loss at Dunstable Town last time out.
And with the Tudors operating up the slope in the opening period, it was Weymouth’s Adam Kelly who had the contest’s first chance.
He attempted to curl the ball home with a troublesome effort which just fell over the bar.
But just as the Terras looked to put their stamp on proceedings, they fell behind on 12 minutes.
An incisive Tudors’ breakaway saw the ball cut the ball back for Slabber to slot past goalkeeper Holmes and put the hosts in the lead.
But, having gone behind, Weymouth continued to push and looked dangerous from set-pieces. A slick corner routine saw Kelly’s strike from 20 yards take a deflection and trickle agonisingly wide of the post.
And, minutes later, that man Slabber then showed his worth for the Tudors at the other end.
He cleared the ball off the line when Terras’ midfielder Dean Evans must have thought he had scored on 27 minutes.
Weymouth skipper Stewart Yetton then came close to adding to his goal tally for the season, his shot on the spin fell narrowly wide and Kelly forced another good save from goalkeeper Jamie Butler at his near post.
At the other end, Holmes was tasked with making a sharp stop from Hemel’s Noor Husin, after his neat turn had foxed his defender.
Yetton was then denied by Butler after he was put through. That followed moments after some mayhem in the Hemel box was cleared as the Terras somehow went in at the break behind.
Hemel’s Dennis Oli had to be replaced by Kyle Connolly shortly before the interval, after he picked up an injury.
Shortly after half-time, the home side came within inches of making it 2-0. Wilfried Gnahore surged forward and hit a vicious effort which clipped a post from all of 20 yards out.
Slabber continued to be in the thick of it as he was booked for kicking the ball away. The Terras then had a shout for a penalty waved away soon after.
Hemel’s Matt Spring was then cautioned for bringing down Weymouth frontman Ben Thomson and after the resulting free-kick was put out for another Terras’ corner, the home side managed to scramble the ball off the line once more.
A flashpoint in the contest then came with around 30 minutes to go as Tudors’ defender Ben Herd was handed his marching orders.
He was given with a straight red card after a reckless two-footed challenge from behind on Molesley, meaning Weymouth had a man advantage for the rest of the contest.
Thomson then saw his downward header saved by Butler.
Molesley was replaced by Billy Lowes. Jordan Copp was then brought on in place of Kelly as Weymouth looked to freshen things up.
The visitors then threw caution to the wind as defender Cooper was replaced by frontman Sills.
And Matthews’ men came agonizingly close to earning a replay as Thomson blazed over the top from just six yards out, the former Frome Town man fluffing his lines in the dying embers of the contest as Weymouth failed to booked their place in the first round proper.