Poppies punished as Kelly hits the winner
AN INSPIRED second-half comeback from the Terras meant they earned all three points against Kettering Town in what was a pulsating encounter at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Adam Kelly struck a sublime effort to win it with just under 15 minutes left, following up Ben Thomson’s leveller as the home side roared back from 2-1 down at the interval.
The Terras’ starting XI was unchanged from the side that won against Cambridge City in midweek.
The one alteration to Jason Matthews’ 16-man squad came as Mark Molesley returned after a back injury – he replaced Jordan Copp on the bench.
Kettering, 11th in the table before kick-off, went into the contest unbeaten in their last three league outings.
The Poppies, who wore a commemorative strip on the day meaning Weymouth played in yellow, had been starved of match action in recent weeks.
They had not played since their 1-1 draw at Bedworth United on January 2.
Since their last outing, Kettering had also been forced to adjust their backroom staff as former assistant-manager Brian Page departed to take a position at Finnish club SJK Jalkapallokerho.
With their visitors struggling for match minutes, Weymouth took advantage and, with their first attack, they drew first blood.
Kelly spotted Chris Shephard’s run into a dangerous area and, although he was forced to shoot from an acute angle, he made no mistake in putting Weymouth in the box seat after just three minutes.
Looking for a second early on, Kelly then sent a curling effort into the clutches of Poppies’ gloveman Paul Walker.
Weymouth’s George Rigg, who started on the left flank as he did against Cambridge in midweek, then took aim after dispossessing his man on the edge of the box and saw his strike denied.
Rigg’s afternoon was ended prematurely however, as on 28 minutes he and Kettering goalkeeper Walker had to be replaced.
A clash of heads between the two on the edge of the area meant they were both left bandaged up – after that occurred in the build-up, Shephard saw his shot denied on the line by a brilliant block from Poppies’ defender Chris Carruthers.
Rigg was replaced by the returning Molesley for the home side and Will Carvalho came on in place of Walker for Kettering. Outfield player Brett Solkhon took the gloves for the away side.
Skipper Solkhon then raced out to try and deal with his first corner and found himself in no man’s land, but the Terras failed to make it count.
With Weymouth seemingly in cruise control, remarkably, Kettering then got a goal back with 40 minutes gone.
After Matthews stuck out a left mitt to deny Liam Canavan’s shot, Dom Langdon produced a bullet header from the resulting corner which flew into the net to put the away side level.
Canavan was not to be denied however, as the Terras conceded a second within moments of the restart.
The towering striker nodded in a devilish cross from James Brighton from the left flank, leaving Matthews’ men stunned as they reached the break.
Following the interval, Jake Wannell, who looked to be struggling with injury, was soon replaced by Mark Cooper at left-back for the home side, as Poppies’ replacement Carvalho looked a threat in the early exchanges.
Cooper then saw his flashed ball across goal cleared away and Shephard almost added his second.
He spun away from his man and deftly lofted the ball over Solkhon and on to the top of the bar.
Kettering then hit the woodwork through frontman Rene Howe.
After Cooper had fouled Carvalho, earning him a booking, Brighton’s delivery found Howe, whose powerful header rattled the frame of the goal.
Stand-in keeper Solkhon then denied Shephard with a stunning save to his left to keep Weymouth at bay.
But the Terras got their reward and levelled the game up through frontman Thomson, who made it 2-2 on 71 minutes. He rifled the ball into the roof of the net after being teed up around six yards out.
And, in a game that seemed to have almost everything, Weymouth regained the lead through a magical finish from Kelly.
He danced away from his markers and coolly curled the ball into the corner of the net around a defender to win it.
Shephard was then given a rousing ovation as he was replaced by Stewart Yetton after picking up a knock.
Despite makeshift keeper Solkhom advancing up the pitch for a late set-piece to add to the drama, Weymouth stood firm in the dying moments to ensure they picked up a priceless win.