Derby dismay as Weymouth are beaten by Poole
THE Terras were left with Easter egg on their faces as a 1-0 defeat at home to Poole Town ensured Jason Matthews’ men drew a blank with regards to points over the Bank Holiday weekend.
In front of a crowd of more than 1,200 at the Bob Lucas Stadium, a tight encounter was settled by Marvin Brooks’ first-half header, as the Dolphins recorded a league double over their Dorset rivals.
Both sides knew going into the contest that the clash would not define their fate for the campaign, but would give them a good indication of their separate ambitions of promotion in the run-in this term.
The Terras, beaten by Hitchin Town on Good Friday, went into battle three points off the play-off spots, while Poole started the afternoon four points behind leaders Redditch United with a game in hand on the title-chasing Reds.
Weymouth were hit with a couple of injury losses ahead of the game as both Ben Thomson and Chris Shephard were ruled out of the squad with hamstring and back problems respectively.
Replacing Shephard in the hosts’ starting XI was Mark Molesley, who managed to pass a late fitness test on a back problem of his own.
The last time the two sides met, goals from Marvin Brooks, brother of Weymouth’s Calvin, and Luke Roberts gave the Dolphins a 2-0 win at Tatnam, both were included in boss Tom Killick’s starting line-up this time around.
Two unmarked headers in the opening five minutes at either end provided both sides with chances to find the opener.
After Weymouth’s Jordan Copp headed over the bar, moments later, Poole skipper Jamie Whisken glanced wide of the target from a free-kick.
In a frenetic opening 15 minutes, Poole’s Lewis Lindsay then found himself picking up the first caution of the contest after a fierce challenge on Mark Cooper.
A foul on Molesley then gave George Rigg the chance to line up a free-kick from range but he shanked the effort well wide.
Claims for a penalty to the Dolphins were then denied as Poole’s Will Spetch went down in the Terras’ box, on the follow up, striker Ashan Holgate failed to make the most of a chance from close range after a scuffed shot fell into his path.
Poole boss Killick then decided to make an early change as Lindsay, on a caution and probably on his last warning, was taken off in place of Lewis Tallack.
And on 37 minutes, the Dolphins broke the deadlock as the Terras’ set-piece demons came back to haunt them.
A corner from Poole’s Steve Devlin was nodded into the net by Brooks, who netted his second league goal of the season against the Terras, and wheeled away in celebration.
Ex-Terra Michael Walker then pulled down Molesley on the edge of the box, a challenge in which the home fans believed he was the last man — Copp’s resulting free-kick was sent into the stand.
Following the interval, Marvin Brooks leapt up to try and win another header from a corner swung in by the away side, Roberts blazed over on the follow up.
In search of a leveller, Copp then drove at the Poole defence from the left and hit a stinging effort which Poole keeper Nick Hutchings parried over the bar. Copp was then replaced by Stewart Yetton with just under 15 minutes left.
Cameron Brown was then introduced in place of Cooper, but as much as the Terras probed and saw a lot of the ball, they really failed to create anything clear cut.
Yetton protested after he clattered with Hutchings in a bid to latch on to a through ball and poked wide after latching on to a flick-on in the dying moments, but it was the Dolphins who took home all three points as their title ambitions were given a huge boost.