Matthews’ men too much for Merthyr Town
THE Terras recorded a comfortable three-goal triumph over Merthyr Town at the Bob Lucas Stadium, to keep their slim chances of sneaking into the play-offs a possibility.
It was do or die for the Terras and, only three points would have done if Weymouth were to give themselves an opportunity of making the play-offs in their final two games of the campaign.
With Redditch’s home clash against Chippenham postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and Kettering’s fixture with Bideford also washed out, the Terras had a huge chance to put pressure on those above them in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division prior to kick-off.
The big team news from a Terras’ perspective against Merthyr was the return to the starting XI of playmaker Chris Shephard, who admitted to Echosport in the build-up to the contest he was having to constantly manage an ongoing back problem.
Pat Baldwin kept his place after coming back into the side in the Dorset Senior Cup triumph over Gillingham Town in midweek and Jordan Copp returned after recovering from a groin problem. There was no place for Stewart Yetton, who was once again dropped to the bench.
The Martyrs, who were still battling for a top-10 finish in the division, were without Gethin Jones and striker Ryan Prosser in their match day squad.
On his return to the side, Shephard tried to make the Terras tick in the opening exchanges and almost carved out an assist on 10 minutes.
His cross found the head of George Rigg, who glanced just wide of the far post.
The former Exeter man was to have the impact the Terras were looking for however, as Weymouth took the lead five minutes later.
With the hosts tenaciously winning the ball back, Shephard linked up well with the overlapping Jordan Copp, who slotted home across goal from an acute angle and wheeled away in celebration.
And, after creating Weymouth’s opener, Shephard then got his name on the scoresheet himself.
He drove at the heart of the Martyrs’ defence, played a neat one-two with Ben Thomson, and provided a deft, classy finish, to beat the onrushing Glyn Garner in the visitors’ goal.
Thomson then picked up a knock and required treatment but was able to continue as the Martyrs gave Weymouth a timely reminder of their threat just before the interval.
A delivery into the Weymouth area eventually fell to Corey Jenkins, whose rasping effort flew wide of Matthews’ goal.
Jon Brown’s free-kick in a dangerous area for the visitors was then blocked by the Weymouth wall, and Jarrad Wright’s headed effort on the follow-up was well off target.
Following the break, Pat Baldwin picked up the game’s first caution and, from the resulting free-kick, Kayne McClaggon headed wide.
The resulting free-kick from that offence, was then bravely headed home by Mark Cooper for 3-0 to Jason Matthews’ men.
The Terras then could have added a fourth with almost the last kick of the contest. A corner was played in for Rigg, who was brought down, but, after dusting himself down to take the spot-kick, he saw a tame effort saved.
But that was not to take the gloss off what was a convincing win for the home side, who will need realistically two more victories to have any chance of making the top five.