Super-sub Sam at the double in dream first league appearance for Weymouth
A SECOND-HALF double from super-sub Sam Jordan either side of Jake Wannell’s headed goal meant the Terras started their 2016-17 league campaign with a victory at Biggleswade Town.
Jordan, a summer arrival having stepped up through the divisions from Western League outfit Bradford Town in the summer, came off the bench to replace Stewart Yetton in the second half at Langford Road.
And the frontman stole the show, making a resounding impact by finding the net twice on his first league appearance for the club.
After a summer where he weighed up his options over keeping the gloves on a full-time basis, Weymouth player-manager Jason Matthews did name himself in goal for his side’s first competitive game of the campaign.
Fellow gloveman Dan Thomas, who had featured regularly in pre-season and agreed a deal after initially coming in as a trialist, had to settle for a spot on the bench.
With Ashley Wells out through a knee injury and Ben Thomson unavailable, the Terras’ boss also had some decisions to make, and there was a big call from Matthews in his selection higher up the pitch.
Conor Jevon, who the player-manager insisted in an interview with Echosport earlier this summer “needs to fulfil his potential“ was given an instant opportunity.
He was the surprise name among the starters, having been promoted mainly from reserve-team duties last season, and wore the number 10 shirt.
Wells’ absence from the starting XI meant that Mark Cooper switched sides to the right of the back four, meaning Jordan Copp slotted in at left-back. Charlie Davis, on his league debut for the Terras, featured in midfield.
With just eight minutes of the game gone, Weymouth’s start to the campaign saw them fall behind.
After getting caught out in the middle of the pitch, Biggleswade’s Inih Effiong eventually slotted home to put the Waders ahead. Effiong then put another chance just over the bar as Matthews’ men were on the back foot early.
After being put under some real pressure in the opening exchanges, the away side then looked to get themselves back on level terms.
A corner was swung in for Wannell, but the central defender headed over the bar, unchallenged.
Miles Smith then picked up a caution for the Waders as Weymouth began to find their feet, Chris Shephard delivered for Jevon, who failed to find the target with his headed effort.
Dan Smith, making his first league start for Weymouth since his return to the club, then burst forward with a strong run on the counter and forced a save from Ian Brown in the home goal.
Former Magpie Smith also went close once more and, with striker Yetton unable to get a touch on the rebound, the Terras went in trailing 1-0 at the interval.
Following the break, the away side came out with real vigour.
Jevon still looked to open his account for the campaign and find that all-important equaliser, as he let fly from 20 yards out, but the ball flew over the top.
The woodwork then denied Yetton his first goal of the season, as the Terras’ frontman came within inches of making it 1-1.
After his effort came back off the post, it fell into the clutches of goalkeeper Brown.
Jevon then thought he had scored with a point-blank header, which was eventually scrambled away by the Waders, with referee Sam Lewis and his assistants giving the verdict that the ball had not crossed the line.
With Weymouth still pressing, Yetton was then replaced by Jordan as the Terras’ bench looked to freshen things up.
And, within minutes, the change paid dividends. The replacement striker netted his first goal for the club after being played in by Jevon.
Shephard then required treatment and was eventually brought off in place of Billy Lowes but, with their playmaker off the field, that was not to stop Matthews’ charges grabbing victory.
Davis delivered a corner on to the head of Wannell, who found the target to send the away fans delirious at 2-1.
The victory was then made even sweeter, as a tenacious third was added by Jordan to make it 3-1 and wrap up all three points.