Five-star Weymouth breeze to victory at Stratford Town
WEYMOUTH were in absolute cruise control to surge to victory at Stratford Town and record back-to-back wins in all competitions.
Doubles for Chris Shephard and substitute Sam Jordan came either side of Dan Smith’s strike to put Town to the sword at the DCS Stadium, as Jason Matthews’ side romped to a convincing away triumph.
Just more than a week ago, the big concern around the Bob Lucas Stadium was that the Terras were lacking goals.
It now seems to have clicked into gear for them however, as they have now scored eight in their last two games.
The Terras were unchanged from the starting XI that upset Gosport Borough in the FA Cup second qualifying round last time out.
But with only a squad of 16 to select back in the league, there was no spot on the team sheet for player-coach Mark Molesley or Jordan Copp.
Hosts Stratford added a new addition to their ranks ahead of the contest with defensive midfielder Jean Kalenda signing for the club after impressing during training in the week. He was given a place in the Town starting XI.
And Town boss, Carl Adams, was full of respect for the Terras.
Speaking to the club website ahead of the game, he said: “We’re welcoming one of the power-houses of the Southern Premier League and are under no illusions about the difficulty of this fixture.
“However, we are at home and hold no fear, so I’m hoping that our lads produce the goods and continue our recent good form.”
The home side were without the suspended duo of Jordan Cullinane-Liburd and Dior Angus.
It was Stratford who had the first half chance as they almost broke clear of the Terras’ defence, but Dan Thomas, who continued in goal in place of boss Matthews, snuffed out the danger.
At the other end, the visitors then showed their threat through frontman Stewart Yetton. He latched on to a neat pass from Smith but failed to fire a shot on target.
The away side then created a chance which fell for Shephard three minutes later, but he also failed to work Niall Cooper in the home goal.
But, after both having initial sighters, Shephard and Yetton combined to score the game’s opening goal.
Yetton’s slick pass allowed Shephard to break clear and bend the ball into the net with a superb finish to ensure the Terras took the lead.
And Shephard was not done there as he added his and Weymouth’s second in quick fashion.
He lined up a free-kick and gave keeper Cooper no chance with a stunning strike into the top corner as the Terras ran riot in the opening 25 minutes.
Weymouth continued to threaten and Ben Thomson almost got in the act just after half an hour. He failed to hit the target after some neat interplay also involving Yetton and Smith.
Former Frome man Thomson then had another chance to make it three when he was played in, but dragged his strike wide when clean through on goal.
Following the break, Weymouth continued to push forward as strike duo Yetton and Thomson linked up again.
On this occasion, Thomson delivered for the Terras’ skipper, who could not quite time his header well enough to add a third.
Shephard then came close to sealing a hat-trick as he skipped away from his man and forced a good save from Cooper, who was being kept busy.
But there was nothing the Stratford stopper could do soon after, as the Terras eventually added a third. This time, Thomson provided for Smith to clinically slot home and effectively put the game to bed.
The Terras were not done there however as another of their strikers in Jordan, came off the bench to get in on the act. He coolly rounded the keeper and converted a fourth for the visitors, who were absolutely cruising.
It then got even worse for the home side as they were reduced to 10 men. Richard Gregory was given a straight red card by referee Gareth Hubbard.
And Jordan continued the party for the visitors, the substitute getting his second and Weymouth’s fifth late on, smashing the ball into the net from 12 yards to cap off what was a superb performance.