DERISIVE shouts came from dissenting home fans when Weymouth manager Stuart Morgan pulled of Peter Turrell in the 74th minute and sent out substitute Andy Rowland to lead the attack against struggling Dagenham.
But four minutes later, the fans were yelling joyfully as Rowland got up in determined fashion in the goalmouth to reach a well flighted free-kick over 30 yards from Willie Gibson, and head a superb goal to break the deadlock and send dominating Weymouth into second place in the GM Vauxhall Conference.
It was good judgment on the part of Morgan, who had relegated Rowland, his top scorer, to substitute because he felt he “needed a shake-up!”.
Rowland‘s 12th goal of the season could not have come at a better time — 18 minutes after both teams had been reduced to ten men.
Weymouth central defender Paul Compton, who had an unhappy match after missing a penalty, and Dagenham attacker Jon Bolle were both sent off after twice clashing inside a minute on the hour in off-the-ball incidents in which Compton twice went to the ground.
During a tense moment, Weymouth’s manager ran on to the pitch and shouted at the linesman.
Later, Morgan said: “I saw a punch thrown. That’s why I was so angry. But since then I have heard that Compton spat in the player’s face, and he deserved to be sent off. I will not tolerate this sort of behaviour, especially from a man of Compton’s experience. I shall be disciplining him.”
Scouts from Tottenham were present. Obviously watching Weymouth goalkeeper Peter Guthrie, who again gave a competent display in keeping a clean sheet in the Conference for the 13th time.
And still Weymouth have conceded only six goals – now after 18 games.
Dagenham had few ideas near goal, and hardly placed a shot on target.
Most of the action was in their goalmouth as Weymouth kept pounding away, continually going close – they hit the woodwork three times — but ﬁnding it difficult because of the way Dagenham unashamedly put down a blanket defence.
It was frustrating, especially for Steve Claridge, who worked hard in the home attack, but couldn’t ﬁnish. When he was on target, he found Darren Williams, in the Dagenham goal, in top form.
But Williams didn’t have a clue about Dean Roberts’ overhead kick which sent the ball against the bar in the third minute.
In the 13th minute Williams pushed out a penalty from Compton, awarded for handball. But he was lucky when Compton followed up to hit the loose ball over the bar.
But it was the Rowiand for Turrell switch which ﬁnally brought Weymouth the three points they deserved, and their fourth double of the season.
Terras: Guthrie, Burman, Gibson, Teale, Compton, Conning, Arnold, Claridge, Turrell (Rowland), Pugh, Roberts.