Weymouth edge gutsy Hastings in FA Trophy
HASTINGS UNITED 0
BELOW-PAR Weymouth safely negotiated this FA Trophy final qualifying tie with a single Abdulai Baggie strike enough to overcome a confident and composed Hastings outfit who made the Terras dig deep for the win.
The home side had to endure a torrid spell of pressure from their Isthmian South opponents early on in an open first half before the game began to swing their way just before the break when skipper Josh McQuoid’s low drive struck the post.
Then, in the second half, the hosts built momentum right from the re-start and deservedly netted what proved the winner with a clinical finish from their dependable winger in the 61st minute.
There were just two scheduled changes to the hosts’ starting line-up from the team that returned from Billericay with a point on Tuesday.
Promoted from the bench were Cameron Murray and Yemi Odubade in place of Josh Wakefield and Jordan Ngalo.
However, Ben Thomson pulled up in the warm-up and so Ngalo was given the nod to step straight back into the XI leaving just four substitutes.
The Terras started well enough and inside three minutes Odubade saw a low effort blocked before shooting over with the follow-up.
Five minutes later Ollie Harfield ‘s speculative attempt from 20 yards was deflected over for the game’s first corner before the game suddenly swung the way of the visitors.
Indeed, over the next 12 minutes Hastings, who are unbeaten in their step four league this term, really should have edged in front but for the alertness of home stopper Calum Ward.
First, Jack Dixon’s low drive was parried by Ward out to Ben Pope who was flagged offside seconds before John Elliot sent a cracking 25-yarder in that the keeper was forced to tip over.
A third opportunity for the buoyant Arrows came just a minute later; the impressive Ward again down low to thwart Elliot who had been slipped in by Pope.
After 26 minutes the hosts had to make an enforced change as Murray hobbled off and was replaced by Wakefield just after Elliot was booked for a foul on Brennan Camp.
Soon after, a period of probing football from the Terras ended with a low strike from Ngalo bringing a smart save from Louis Rogers but a better chance went begging in the 35th minute as a fabulous low centre from the left by Harfield saw Odubade not quite able to get a touch from close range as he collided with Rogers in a heap.
Moments later United had what they thought for a second was the opening goal ruled out as Gary Elphick’s back-post header found the net only to be disallowed for a foul just before the home side carved out undoubtedly the best chance of the half in the 43rd minute.
McQuoid span past his marker 10 yards out but his fierce drive smashed against the foot of the post and Ngalo could only blaze the rebound high over the bar.
Weymouth knew now they had a battle on their hands and they came out fighting for the second half as Ngalo curled an early effort just high and wide following a quick corner.
Next, Harfield fed Baggie who dragged wide from 25 yards two minutes before a short Wakefield corner saw Baggie dig out an inviting cross for Jake McCarthy whose header had to be flicked over by Rogers.
The writing was on the wall and the hosts finally got the goal their bright start to the second period deserved when a fine move, begun by McQuoid down the left flank, ended with Baggie spinning his man before burying a shot inside the near post from 12 yards just past the hour mark.
And just five minutes later it looked like the tie would be wrapped up when a sweeping attack begun by McCarthy saw Baggie overlap and play an enticing square ball to Wakefield who, to much dismay, side-footed timidly straight at Rogers’ feet.
It had looked likely the Terras would need a second goal to dampen Hastings’ spirits but their brave challenge faded as the half wore on and they never really looked like threatening a replay going into the last 20 minutes.
After a lull in the action another Wakefield corner nearly brought a second goal as Calvin Brooks shot goalwards at the back post where Brennan Camp seemed to get a touch before the ball was cleared off the line.
Then, after two minutes of added time, Dixon crashed into Camp as both players chased a ball out of play, and as the Terras’ centre-back lay strewn on the deck, United’s skipper was shown a straight red card, far too late to have any bearing on the outcome as Weymouth banked £3,750 for winning.
Terras: Ward, Harfield, Camp, McCarthy, Ngalo, McQuoid, Baggie, Murray (Wakefield 26), Odubade (Wells 83), Brooks, Hobson.
Subs not used: Prodomo, Zubar.
Hastings United: Rogers, Black, Elphick, Elliott, Ajakayie, Pope (Rodari 70), Beale (Adams 70), Worrall, Lovett, Azeez-Oluwonran, Dixon.
Subs not used: Hull, White, Pogue, Chalmers, Pool.