Weymouth earn point at soggy Altrincham
WEYMOUTH collected their first point of the new Vanarama National League season with a soaking-wet 0-0 draw at Altrincham.
Brian Stock’s men had waited 11 years to return to non-League’s top flight, only to be met with a soggy day where possession football was made very difficult.
Cody Cooke went closest for Weymouth in an encouraging first half, while Altrincham had a shot cleared off the line in the second period as the promoted sides avoided defeat on the opening day.
Three Weymouth players made full league debuts, with striker Cooke, goalkeeper Jack Bycroft and newest signing Corey Jordan all handed their bows – the latter on loan from Bournemouth.
Altrincham were without star striker Jordan Hulme, who agreed a move to AFC Fylde hours before kick-off.
Weymouth last visited Altrincham in March 2009 when the Robins took a 4-0 victory.
Hopes were high for a polar opposite performance but it soon became apparent the deluge of rain produced by Storm Alex would affect attacking play.
Passing was particularly hindered with the ball slowing on the sodden pitch and Weymouth pressured Alty in the opening 10 minutes as the hosts had to head clear a chipped Josh Wakefield free-kick six yards out.
Action was rare in the early portion of the match, with Josh McQuoid getting up gingerly from a heavy tackle and Robins’ winger Yusifu Ceesay slipping as the hosts constructed a promising move.
Play improved as the half wore on and Weymouth registered the first shot on target in the 27th minute.
Former St Mirren striker Cooke was the man to test home keeper Tony Thompson’s handling, lashing a 25-yard shot which skidded off the saturated turf.
Altrincham looked to respond through the pace of Ceesay but Josh Hancock’s pass was overhit as the hosts’ counter broke down.
Weymouth finished the half strongly as Cooke lashed an effort against the side netting, with Thompson there to cover, before Cooke shot wide from the edge of the box prior to half-time.
Altrincham, who did not create a chance in the first half, were a different side in the second as Weymouth weathered a bright spell.
Matty Kosylo brought down a Hancock cross and saw his deflected effort spin wide, only for play to halt when referee Adam Herczeg spotted a foul at the back post.
Weymouth responded when skipper McQuoid nipped in front of Ceesay to win a free-kick, but Ollie Harfield’s delivery was too close to Thompson.
With conditions producing niggling fouls, Jake Moult became the second Alty player to earn yellow for a foul on Cameron Murray. From the set-piece, Cooke headed wide.
Alty striker Tom Peers had been quiet up to then but his deflected shot yielded a corner from which Harfield had to hack clear off the line.
Ceesay and the evergreen Shaun Densmore both fired disappointingly wide half-chances for the hosts.
Rain continued to hammer down in Trafford and groundstaff, who had swept water off the pitch during half-time, were again called upon by referee Herczeg to clear up the near side.
When play resumed, Jake McCarthy fired three shots at goal, two blocked in quick succession, before the ex-Bournemouth midfielder dragged his third wide.
Excellent shape and solid defence from Weymouth had restricted Alty all afternoon but the hosts were thwarted from a break when Andreas Robinson tripped sub Curtis Miller, receiving yellow.
Terras’ boss Stock subbed McQuoid for Jack Hoey before McCarthy shovelled a free-kick well over as Weymouth strived for all three points.
Stock’s men might have stolen victory in the 90th minute but for a superb block from Robins’ sub Simon Richman to deny Calvin Brooks’ 18-yard goalbound shot.
Ben Thomson was introduced for Murray late on but neither side could fashion a chance as the drenched pitch ultimately dampened this clash as an attacking spectacle.
Altrincham: Thompson, Densmore, Mullarkey, Hannigan, White, Moult, Williams, Ceesay (Clayton 82), Hancock (Richman 79), Kosylo (Miller 59), Peers. Subs not used: Hampson, Sutton.
Terras: Bycroft, Camp, Jordan, Wakefield, McCarthy, McQuoid (Hoey 79), Robinson, Brooks, Cooke, Murray (Thomson 90+3), Harfield. Subs not used: Benfield, Leslie-Smith, Whelan.
Referee: Adam Herczeg