Terras edge ten-goal thriller

Shaftesbury Ladies 4

(Scott-Sheppard 35’ 45+1’ 60’ Castle 64’)

Weymouth Women 6

(Johnson 27’ Roberts 33’ 49’ P 62’ 67’ Beasley 84’)

Dorset Women’s League (09/05/21)

Report: James Spring

Weymouth Women moved up to second place in the Dorset Women’s league after they edged an absolute thriller away to Shaftesbury on Sunday.

The match was played at Zeals FC on a very short and narrow pitch, and the hosts pressed high and played a high line which made life difficult for Weymouth throughout.

The Terras did make a bright start. Just 3 minutes in Lily Beasley was sent down the wing and cut inside. She tried to lob the advancing goalkeeper but it drifted narrowly wide.

Beth Barnard-Irons and Shakira Howard also had efforts go narrowly wide of the mark early on, whilst at the other end, Emma Potter was on hand to make a last-ditch challenge in the box when Shaftesbury looked set to score.

On 27 minutes Weymouth changed things up with a triple substitution, and it paid instant dividends. Naomi Johnson came off the bench and straight away was played through the middle of the home defence by Sibley. She raced away from the defence, kept her composure and coolly rolled it into the corner of the net to put Weymouth in front.

Shaftesbury looked for an immediate response and goalkeeper Kate Osment was on hand to tip a free-kick behind for a corner, but on 33 minutes the lead was doubled.

It was Sibley again with the assist, playing a perfect ball through to Lucy Roberts who lashed it across goal into the opposite corner.

The 2-goal cushion would only last mere moments, however, as Shaftesbury hit an instant response. The ball was cleared to Ali Scott-Sheppard on the edge of the box. She took a touch and hit a curling effort towards the top corner which Osment got a hand to, but it wasn’t enough and Shaftesbury halved the deficit.

That goal seemed to give the hosts some belief, and following a good spell of pressure in Weymouth’s half of the field, they managed to pull themselves level right on the stroke of half time. A corner was headed towards goal and Osment made a good initial save, but Ali Scott-Sheppard was on hand to scramble home the rebound to send the sides in level at the interval.

It had been an entertaining first half, but that was nothing compared to the madness that was about to unfold in the second half.

On 49 minutes Weymouth won a free-kick roughly 25 yards out in the centre of the goal. Lucy Roberts hit a stinging effort straight at the goalkeeper, and it was too hot for the keeper to handle as she spilt it through her gloves and into the net to give Weymouth a 3-2 lead.

By the hour mark though parity was restored again, as Shaftesbury were awarded a free-kick near the touchline in line with the box. It was floated in and Scott-Sheppard prodded it home from close range to complete her hat-trick.

She’d barely had time to finish taking the congratulations though when Lily Beasley was pulled down in the box from the restart and Weymouth were given a penalty. Lucy Roberts stepped up and slotted it into the bottom right corner to restore the lead, again.

However, anyone thinking things would quieten down at this stage would be mistaken, as less than 2 minutes later Shaftesbury were level again. Nikki Castle latched onto an excellent cross-field ball that split the Terras defence and fired home to make it 4-4. And there were still 25 minutes to go at this point!

Yet again Weymouth responded immediately. On 67 minutes Lucy Roberts got her 4th of the afternoon as she got to a loose ball just ahead of the home goalkeeper and rolled it past the goalkeeper and into the unguarded net to restore the Terras lead again.

This time though Weymouth were determined to hang onto their lead. They began to put the home defence under pressure and force mistakes. Charlie Wilson and Lily Beasley both had efforts wide and saved respectively.

On 77 minutes Shaftesbury looked to be in again as Castle raced onto another through ball and into the box. She was one v one with Osment and about to pull the trigger, but Cimone Barnard-Irons raced back and slid in with a potential goal-saving tackle to deny the hosts another equaliser.

It proved pivotal, as on 84 minutes Weymouth finally regained their 2-goal cushion and sealed the match. Lily Beasley latched onto another through ball from Sibley, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted it into the net.

Roberts almost had another goal on 87 minutes when she smashed the ball against the bar after good work from Beasley down the wing.

Weymouth should have made it 7 in the last minute but Beasley and Howard both somehow contrived to miss sitters between them. Beasley had rounded the keeper and had an open goal, but she miss-cued her shot and it rolled into the path of Shakira Howard who put it wide.

But it didn’t alter the result; Weymouth had been made to sweat and every player had run themselves into the ground, and they’d come out on top in an absolute thriller. It would have been easy for frustration to creep in with the home side constantly coming back at them, but the Terras have proved previously they have the ability to dig in and win ugly if required, and they proved that again here.

The result moves Weymouth into second in the table with just one league game to play against Poole Town Reserves. A match that could end up being the decider for second place if Poole win both of their games in hand.

Terras: Osment, Wootton, Potter, de Havilland, Cimon Barnard-Irons, Sibley, Wilson, B.Barnard-Irons, Beasley, Howard, Roberts.

Subs on: Johnson, Hoare, Whelton-Legg.

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