Weymouth FC Women – 2021 in Review
What a first full year it’s been for the women! Post lockdown at the end of last season they went on a fantastic run at the end of the season to seal a second-place finish in their very first season, finishing up just 3 points off top spot.
Then this season they’ve enjoyed a memorable FA Cup run, and go into 2022 in prime position for a promotion push.
It’s been a pleasure to watch the girls grow and develop both individually and collectively.
We’ve put together a short review to look back on a memorable year.
Narrow cup exit
After 4 months in lockdown, football finally returned in April, and the Terras couldn’t have asked for a tougher test to get back into action as they hosted league leaders Holt United in the quarter-finals of the Dorset County cup.
Having suffered defeat to Holt in the league on the opening day, it would have been easy for Weymouth to go under when Holt took the lead from the penalty spot in just the third minute, but a brave defensive display and some heroics from Kate Osment in her first game between the sticks kept them in the match, and Lucy Roberts came agonisingly close to forcing extra time with a curling free-kick from the last kick of the game.
A disappointing result, but a performance to be proud of, and something for the Terras to build on moving forwards.
Back to winning ways Two weeks later, Weymouth returned to league action for the first time in 5 months, and they did so in style as they racked up their biggest win of the season – smashing ten past Merley Cobham Sports.
Lucy Roberts would commence her hot streak with a hat-trick, and skipper Charlie Wilson would also bag her first hat-trick for the club, whilst a Lily Beasley brace, and goals from Shakira Howard and Sarah Webber-Green handed the Terras an emphatic victory.
May started with a tricky trip to Broadstone, and despite an early opener from Charlie Wilson the scores were level heading towards half-time.
Step forward Shakira Howard.
The Terras were awarded a free-kick at the end of the first half midway inside the Broadstone half. Weymouth filled the box and prepared to try and scramble a delivery home. But Howard had other ideas.
She unleashed an absolute rocket of a strike from some 35 yards that flew into the top right corner of the net. The goalkeeper could only stand and watch in awe of the strike.
She added her second just after the interval, and it gave Weymouth some much-needed breathing room as the home side put their defence under plenty of pressure in the final half an hour, but they dug in to grind out a valuable 3 points that put them third in the table.
Terras edge Ten goal Thriller
A week later and we were on the road again, this time with a long trip over the county border to Zeals FC to take on a strong Shaftesbury side.
On a difficult pitch, it took Weymouth half an hour to get going, but two goals in 5 minutes from Naomi Johnson and Lucy Roberts had them 2-0 up. But Shaftesbury didn’t lie down, and a couple of quickfire goals sent them into the break level pegging.
The second half would be a real humdinger.
Roberts fired Weymouth back in front just after the restart, but Ali Scott-Shepherd completed her hat-trick on the hour mark to make it 3-3.
Undeterred, Weymouth flew forwards from the restart, and almost immediately they were awarded a spot-kick which Roberts duly converted to complete another hat-trick. But the joy would be short-lived again, as Shaftesbury levelled things up a couple of minutes later to leave the score at 4-4.
But Roberts was in scintillating form, and on 67 minutes she scored her fourth of the afternoon to have Weymouth in front again. But this time the defence stood firm, and a late Lily Beasley goal sealed an absolutely thrilling win for the Terras which moved them up to second spot.
Youngsters Shine With no league game the following week, a friendly against Bridport allowed player-manager, Tasha Sibley, the opportunity to hand debuts to a number of younger players who would go on to become part of the club’s Development squad.
A debut hat-trick for Meg Wilkinson and a brace for Naomi Johnson saw the young Terras to a comfortable 5-0 victory on a memorable afternoon for the club’s youngsters.
Second Spot Sealed
The battle for the runner-up spot in the league would come down to a final day showdown as the Terras hosted Poole Town Ladies reserves on a very cold, wet and windy afternoon.
Given the conditions, it was going to be a war of attrition, and it was crucial to get off to a solid start. And the Terras got an absolute dream start, as just 5 minutes into the contest Lucy Roberts was fouled and awarded a spot-kick, which she duly slotted home herself to give Weymouth something to defend.
The Terras had to survive a few nervy moments during the rest of the first half, but when Roberts’ doubled the lead before the interval, the Terras were in the driving seat.
Poole fought back in the second half, and they would set up a nervy final 20 minutes when they pulled it back to 2-1.
Poole threw the kitchen sink at it, but Weymouth held on, and a sensational strike from Tasha Sibley 5 minutes from time sealed the deal, and assured Weymouth of a second-place finish. A fantastic achievement in their first season, especially given all that they had to deal with in terms of lockdown restrictions.
Lucy Roberts had been in unstoppable form in the run into the end of the season, and she was rewarded for her hard work and talent with a dream move to Portsmouth in the summer.
After a well-deserved summer break, pre-season began with a stiff test against an impressive Bournemouth Sports side. Although the Terras were on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss, there were many positives on the day with plenty of chances being created, and several young players making their first-team debuts.
This was followed up with a 5-0 win away to a Bridport side who defended bravely and made the Terras work extremely hard for the win. A Charlie Wilson header had the Terras ahead at the break, and the home side were still very much in the contest until a late flurry of goals arrived, including first goals for the club for both Emma Potter and Beth Barnard-Irons.
The following week, the Development team made their debut with a battling performance against last season’s rec league winners Longfleet Lionesses. Caprice Locke-White bagged a brace and Meg Wilkinson was also on the scoresheet, but the youngsters were edged out in an 8 goal thriller.
The first team’s pre-season continued with a creditable 2-2 draw in an entertaining clash with step 6 Pen Mill Ladies, thanks to a Lily Beasley brace.
Pre-season was rounded off with an impressive performance and victory over a strong Ilminster Reserves side, with Shakira Howard scoring and setting up a late own goal.
Six of the best
On a baking hot summers day on a very difficult pitch, Weymouth hosted Shaftesbury on the opening day of the season.
Weymouth did the hard work with a clinical first-half display. A Lily Beasley brace, a debut goal for Sophie Webber-Green and a Charlie Wilson strike had the Terras 4 to the good by the break.
Shaftesbury defended well in the second half and caused Weymouth plenty of frustration before a couple of late goals from Beth Barnard-Irons and Naomi Johnson ensured the perfect start to the season.
Development Team’s first win
There was more cause for cheer in mid-September as the young Development team picked up their first victory, and in emphatic fashion against a much more experienced Gillingham Town.
Despite going a goal down in the first 5 minutes, 2 goals from Ruby Clark, and hat-tricks for Meg Wilkinson and Shakira Howard sealed an impressive victory.
Ridgeway derby frustration
The first team’s impressive run came to an end as they paid for a slow start in the ridgeway derby at Dorchester which saw them go in at half-time 2-0 down.
A much-improved second-half showing included another couple of goals for Shakira Howard, and despite throwing everything at Dorchester, some heroic goalkeeping and defending left the Terras frustrated.
Strikers find their scoring boots
The month would end with the first team’s strikers finding their goal-scoring touch in a friendly at Gillingham. Both Sophie Webber-Green and Shakira Howard bagged 4 goals, and Lily Beasley hit a hat-trick to set up what would be a memorable occasion a few days later.
FA Cup Dreamland
Sunday 3rd October will stay in the memory of everyone for many years to come, as the Terras made their FA Cup debut, and their Bob Lucas Stadium debut against a strong Alton side.
In front of a bumper crowd of over 200, an early Naomi Johnson strike settled the nerves and gave Weymouth a narrow lead which they would hold into the break.
They managed to weather an early second-half storm from Alton, and the goals began to flow in the last 25 minutes.
Shakira Howard doubled the lead with a stunning chipped finish on 66 minutes before player-manager Tasha Sibley hammered home a third from a corner 6 minutes later to have her side in dreamland.
Alton pulled one back with a stunning long-range strike, but any late drama was avoided with another excellent finish from Howard, before a late Lily Beasley strike but the cherry on the icing on the cake.
The heavens opened dramatically at full time but it was never going to dampen the Terras spirits, and the celebrations at full time will live long in the memory of everyone involved.
It was an extremely proud day for all the players and staff.
The visit of step 5 Sherborne Town proved to be a step too far in the next round, but the FA Cup experience was fantastic for everyone, and the Sherborne game, in particular, proved to be a big learning curve.
Development Team make a perfect league start
The feel-good factor continued thanks to the Development squad who picked up two excellent victories in their first league outings.
The first game was a tricky looking trip to last season’s champions Longfleet Lionesses, and despite going behind midway through the first half – two goals in as many minutes from Georgia and Tasha Sibley sent Weymouth into the break 2-1 up.
Two second-half goals from Becca Hoare and a goal for Katie Wotton sealed an impressive 5-2 victory for the Terras youngsters.
They backed this up at the end of the month as they completed an incredible second-half fightback at Shaftesbury.
Trailing 3-0 after just 24 minutes, a Caprice Locke-White goal before the break gave the Terras hope, before another 3 goals for Caprice and a Katie Wotton long-range effort in the second half sealed a superb comeback victory.
November / December
Back to league action
The first team finally got back to the business of league action with a trip to Shaftesbury, where Shakira Howard, Tasha Sibley, Charlie Wilson, Lily Beasley and Naomi Johnson all got on the scoresheet as Weymouth picked up a 5-0 win, although they certainly didn’t have it all their own way against an improving Shaftesbury side.
The goals flow
Next up was county cup action at Broadstone, and Dani Ackerman announced herself on the scene with a hat-trick in just her second game for the club. Braces for Naomi Johnson and Sibley and a penalty from Charlie Wilson saw Weymouth ease into the quarter-finals.
There was further reason to smile the same day as the Development team put up a spirited performance against an experienced Dorchester side. Caprice Locke-White had given the Terras’ youngsters hope and they created plenty of chances, with Dorchester being very complimentary of their performance.
It was deja vu a week later with another trip to Broadstone, this time in the league, and an utterly ruthless Weymouth side found themselves 11-0 up at the break, including 8 goals in 15 minutes. Hat-tricks for Dani Ackerman and Charlie Wilson, braces for Beasley and Johnson, goals for Sibley, Taylor, Sapsford and an own goal saw Weymouth run out utterly emphatic winners.
Terras end the year in seventh heaven
Weymouth finished the year with what looked to be a tricky test against Poole reserves, but a dominant first-half performance saw Weymouth wrap the game up in the first half. A third hat-trick in a row for Ackerman, 2 goals from Naomi Johnson and a sensational free-kick from Howard capped off a perfect first 45 for Weymouth, before a second-half goal for Tasha Sibley sealed another big victory and a valuable 3 points.
And the Development team ensured it really was the perfect end to the year as they made it 3 wins from 3 in the rec league with a 6-2 win over Bridport thanks to braces for Caprice Locke-White and Ruby Clarke, along with goals for Becca Hoare and Lauren Ellis.
So the Terras go into 2022 with plenty to look forward to. The first team currently sit third in the table, 6 points off the top spot with 4 games in hand, and also a County cup quarter-final to look forward to, whilst the Development team sit proudly on top of the rec league with a 100% record.
It’s been a sensational year for the women, who have done themselves, their teammates and the club as a whole extremely proud. The future is extremely bright!