Weymouth 1

De Havilland 57’

Redlands 0

Dorset Women’s League (23/01/22)

Report: James Spring

Decisive De Havilland

Becca De Havilland couldn’t have saved her first Terras goal for a better time, as it was her strike that proved decisive in a tight and tense Weymouth derby at Wey Valley on Sunday.

The Terras were able to welcome back Dani Ackerman and Kristina Manktelow, although Sophie Webber-Green remains side-lined.

The two sides came into the clash both harbouring title aspirations so it was set to be a hard-fought encounter, and so it proved with both sides struggling to get a foothold in the opening minutes, as the game quickly developed into a midfield battle.

It took until the 10th minute for the first chance of the match to arrive when Beasley skipped past the full-back and whipped a cross into the box. It fell back for Charlie Wilson on the edge of the box who saw her stinging effort well saved by Renee Marquis in the Redlands goal.

Shortly after that Redlands had optimistic appeals for a penalty waved away, but that was the only real action in either penalty box in the first third of the game, as the game continued to be played predominantly in the midfield, and lots of niggly fouls meant both sides struggled to get into a rhythm.

Just after half an hour, Dani Ackerman’s corner was half-cleared to Kristina Manktelow on the edge of the D and her first-time effort was a yard or two wide of the right-hand post.

Redlands then forced a string of corners but the Weymouth defence stood firm and managed to clear the danger.

Three minutes before halftime Weymouth had the best chance of the first half. Manktelow threaded a ball through the defence and Beasley got in behind the backline. She managed to reach the ball ahead of the onrushing Marquis and rounded the goalkeeper on the edge of the box, but she was forced wide by a covering defender, and her shot was blocked and cleared on the six-yard line, meaning there was nothing to separate the two sides at half time.

The Terras signalled their intent just 90 seconds into the second half when Manktelow managed to get a toe onto a ball through the centre of the Redlands defence but she could only poke it wide of the mark.

Redlands then came agonisingly close to opening the scoring when they almost capitalised on a defensive mix up. Osment was dispossessed and the striker rolled the ball towards the empty goal. Redlands began to celebrate, only for the ball to bounce back off the post and away to safety. A big let-off for the Terras.

Just three minutes later it was Weymouth’s turn to hit the woodwork as Naomi Johnson let fly from the edge of the D following great work from Ackerman, but her powerful strike hit the crossbar and bounced over.

But that would prove to only be a temporary let-off for Redlands, as Weymouth made the all-important breakthrough on 57 minutes.

They were awarded a free kick on the right-wing. Ackerman sent a devilish delivery into the middle of the box which was met by a Redlands defender, but it fell perfectly for Becca De Havilland running in from the edge of the box. She hit a powerful first-time effort goalwards, and although Marquis got a hand to it, the shot simply had too much on it, and it bounced into the back of the net almost in slow motion before the Terras could celebrate.

Just after the hour mark, Weymouth came within a lick of paint of doubling the lead when Beasley’s cross was met by Ash Taylor at the back post. She headed it up in the air and Ackerman arrived in the box and hammered it towards goal, but the ball hit the corner of the post and crossbar and went behind.

Shortly after that Shakira Howard managed to get in behind the backline and get a toe onto a loose ball, but her attempted chip drifted narrowly wide of the post.

Redlands managed to survive the period of pressure from the Terras, and it was set up for a nervy final quarter of an hour.

The visitors would then strike the post for the second time themselves when the ball was half-cleared to a striker on the edge of the box. Her shot had Osment beaten at full stretch but it struck the base of the post and Weymouth cleared their lines.

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, Redlands committed more and more players forwards, but Weymouth’s backline stood firm against an aerial bombardment.

Into injury time, Redlands would force one last chance with a long ball deep into the Weymouth box. The ball seemed to bounce around in the box for an eternity as Weymouth struggled to clear the danger, before it was eventually sent over the bar by a Redlands player with what proved to be the last chance of the game.

In the end, a full 96 minutes had been played before the final whistle blew, and Weymouth were able to celebrate an incredibly hard-fought 3 points.

It was a real battle with the defences largely on top, but a moment of quality from De Havilland gave Weymouth something to defend. And defend it they did – putting their bodies on the line, and admittedly riding their luck a little at times, to seal their most important league win of the season.

The win means Weymouth move above Redlands into second in the table, 3 points behind the leaders Merley Cobham Sports whom they have a game in hand over, and still have to play twice.

It was also a successful day for the Weymouth Development team who began their 2022 with a trip to St Mary’s Field to face Bridport Ladies in a friendly. Two goals from Caprice Locke-White, and a goal apiece for Katie Wootton and Ruby Clark saw the Terras’ youngsters to a 4-2 victory.

Terras: Osment, Potter, Whiting, C.Barnard-Irons, Manktelow, Sibley, Wilson, Beasley, B.Barnard-Irons, Ackerman, Howard.

Subs on: Taylor, Sapsford, de Havilland, Johnson.

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