A battling Weymouth were beaten 3-2 by Ebbsfleet United in dramatic circumstances at the Bob Lucas Stadium this afternoon.
Oldfield made just one change before the game with Claudio Ofosu replacing Bradley Ash.
Weymouth started the game well, with Tom Blair closing down the opposition and winning the ball deep into the Ebbsfleet final third. Blair laid the ball off to Captain Xander McBurnie to strike but the shot was blocked behind for a corner.
However, despite this sharp start, Ebbsfleet took ascendancy in the 2nd minute. A long ball up from the corner found its way to Dominic Poleon. The ex-Leeds striker was through on goal and took the shot on. The ball went through the gloves and legs of keeper Bert White.
The visitors were keeping control of the ball and scarcely offered the Terras an opportunity. Ebbsfleet had their next chance in the 25th minute. Christian N’Guessan charged through the area and took on a shot from the far byline in a busy area, winning a corner. The fleet had their next strike from the resulting corner, as Rakish Bingham kept the ball in play. The number 9 then played it back to Luke O’Neil, who took on a strike with his right boot which had struck the side netting.
Weymouth snatched the equaliser in the 34th minute after sustaining a period of heavy pressure against Ebbsfleet. Claudio Ofosu came in from the left, turning and twisting past Fleet defenders before sliding the ball into the path of Tom Blair. The winger put in a low cross to the back post which was turned in by Tom Bearwish.
Ebbsfleet were pressing to establish their lead and came close in the 43rd minute. N’Guessan dug out a cross to Omari Sterling-James on the far side. The winger drilled the ball into Poleon who took on a shot first time. White was quick to parry the shot to his right but straight into the path of Bingham, who’s shot cleared the bar.
The game was end to end with Weymouth’s pace on the counter attack evident. Keelan O’Connell intercepted a ball in the centre of the park, and found Ofosu, who made a run from the left into the area. The winger was one-on-one with goalkeeper Mark Cousins, but his attempt to dink the chance over the goalkeeper went over.
Ebbsfleet started the second half the way in which they started the first, as they regained the lead in the 50th minute. A stunning free kick from the left footed Craig Tanner curled over the wall and beyond the outstretched gloves of White from 25 yards.
The Terras were trying to find an equaliser and O’Connell did well to split the defence apart to provide an opportunity to Bearwish in the 53rd minute. Weymouth’s number 10 cut in, shifting the ball onto his right foot before firing an effort on goal, which was parried away by Cousins to his left, and eventually put behind for a corner.
The fans were pressing Weymouth on, with their next attempt in the 60th minute. The ball came to Cameron Murray in midfield. The veteran Terras midfielder took on a shot from range, which again had to be palmed away by Cousins. Luke Nippard was the first to react but his first time strike blazed over the crossbar.
Weymouth were having the better of the chances and were through again 8 minutes later. Tom Bearwish was played in on the right and delivered a low cross into the area which was met by O’Connell, however, Cousins was alert to the danger providing a last ditch save.
The Fleet were still managing chances from midfield, despite the pressure. Dan Matsuzaka’s forward header was intercepted by Tanner, who tried another effort with his left, but the shot was scuffed and went behind for a goal kick.
The Terras were given a lifeline in the 78th minute and awarded a penalty after Sterling-James brought down Bradley Ash following a shot from O’Connell. Ash stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake, putting it past the keepers right.
O’Connell found himself through again moments later on the right. His lofted effort on goal was punched over the bar by Cousins.
Weymouth’s number 7 then switched sides in the next attack and found Ofosu on the left. Ofosu cut in before taking on a low strike towards the near post but the ball was inches wide.
Ebbsfleet snatched the winner 9 minutes into injury time. Substitute Darren McQueen pulled the ball back to Tanner who bagged his brace with a first time finish with his left foot just inside the area.
Weymouth were awarded a free kick with their last kick of the game but Ash could only hit the wall before striking it again in frustration, with the chance going over the bar.