Clark 48’ 60’ Howard-Hachem 80’



South West Womens East Division (09/09/22)

Clark Brace inspires depleted Terras

Report: James Spring. Photo: Ian Middlebrook.

A second-half brace from young Ruby Clark along with an assist inspired a depleted Weymouth to an impressive win over Stockwood Wanderers at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

The Terras were without Annie Redding, Kristina Manktelow, Dani Ackerman, and player-manager Tasha Sibley, meaning assistant manager Paul Tapper took charge for the day.

Rebecca McManus and Harriet Freeman both started but were both nursing injuries themselves, as were Naomi Johnson and Charlie Wilson who were on the bench.

This meant that the Terras starting XI included a lot of younger players keen to make their marks, such as Ruby Clark, Sophie Bonfield, Nia Bywater, and Gracie Billing, whilst Shakira Howard-Hachem returned to the side to lead the line.

The visitors looked to take advantage of Weymouth’s shuffled pack early on and just 6 minutes in they managed to get in behind, but Emma Potter was on hand to race back and make a potential goal-saving challenge just as the striker was about the pull the trigger.

The Terras were far from overawed and soon began to pose some questions of their own. On 12 minutes Howard-Hachem stung the visiting goalkeeper’s palms with a free kick from 25 yards before Sophie Bonfield saw a shot held by the keeper a couple of minutes later, as the Terras began to grow in confidence.

Beth Barnard-Irons was having an excellent game slotting in to do a job in the midfield, and on 22 minutes she won it back on the halfway and set Weymouth on the break. She laid it off for Bonfield whose shot from the edge of the box was fumbled by the goalkeeper and scrambled to safety.

Bonfield went close again on 28 minutes when Harriet Freeman’s free-kick was inadvertently headed on by a defender, and it fell for Bonfield around 8 yards out but her first-time shot went just over the bar.

Next, it was Stockwood’s turn to have an attempt but a long-range strike was well held by Osment.

On 37 minutes Nia Bywater showed quick feet to swivel and shoot from the edge of the D but her shot rolled narrowly wide, and the visitors counter-attacked and forced Osment into another save, as the game began to get stretched.

5 minutes before the interval Barnard-Irons drove at the Stockwood defence and played a lovely ball into the path of Bonfield, but under pressure from the advancing goalkeeper she rolled her shot wide before Bywater saw another shot held by the goalkeeper right on half-time, and the sides went in level at the break.

Weymouth were on top but knew they needed to start putting their chances away, and they got the dream start to the second half thanks to Ruby Clark.

Naomi Johnson sent her clear down the left wing, and Clark used her immense pace to race away from the full-back before firing across the goalkeeper into the far corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.

Weymouth’s tails were up, and they came close to doubling the lead ten minutes later when Bonfield’s shot was parried up in the air by the goalkeeper before a defender hacked it to safety.

The Terras would only have to wait another 3 minutes to double their lead though, and it was Clark again, this time showing a terrific poachers instinct to be in the right place at the right time to drill the ball through a crowd of bodies into the net, after Stockwood failed to clear a corner.

The confidence was visibly flowing now, and Johnson came agonisingly close to making it 3-0 on 63 minutes when she controlled Clark’s centre and saw her fierce shot deflected over the bar by the goalkeeper.

Freeman also saw a powerful header from a corner blocked on the line as Weymouth looked to put the game to bed.

Stockwood were not out of the game just yet though, and on 68 minutes they were almost in on goal, but the ever-reliable Emma Potter was there to slide in and deflect the shot behind for a corner.

Unfortunately, the reprieve was short-lived though as Stockwood halved the arrears from the resulting corner to set up a nervy final 20 minutes.

Weymouth went in search of a third goal, and Clark almost had her hat-trick on 74 minutes but was denied by a good save from the goalkeeper low down to her right.

Stockwood had clearly found some confidence since their goal though, and on 75 minutes there was a real heart-in-mouth moment for Weymouth as a slip in defence led to Stockwood’s striker racing through one v one with Osment, but Osment was quickly off her line to narrow the angle, and she just did enough to rush the striker and the shot trickled wide to the relief of the home crowd.

And thankfully, any lingering nerves were all but put to bed with 10 minutes to go, as Clark once again put on the after-burners to race past 2 defenders and get to the byline before pulling it back for Howard-Hachem inside the 6-yard box, and she kept her cool to swivel and shoot into the far corner to restore the 2 goal cushion.

Sophie Bonfield had a couple of late efforts wide of the mark but 3-1 was more than enough for the Terras, who made it 3 wins in a row in all competitions with 11 goals scored.

This one felt particularly satisfying though given the personnel Weymouth were missing. Every player worked unbelievably hard and the attacking force of the youngsters – particularly Clark, was a joy to watch.

In the Dorset Women’s league, Weymouth Development came out on the wrong side of an 8-goal thriller against Dorchester Town, despite 2 goals from Caprice Locke-White and a goal from Olivia Scholes.

Next up for Weymouth’s first team is a trip to Middlezoy Rovers this Sunday.

Terras: Osment, Potter, Freeman, Taylor, McManus (C), Barnard-Irons, Billing, Howard-Hachem, Bywater, Clark, Bonfield.

Subs: Wilson, Sewry, Johnson.

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