Match Report – St. Albans City 3-2 Weymouth
By Harri Beckwith
It was defeat for Bobby Wilkinson’s side last night, this time coming at Clarence Park, as St Albans City beat the Terras by 3 goals to 2. The game looked as though it could’ve gone on to be a thrashing, with the home team ahead by 2 and looking much stronger, but what was clearly a re-energising half-time team talk by the gaffer, proved to make the second half a far more entertaining watch.
The game started poorly for Weymouth with St Albans having a few decent opportunities within the first few minutes, including a long-range effort by eventual goal-scorer, Shaun Jeffers, forcing Zaki Oualah to push the ball past the post. Things only got worse for the Terras as, in the 6th minute, Teddy Howe stayed down injured having made a great defensive effort to stop St Albans’ Tafari Moore from delivering a cross from the left-hand side of the box. Howe’s injury caused him to be substituted early for debutant Hari McCoy, meaning Bobby Wilkinson to have to shake things around with the team. McCoy did start well, picking up the ball and driving at the defence, something which had been lacking up until that point for Weymouth.
Around the 10-minute mark, things started picking up for Weymouth, playing good football but lacking any real creativity to find a good shooting chance. In the 14th minute, Cam Murray did well with the ball in the middle of the park, beating a few of the opposition before feeding the ball to another debutant, loanee Ed James, who delivered a great ball over the top to Brad Ash. Ash then drove at the defence along the left-hand side of the box before trying an audacious back-heel pass, which was subsequently deflected for a corner. Harry Kyprianou picked up the ball from the short corner, but his shot was deflected.
In the 20th minute, after a quiet period for the St Albans attack, Zane Banton picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and whipped in a fantastic ball to striker Shaun Jeffers who rose well to meet the ball and guide it past Zaki Oualah. This started another poor period for Weymouth. A reckless challenge from Brendan Willson saw the debutant into the referee’s book, as the Terras continued to be wasteful with the ball. St Albans started to look more dangerous by the half-hour mark. A chance for St Albans saw Joe Neal’s cross cleared by Tom Bearwish for a corner. After a scrappy period of play in the box from the corner, a Munashe Sundire shot deflected for another corner, and St Albans were able to continue to mount the pressure on Weymouth.
The pressure from St Albans paid off for the home side in the 33rd minute, with Kyran Wiltshire playing a beautifully weighted ball through the Weymouth defence to Shaun Jeffers, who ran through the Terras defence unchallenged to pick up the ball and slot it into bottom left-hand corner. Weymouth looked to be slightly losing their heads shortly after Jeffers’ second goal, as in the 37th minute, O’Connell became the third Weymouth player in the referee’s book after pulling back his man. Weymouth’s defence looked vulnerable nearing the 40th minute, conceding a free-kick which was hit beautifully by Kyran Wiltshere, forcing Zaki Oualah to make another outstanding save, and really keeping Weymouth in the game. Tom Bearwish was a standout player in the first half, really showing great heart and desire to work hard for his team and slowing down the opposition, having had to move to right wing-back following Teddy Howe’s injury. He also created a great chance just before halftime, delivering a cross to Keelan O’Connell, who couldn’t direct his header goalward. The Terras went into halftime with a 2-0 deficit.
Ben Gerring was replaced at halftime by Dan Matsuzaka, which proved to strengthen the backline, as was seen in the 47th minute when Joe Neal delivered a ball into the box for St Albans, with nothing coming to fruition thanks to good Weymouth defending. Bobby Wilkinson’s team talk at halftime had clearly reinvigorated his team, as they played with a lot more energy and fight in the second half, with a clear desire to get something out of the game.
Unfortunately for Weymouth, the lack of attacking creativity would continue for a short while, Bearwish creating room for himself in the 51st minute before hitting a long-ranged pot-shot wide. St Albans looked far more likely to score throughout this period of the game when attacking and really looked dangerous at times, with the Terras defence withstanding a lot of pressure.
Thankfully for the Terras, after a few missed opportunities just before, O’Connell delivered a sumptuous ball from a corner into the box which Brendan Willson dived to get on the end of, directing the ball powerfully past Dylan Berry in the St Albans goal, and into the net. Wilkinson’s team had hope and they continued to play well, with a real fight and far more energetic.
Weymouth did have a penalty appeal in the 64th minute which the referee waved away, and the boys continued to knock on the door of the St Albans goal, after being spurred on further by the Willson goal.
The game became rather scrappy around the 70-minute mark and there were no real convincing chances for either team, but Weymouth continued to look like the more dominant team. Unfortunately for the boys, St Albans were able to score what would turn out to be the winner in the 80th minute as substitute Huw Dawson found Jeffers who flicked the ball forward to Mitchell Weiss who tucked the ball neatly past Oualah. A “suckerpunch” as Wilkinson described it.
At 3-1, Weymouth still looked determined to get something from this game, despite it being clear that many of them were knackered following Saturday’s game. St Albans were struggling to put Weymouth down and as a Terras corner found it’s way to Tom Bearwish, the number 10 suavely flicked the ball over the defender’s leg, controlled the ball with his head, then delicately sloted the ball into the corner of the home team’s goal to make it 3-2 in the 88th minute.
A final few minutes saw Weymouth have 2 long ranged free-kicks which they could have prospered from, but, unfortunately for the Terras, a lack of good decision making cost them possession of the ball both times, and St Albans were able to hold off the final wave of Terras pressure.
All-in-all, a slow first half performance really cost Weymouth overall. They were off the pace from the start and allowed St Albans to take advantage. Bobby Wilkinson’s halftime team talk clearly got through to the boys and it was seen with not only the 2 second half goals, but the difference in attitude from a majority of the players. St Albans looked dangerous throughout the game and Weymouth didn’t have enough of an answer, and it cost them, something they need to improve on come Saturday’s game against Braintree.