Weymouth 1-0 Braintree Town (Matsuzaka, 81’)
By Alfie Lumb
A late goal from Dan Matsuzaka saw the Terras take all 3 points against Braintree Town on Saturday afternoon at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
The game’s opening was frantic, with both sides jostling for possession. Braintree were awarded a corner in the 2nd minute, with Willie Clemons whipping in the set piece. The ball came to the back post where Zaki Oualah punched the ball in the air before Baris Altintop made contact. The ball bounced downwards and wide of the goal.
Bradley Ash put the ball in the net in the 15th minute but was adjudged to have been offside following the long ball to the striker.
Keelan O’Connell was looking dangerous on the left hand side and won a corner following a storming run. The midfielder delivered the ball in, which was cleared away but only as far as Harry Kyprianou who tried to head the ball back into the danger zone in the middle of the box but the Irons cleared their lines again.
Braintree had the first real chance in the game 33 minutes in. A heavy touch from Dan Matsuzaka which saw Kyron Farrell hit the post from an effort in the area. The ball came out to John Benton who flashed at an effort from range which was always rising over the bar.
The Irons were pushing for a goal, with Lamar Reynolds taking the game to the Terras, dribbling through the midfield before playing Farrell through on the left flank. Tom Bearwish came across well to block the wing-back’s first effort, before getting up and making another crucial block.
It took 40 minutes for the contest’s first shot on target with Ahkeem Rose striking a low shot from distance, however the ball rolled into the gloves of Jack Sims.
The Terras were straight out of the gate in the second half, and tried to open up a chance when Tom Blair
Braintree had the next effort, when a long ball went through Weymouth defenders and into the path of Matthew Rush. The forward fizzed in a low effort which went inches wide of the goal.
Moments later the Irons were on the break again. This time Joe Muscatt was causing chaos on the far side, but was shepherded by Xander McBurnie. The Maltese international played the ball across the pitch to Benton but Tom Bearwish was there again to put a last ditch tackle in to clear the danger.
Weymouth were through on the counter attack in the 64th minute, with O’Connell leading the line from the left. He saw the overlapping run of Kyprianou and played in the left back, who cut the ball back to Rose who struck towards goal. Cawley put his body in the way to deny what was a certain goal.
Just a minute later, the Terras were through again. Tom Blair looked lethal on the right as he delivered a searching cross into the box. Sims came off his line to clear the ball but missed his punch, allowing Bradley Ash to head the ball, however the striker couldn’t direct the ball, with the header clearing the cross bar.
The Terras had another shot on target in the 76th minute. Substitute Josh Oyinsan picked up the ball on the edge of the box before looking up and picking out a shot, which was straight at the goalkeeper.
Weymouth broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute. A corner from O’Connell was put into a bustling penalty area. Irons players could not clear the ball as Dan Matsuzaka punted the ball into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, the Terras were through again and looking to double their lead. Bearwish won possession again on the right side and played in Tom Blair who fancied a shot, directing the ball across the face of goal. Sims read the danger and palmed it away to his left and out to O’Connell who could only strike the side netting.
The Terras had something to think about 2 minutes into the 5 of added time. A long throw-in came out to Alfie Matthews who tried to curl one from range. The ball dipped and bounced in the penalty area, which saw Oualah palm the ball out to his right. A Braintree player tried to turn in the rebound but another Weymouth defender cut in to make the clearance.
Weymouth were still keen on another goal, and with a minute left of added time, were almost assured it. Sims attempted to clear the ball up field, but Oyinsan closed down the keeper, with the ball rebounding off the substitute and just inches wide of the goal.