Terras overhauled by Wealdstone fightback
Lewis 45+2, Cawley 48
WEYMOUTH slid to a frustrating 2-1 defeat at fellow promoted side Wealdstone as the Stones inflicted an eighth Vanarama National League loss of the season on the Terras.
Having weathered a chance-laden Wealdstone start, Weymouth took the lead through Ben Thomson before Dennon Lewis equalised in first-half stoppage-time.
Wealdstone’s Jack Cawley then headed home three minutes after the restart but, despite a late spell of Weymouth pressure, the visitors could not find a leveller.
Looking to offset a run of three losses, Weymouth boss Brian Stock made five changes to the side that began the 3-2 reverse to Dagenham on Tuesday.
Josh Wakefield, who was sent off in the first half of that defeat, missed out along with Andy Robinson, Calvin Brooks, Cameron Murray and Ollie Harfield.
Harfield, Brooks and Robinson were all carrying injuries, while Murray suffered a bad knock to the head against the Daggers and sat this clash out.
The quintet was replaced by Jordan Ngalo, Jake McCarthy and Josh Leslie-Smith while Zaid Al-Hussaini grabbed his first start for the Terras.
There was also a recall for centre-back Myles Anderson after an impressive loan spell with Hampton and Richmond that yielded five clean sheets in his six weeks at the Beavers.
Weymouth and Wealdstone last played each other 15 months ago in what was a humdinger of a game between two sides who would eventually clinch promotion from the Vanarama National League South.
Wealdstone won 4-3 that day, Ross Lafayette scoring a hat-trick, and the early exchanges of this fixture also produced a blizzard of chances.
Michael Phillips nodded wide of goal for the hosts, before home keeper Stuart Moore claimed a looping Brennan Camp throw-in.
Visiting goalkeeper Jack Bycroft warmed his palms on a chilly day at Grosvenor Vale, first denying Charlee Hughes and then launching himself to tip clear a Jacob Mendy drive.
Chances flooded in during a breathless start as Al-Hussaini carved a path inside and blasted over before a tempting ball from Lewis evaded Hughes six yards out.
Phillips guided Alex Dyer’s corner wide to end an action-packed opening 15 minutes.
Weymouth had soaked up a large amount of pressure in that time but were rewarded as Thomson claimed his first National League goal in the 25th minute.
Bustling through the Stones’ rearguard, Thomson engineered a one-on-one chance against Moore, the striker winning that personal duel with a cool finish inside the area.
Wealdstone were initially rocked by the goal but soon found their attacking rhythm again, forcing Bycroft into a miraculous stop.
Weymouth had cleared Cawley’s shot off the line but the rebound fell invitingly for Michee Efete, only for Bycroft to superbly divert the right-back’s effort wide.
Shortly after Thomson was denied a second by the outstretched leg of Moore, Wealdstone equalised.
Heading into the second of four added minutes, Daniel Green’s pinpoint cross was headed powerfully past Bycroft by Lewis – who also scored the Stones’ first goal in the 4-3 win last season.
Weymouth had now conceded in the 45th minute or later against Barnet, Woking, Chesterfield and Wealdstone this season.
While the hosts made a quick start in the first half without scoring, they made amends in the second period as they took the lead.
Green assisted again, crossing for Cawley to bury a fierce header past Bycroft in the 48th minute.
Ngalo almost replied instantly for Weymouth, lashing at Moore, before Efete’s guided header nearly grazed the top of the bar as Wealdstone chased a third.
Moments later, Thomson could not convert a free header and that was to be the striker’s last contribution as Shamir Mullings replaced him.
Stock’s change did little to curb Wealdstone’s momentum as Kundai Benyu rifled over before Lewis raided down the left and stung the gloves of Bycroft.
Cawley rattled the bar with a second bullet header and Efete was again denied by Bycroft, the Southampton loanee in stupendous form for the Terras.
Josh McQuoid, who had scored two goals in two games, endured a quiet afternoon and was replaced by Jack Hoey with 18 minutes remaining.
Weymouth were sensing an equaliser and McCarthy nearly provided it, glancing a header inches wide from Sean Shields’ clipped delivery.
In a tense finale, home substitute Charlie Wakefield nearly set up fellow sub Jordon Slew only for the forward to poke wide, before Shields fired off-target in the 86th minute having worked himself into space.
As Weymouth turned up the heat, sub Cody Cooke fired just wide from distance as the game headed into stoppage-time.
Try as the Terras might, they could not find an equaliser, slipping to a fourth straight league defeat while Wealdstone leapt into the play-off positions.
Wealdstone: Moore, Efete, Phillips (Cawley 20), Okimo, Mendy, Smith, Dyer, Benyu (C Wakefield 82), Green, Lewis, Hughes (Slew 65).
Subs not used: Askew, Wishart.
Terras: Bycroft, Camp, Jordan, Ngalo, McCarthy, Thomson (Mullings 64), McQuoid (Hoey 72), Anderson, Leslie-Smith, Al-Hussaini (Cooke 79), Shields.
Subs not used: Benfield, Santos.