Weymouth held by Oxford City in dour stalemate
WEYMOUTH secured a first clean sheet of the season in a dull 0-0 draw at Oxford City in the Vanarama National League South.
Jake McCarthy came closest to breaking the deadlock, rattling the bar late in the first half, while Weymouth were denied a late penalty for handball and saw Calvin Brooks nod wide in injury-time.
Weymouth announced four changes to the side that began the 1-1 draw with Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
Lionel Ainsworth and Shaun Hobson – a new loanee from Bournemouth – made their starting debuts, while Cameron Murray and Ben Thomson came into the starting XI, the latter making his first start since sustaining a hamstring strain against Dartford.
The quartet’s introduction meant Stephane Zubar, Josh Wakefield, Brett Williams and Yemi Odubade all dropped down to the bench, joining keeper Mark Childs in the dugout.
Centre-back Jordan Rose missed out completely.
City also started a debutant in new loanee goalkeeper Harry Isted after the Luton gloveman joined on a one-month deal hours before the contest.
With this encounter both sides’ ninth of the season, a disappointing first-half witnessed few chances but Ainsworth did fire the first shot at goal in the sixth minute.
Oxford then frightened the Terras’ defence as a cross from Jack Self was fumbled by away keeper Calum Ward, forcing right-back Brooks into an important intervention.
Isted showed a glimpse of his quality, taking a commanding claim after the Terras’ third corner of the game before Oxford twice went close.
Zak McEachran rifled at Ward before dangerman Craig Fasanmade whistled a shot narrowly wide of the away goal.
Fasanmade again threatened on the half-hour, shooting just wide of goal. The Hoops were then forced into a change when Tarik Moore-Azille gingerly left the field, with Finn Tapp coming on.
After a scrappy period of 10 minutes, both sides frequently losing possession, Weymouth captain McCarthy latched onto an Ollie Harfield corner and rattled the bar from close-range prior to the break.
Following the interval, Fasanmade shot weakly at Ward before Sam Sherring went down injured and, after a spell of treatment, was replaced by Wakefield on 51 minutes.
Despite the change, Weymouth began to settle and Abdulai Baggie’s dangerous cross was cleared by Oxford after good one-touch football from the visitors.
Weymouth then won a corner after a clever run and cross by Ainsworth but Isted gathered convincingly – the stopper looking in commanding form all evening.
That brief spell of action preceded a lull in play more reminiscent of the first half, with Andy Robinson required to twice head away from an Oxford free-kick.
Baggie came close to connecting with an Ainsworth cross on the stretch before Oxford made a double change, bringing off Fasanmade and Stefan Brown for Nana Owusu and Kyran Wiltshire.
Oxford’s changes were largely ineffective as Weymouth enjoyed the better of the latter stages.
Ainsworth and Brooks combined well to win a corner, leading to a Wakefield shot which struck an Oxford head, allowing the hosts to clear.
Ainsworth was then replaced by Odubade in the Terras’ final change and the visitors were incensed as a sudden scramble in the box led to the ball appearing to strike an Oxford hand, with the officials waving play on.
Robinson then fluffed a half-chance before Brooks rose highest to nod just wide in the 93rd minute as Weymouth had to settle for a second point in two games.
Oxford City: Isted, Jones, Jefford, Ashby, Moore-Azille (Tapp 33), Oastler, Fleet, Brown (Wiltshire 75), McEachran, Self, Fasanmade (Owusu 75). Subs not used: Caro, Wright
Terras: Ward, Harfield, Sherring (Wakefield 51), Ainsworth (Odubade 82), McCarthy, Thomson (Williams 65), Baggie, Murray, Robinson, Brooks, Hobson. Subs not used: Childs, Zubar