Town take a point from battling draw at Weymouth
IF ONE game could sum up the Terras’ season to date, it was probably their 1-1 draw with Stratford Town at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
After going a goal down from the penalty spot early on and fighting their way back into the contest, Jason Matthews’ side – definitely not for the first time this season – just could not find a way to break their opposition down for a second time as they were, yet again, left to settle for another frustrating home draw.
he 1-1 result is the Terras’ 10th league draw of the campaign and, if form was anything to go by, it was probably the result that was destined to occur, with their visitors now racking up 13 level contests in their league campaign to date.
Weymouth welcomed back some much-needed additions at full-back for the encounter with both Ashley Wells and Calvin Brooks returning and starting either side of the back four.
That meant Charlie Davis and Jordan Copp, who stepped into the defence during the 2-0 defeat to Chippenham Town in midweek, were placed back in the midfield. Aaron Rodriguez and Mark Molesley dropped to the bench.
Chris Shephard fired the first shot of the contest wide for the Terras in the early going, before a controversial opener came for Stratford after just six minutes.
A counter attack for Town saw Edwin Ahenkorah run at Terras’ centre-half Stephane Zubar and collide with the defender on the angle of the box.
Down went Ahenkorah under Zubar’s challenge, referee Iain Parsons deemed it was inside the box and pointed straight to the penalty spot.
Up stepped Ahenkorah, who placed his spot-kick down the middle to put Stratford ahead. Zubar was certain the foul had been made outside the box, even attempting to show the official a divot on the pitch where the tackle had taken place.
That sparked what could only be described as a comedy of errors from both sides over the next 15 minutes.
wo Stratford corners, both of which failed to beat the first man, were not dealt with by Matthews’ men, who looked rattled at this stage. On both occasions the away side came close to extending their advantage.
But it was from a corner at the other end where Weymouth drew level on 17 minutes.
Chris Shephard’s delivery, arguably not his best, was allowed to bounce in the Stratford area and there was Jake Wannell to stab home unmarked from close range for 1-1.
Stratford then should have been ahead again just a few minutes later.
Another defensive slip from Weymouth allowed striker Mike Taylor to run in on goal. He took the ball around Terras’ keeper Tom McHale and, with the goal at his mercy, shanked the ball into the stand in a comical fashion.
As the game then settled, Weymouth began to find their stride. A cross from Brooks drifted at goal and forced visiting keeper Niall Cooper to tip the ball over.
Shortly after, Shephard worked his way into the area and hit a low strike which Cooper got down well to his right to thwart.
Seven minutes into the second period, scorer Wannell limped off with what appeared to be a knee injury, forcing Matthews to re-shuffle the defence.
Brooks went in at centre-half with Davis switching to right-back, Chris Allen came off the bench into midfield.
And just moments after that change, the Terras were caught out down the right. Ahenkorah motored into the box and fired at McHale, Justin Marsden just had to tuck the rebound away but clipped the bar with the goal gaping.
Stewart Yetton was then introduced for the home side in place of Conor Jevon up front, as Matthews looked to make something happen from the bench.
Following that switch, the Terras applied serious pressure on their visitors for the resto of the contest.
Dean Evans let fly from range with an effort that was parried away, and, from the resulting corner, Zubar’s header was cleared off the line by Stratford’s Dan Summerfield.
Weymouth continued to huff and puff at the hosts’ backline but, as the rain started to come down, time began to run out.
Shephard’s effort from close range was blocked and deep into stoppage time, Weymouth were somehow denied a winner.
A corner played into the Stratford six-yard box caused a melee in the area, Zubar’s header was saved by Cooper as the ball pinged around on the goal line – not over the line according to man-in-the-middle Parsons.