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Tepid Terras fall short
WEYMOUTH 1 SHORTWOOD UTD 2
THE Terras only had themselves to blame after crashing out of the FA Trophy in an appalling manner at the hands of lower-league Shortwood United.
Mark Ford put the hosts in command in the first half but after the break they got caught going through the motions as goals by Luke Gullick and Tim Haddock turned the tables in the last 26 minutes.
The Evo-Stik Division One South & West visitors were justifiably ecstatic at the final whistle but one could only sympathise with Brendon King, who had clearly been let down on the day by his players’ lack of commitment.
The Terras’ boss made just one change to the line-up that began the 3-2 win over Hitchin last time out, with Lewis Clarke coming in for Barry McConnell, who may have started had it not been for car trouble on the way to the game.
The late arrival had to be content with a place on the bench instead where he joined Jamie Perry, Scott Dixon, Matt Groves and the returning Danny Clay.
Unbeaten in their last three on home soil, Weymouth were clearly confident ahead of kick-off but with Shortwood having won their last two on the road, it promised to be an intriguing tie.
The Terras pinned the visitors in their own half in the early exchanges but they were unable to create any clear chances as the blustery conditions thwarted both sides from finding any rhythm.
In fact, the first meaningful effort on goal did not arrive until the 28th minute when Craig Duff broke into the box and drove a shot just wide of the far post.
Apart from that it was pretty turgid stuff until Weymouth suddenly opened the scoring just seven minutes before the break.
Ben Joyce played a big role in the goal by forcing the ball through but after that it was all about the predatory instincts of Ford, who showed great composure to fire home at the second attempt following a good block from keeper Tom King.
Despite plenty of endeavour, Short-wood had offered very little and by the interval it was hard to see how they would find a way back into it if the same pattern continued in the second half.
Jake Parrott fired a shot harmlessly wide on 49 minutes as the Gloucester-shire outfit attempted to show a little more ambition, but the Terras still looked comfortable and nearly grab-bed a second when Ford plucked the ball out of the air and flashed an effort across the face of goal on the hour.
The visitors continued to ask more questions though and four minutes later their endeavour was rewarded when Parrott sent over a fine cross to the far post for Gullick to turn home with a stooping header.
The Terras had been completely caught out and King was not happy about it as he immediately ordered his men to raise the tempo.
In response, Ford and Ed Palmer both sent efforts over the top but with Dan Smith, Scott Walker and Stephen Reed all having poor afternoons, the hosts were lacking inspiration.
As a consequence, Shortwood clearly felt a shock victory was well within their reach and on 84 min- utes they nearly wrapped it up when Gullick broke free of the home defence, only to see his shot rebound agonisingly off a post.
Suddenly the Terras were hanging on and just four minutes later the winner finally arrived when James Coates’ beautiful cross from the right was turned in by the head of Haddock at the far post.
The hosts looked stunned but it was exactly what they deserved for such a flat display that lacked application throughout.
Terras: Evans, Clarke (McConnell 73), Critchell, Reed, Poole, Palmer, Smith, Duff, Joyce, Ford, Walker. Subs not used: Perry, Dixon, Clay, Groves.
Shortwood: King, Coates, Axton, Pritchett, Thomas, Haddock, Tustain, Parrott, Gullick, Baldwin (Brown 74), Bennett (Langworthy 59). Subs not used: Martin, Rutter, Bevan.