WEYMOUTH 3 ST NEOTS TOWN 1
WEYMOUTH’S winning spree showed no signs of letting up on Saturday as Brendon King’s buoyant charges hit top gear in a fine second-half showing that saw them ease comfortably past early-season pacesetters St Neots.
And this latest triumph – a third successive home win – means Wey-mouth have muscled their way into the play-off places with an amazing run of nine victories from their last 12 outings in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.
The hosts were still not at their best in an even first period but, having gone behind to a Craig Calver strike after 25 minutes, skipper Scott Walker settled everybody down again with a well-taken free-kick just four minutes later before second half strikes from Mark Ford and Sam Poole made it a perfect six out of six for December.
Afterwards, boss King was particularly pleased his side were able to kill off the Saints in the latter stages.
He said: “We weren’t great in the first half – we looked lethargic after the run of games and our shape wasn’t right. But I thought we were outstanding after the break and at 2-1 were in command but I wondered whether we could finish the job off.
“Then with 10 minutes to go we got it with Sam making it 3-1. Overall it was a workmanlike, solid and disciplined performance.”
After five games without a single change in the starting line-up, King was forced to make one this time though, with an unwell Stephen Reed dropping to the bench in a straight swap with Kyle Critchell who slotted into midfield.
Other than that it was the same side that had started the last five games with Reed the only change among the substitutes.
As the action began, it was Crit-chell who very nearly made an imm-ediate impact, running in unchallenged from an eighth minute Wal-ker corner to head goalwards but the ball flew a fraction high and wide.
Two minutes later the visitors threatened from a Lewis Hilliard corner, which was met purposefully by ex-Terra Gavin Hoyte, whose header from 12 yards was well held by Simon Evans.
Moments later a mix-up between Ashley Wells and Evans from Adrian Sear’s low centre nearly let Ade Yusuff in but Wells was able to compose himself and tidy up the situation.
Mark Ford, clearly off the pace in the first half, had his first sight of goal 16 minutes in when he ran through, shrugged off the attentions of Ollie Thorne before watching his volley sail just over the top.
Disappointingly though, it was the visitors who got their noses in front, following a swift counter-attack from a home corner.
A long ball found Yusuff on the right side and he was able to cut inside Wells before attempting to shoot across goal.
Yusuff scuffed his effort though it fell nicely for Calver who slotted home inside Simon Evans’ left-hand post.
The response from the home side was instant with Ford winning a free-kick 25 yards from goal within three minutes and captain Walker showing superb composure to convert the opportunity with a top drawer, left-footed curling effort beyond Jack Giddens in the Saints’ goal.
The goal seemed to restore belief and the Terras remained on the front foot for the rest of the half with Danny Clay hitting a deflected shot just over moments later.
Craig Duff then sent over an inviting, driven cross from the right that just evaded Ben Joyce before the latter was felled for a free-kick – again central but a little closer this time.
Again Walker stepped up to the plate but the skipper went for power this time and his his rapier-like effort from 18 yards thrashed against the chest of Giddens who had no chance of holding it before it was hooked clear.
The Saints made a lively start to the second half with another slick counter ending with Yusuff nodding a Calver cross just over the bar five minutes in.
But within five minutes, it was the Terras that deservedly added a second strike through Ford, who linked up well with Duff on the right side of the box before finding space to send a shot between defenders that beat Giddens inside his right upright.
Just past the hour mark, Saints briefly threatened when Poole did well to stick out a toe to deny Calver a decent shooting chance at the back post, but from that point the Terras were in full command.
Midway through the half, substitute Smith, enjoying his first opportunity since mid-November, won and took a corner that picked out Palmer who nodded down for Joyce whose goalbound shot was well blocked.
Then, Smith, showing bundles of energy, ran into the same corner before sending a low, driven cross enticingly across the six-yard box but nobody had taken the gamble to get there in a claret shirt.
Two minutes later Joyce looked as though he would score but only succeeded in hitting the side-netting at the end of a promising run before the hosts finally sealed the points 10 minutes from time.
A pin-point free-kick on the right edge of the box to the far post saw Ed Palmer work wonders to keep the ball alive with a header back across goal that was gobbled up by Poole who leapt above Hoyte to thrash a header into the top corner.
And then, in the 90th minute, Ford worked the ball past Harry Jenkins but could only shoot tamely at the keeper when a fourth goal looked possible.
Terras: Evans, McConnell, Wells, Critchell, Poole, Palmer, Duff (Smith 64), Clay, Joyce (Groves 84) Ford, Walker. Subs not used: Reed, Clarke, Skinner.
St Neots: Giddens, Duncliffe (Spark 74), Jacob, Thorne, Gent, Hoyte, Sear (Werndly 35), Sharman (Jenkins 47), Calver, Yusuff, Hilliard.