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Dynamic duo strike for Terras
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD 1 WEYMOUTH 3
WEYMOUTH’S play-off ambitions received a major boost at title-chasing Hemel Hempstead Town tonight thanks to their dynamic duo.
Ben Joyce and Mark Ford have been in sensational form of late and both of them were on target yet again as the Terras chalked up a fourth successive victory.
The visitors were forced to make two changes to the side that started last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Hitchin Town with Ed Palmer and Danny Clay returning from suspension and replacing Stephen Reed and Dan Smith.
Reed missed out due to a bout of tonsillitis while Smith was not risked after suffering a broken hand at the weekend.
There were also a couple of new faces on the bench where Chris Povall and Charlie Holland joined the management team of Brendon King and Matt Groves. Lewis Clarke did not travel.
Having taken 15 points from their previous six games, the visitors were clearly full of confidence but with Hemel still looking to chase down Leamington at the summit, they knew they were in for a tough battle.
The opening exchanges were extremely cagey and it was not until the 11th minute that Weymouth fashioned the first real chance with Joyce glancing a header just off target following a superb cross from Scott Walker.
Palmer then found space at the far post at a corner, only to blast the ball wide, before Hemel responded at the other end with a good break from Ryan Parsons whose deep cross was met by Walker’s fine clearing header.
The Terras were certainly working hard and a great challenge by Jamie Skinner nearly led to a chance for Ford but on this rare occasion the striker’s control let him down.
Both sides continued to trade blows but the next opening did not arrive until 10 minutes before the break when more good work from Parsons ended with a low cross that Ashley Wells did well to divert to safety.
Keeper Simon Evans then had to be at his very best to keep out a fine effort from Hemel’s Victor Osobu before the visitors snatched the lead just seconds before half-time.
Palmer was the architect but it was Joyce that applied the clinical finish with a sweet strike that left home stopper Ashley Timms with no chance.
The goal could not have come at a much better time and the Terras followed it up with a second just three minutes into the second half.
This time, Craig Duff supplied a pinpoint cross and there was Ford to head home to the delight of the travelling fans.
Hemel were now completely stunned and 10 minutes later they nearly shipped a third when Ford cut inside from the right and fired a shot just narrowly wide.
A third was clearly on the cards and it came on the hour when Timms fumbled Walker’s powerful free-kick enabling Palmer to smash the rebound into the roof of the net.
That looked like game over but just 60 seconds later the deficit was back down to two when Matt Nolan grabbed one back by scrambling the ball in off a post.
Having pulled off a stunning comeback against Bedford Town in their previous game, Hemel could smell another one but Weymouth dug in and nearly claimed a fourth on the break with 10 minutes remaining. Joyce’s exquisite touch teed up Ford but this time Timms got across to make a fine stop.
Skinner then sent another effort just wide for the visitors who then suffered a blow when Barry McConnell was forced off through injury. Groves was the man that replaced him.
That reshuffle gave Hemel another chance to increase the pressure but a great last-ditch challenge from Palmer on Alex Campana and a stunning save from Evans to deny Moussa Diarra kept them at bay.
This was another incredible effort by the Terras whose dreams of finishing in the top five could well become reality if the high level of recent performances can be maintained.
Hemel: Timms, May, Parsons, Diarra, King, Parkes, Campana, O’Leary, Osobu, Nolan, Hutton (Mpi 50). Subs not used: Pearce, Talbot, Gilbert, Beagle.
Terras: Evans, McConnell (Groves 83), Wells, Skinner, Poole, Palmer, Duff, Clay, Joyce, Ford, Walker. Subs not used: Povall, King, Holland.
Bookings: Hemel – None.
Weymouth – None Attendance: 223