TERRAS: Weymouth suffer cruel fate

Dorset Echo: ON TARGET: Scott Walker ON TARGET: Scott Walker


FOOTBALL can be a cruel game sometimes and tonight the Terras were on the wrong end of a result that did not reflect their performance.

Travelling 165 miles to Hert-fordshire on a Monday night, a little over 48 hours after their previous outing, was always going to be a daunting task for Weymouth but they put up a great fight and certainly did not deserve to come home empty-handed.

Following the abject display at home to St Albans at the weekend, Weymouth boss Brendon King made four changes to his starting XI in a desperate bid to muster a response.

Michael Walker replaced his brother Nathan at the back while Luke Winsper, Dave Allen and Matt Groves came in for Barry McConnell, Danny Clay and Mark Ford.

Having won their last six in all competitions, Hitchin were clearly full of confidence heading into kick-off and they duly created the first opening on two minutes when skipper for the night, Jason Matthews, was forced to turn Callum Donnelly’s effort out for a corner.

Sam Poole then headed wide at the other end from Scott Walker’s excellent free-kick before the deadlock was broken on 12 minutes.

Kim Forsythe sent Josh Bicker-staff down the wing and his cross was converted by Donnelly from the edge of box.

The travelling fans quickly started fearing the worst but just four minutes later their side were back level.

Allen was fouled 30 yards out from goal and Scott Walker did the rest by curling the ball around a two-man wall and beyond the desperate dive of Tahj Bell.

That quick reply was very much deserved but for the next 20 minutes, a midfield battle ensued with both sides failing to create any more chances until the closing stages of the half.

Forsythe nodded well wide from Rogan McGeorge’s corner before a free-flowing attack from the Terras almost saw them go ahead on 43 minutes.

Ashley Wells started the move and when Stewart Yetton crossed following good combination play with Luke Burbidge, Matt Groves rose well to head narrowly wide under pressure.

The contest was very much turning into a war of attrition and the Terras were responding well after facing fierce criticism over the past nine days, much of it warranted.

Playing up the slope in the second half was always going to be an even bigger test for the visitors, particularly with Matthews conveying serious concerns about the lighting at the ground, but King’s men continued to more than hold their own.

Ben Joyce, Burbidge and Poole all went close for the Terras before the breakthrough came on 55 minutes after Bickerstaff was cautioned for a foul on Burbidge.

Scott Walker supplied the cross from the resulting free-kick and there was Michael Walker to head home.

The visitors were now looking strong but just four minutes later they got undone by another set piece at the other end.

Michael Noone’s corner beat two defenders at the near post allowing ex-Terra Daniel Webb to head home and lift Hitchin once more.

Matthews then dived bravely at Simon Martin’s feet just a minute later before Burbidge almost took advantage of a mix up between Bell and Matt Lench at the other end.

The game was on a knife edge and, after Bell had produced a stunning save to deny substitute Mark Ford, Hitchin broke away just seconds later and grabbed what turned out to be the winner.

Noone and Sam Barker combined to put in Kim Forsythe and his shot beat Matthews with the aid of a deflection.

After that the Terras threw everything forward to try and salvage a point but the home side held on, leaving the visitors chewing over a seventh defeat in their last 10 league games.

Hitchin: Bell, Lench, Bickerstaff, Barker, Webb, Pearson, McGeorge (Wharton 88), Donnelly (King 79), Martin (Dixon 70), Forsyth, Noone. Subs not used: Jones, Gregson.

Terras: Matthews, Burbidge (N Walker 85), Wells, Winsper, M Walker, Poole, Groves (Ford 75), Allen, Yetton, Joyce, S Walker. Subs not used: McConnell, Clay, Cafer.

Bookings – Hitchin: Bickerstaff (foul 53)

Terras: Poole (foul 83)

Referee: John Panconi

Attendance: 250


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