TERRAS: Matthews is saviour as Puritans held

Dorset Echo: FINE SAVE: Jason Matthews FINE SAVE: Jason Matthews

BANBURY UNITED 0 WEYMOUTH 0

CARETAKER-MANAGER Jason Matthews marked his first game in charge of Weymouth with a deserved point in Saturday’s stalemate at Banbury United.

And it was Matthews – who took over from the outgoing Brendon King and Matt Groves in midweek – who was instrumental in his side keeping a clean sheet with an outstanding second-half save, one of the few highlights in a dour affair at Spencer Stadium.

The Terras adopted a 4-5-1 formation with Mark Ford replacing Groves.

The young striker was asked to do a job on the left wing while Scott Walker began at left back with Dave Allen occupying the holding role in midfield.

There was also a change on the bench where Carl McClements joined Matt Cafer, Nathan Walker, Barry McConnell and Danny Clay.

The game only came to life in the closing stages when both sides had chances to win it.

Both teams struggled to come to terms with the blustery con-ditions on a drying surface and referee Paul Evans had his hands full keeping control, especially in a bad tempered first half.

The experienced Matthews was soon called into action to deal with a speculative effort from Kyal McNulty as the Puritans began brightly following their disappointing midweek defeat at Arlesey Town.

Central defenders Sam Poole and Michael Walker had their work cut out dealing with the trickery of Kynan Isaac and Adeyinka Talabi early on, and it took a brave block from Scott Walker to keep out a close-range drive from Leon Simpson after Weymouth failed to deal with Aaron Morgan’s testing corner.

Morgan went close from a quick break when he chipped the advancing Matthews but the ball bounced wide of the far upright.

In between, Stewart Yetton missed a good opportunity when he was put clear by Ben Joyce, lifting the ball over keeper Dean Snedker but on to the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Weymouth gradually got into the contest with Luke Winsper at the heart of their best moments.

But Matthews was still the busier of the two keepers and McNulty tested him with another effort before the break.

Yetton found little joy up front – having to feed off limited openings – but he saw a goal-bound effort on the hour deflected for a corner.

From it, Scott Walker’s flag-kick was met by Allen but his header was brilliantly palmed on to the underside of the bar by Snedker.

That produced the spell of the game from the visitors as they finally asked questions of the home defence.

Luke Burbidge began to find some joy on the right and Snedker did well to deal with a couple of his teasing crosses as Weymouth sensed all three points.

Joyce had a close-range effort blocked for another corner, after more good work from Burbidge, and Poole saw another header from Scott Walker’s corner well saved by on-loan Northampton Town keeper Snedker.

United posed little threat in the second half with Poole and Michael Walker dominating at the back but Talabi shot straight at Matthews from close range after Weymouth failed to deal with a teasing Scott Bridges corner.

There was a flurry of chances at both ends in the closing stages.

Isaac and Aaron Morgan combined well and Talabi’s diving header was destined for the top corner but Matthews superbly tipped it over.

Yetton went close moments later after good approach play from Burbidge and Joyce but his shot on the turn was comfortably saved by Snedker.

Bridges should have done better when he beat the offside trap to collect Marvin Martin’s search-ing pass but he shot straight at Matthews.

The chances kept coming and Yetton fired straight at Snedker from another good position while Scott Walker’s 30 yard free-kick flew past Snedker’s post in the final minute of normal time.

Banbury: Snedker, Cray, Mbamarah, Simpson, Martin, Bridges, Skendi, McNulty, Morgan (Lawless 86), Isaac, Talabi. Subs not used: Sharpe, Pinto, Dias.

Terras: Matthews, Wells, M Walker, Poole, S Walker, Burbidge, Winsper, Allen, Ford, Joyce, Yetton. Subs not used: Clay, Cafer, McConnell, Walker, McClements.

Bookings - Banbury: Cray (68), Martin (41), Simpson (45), Isaac (72), Bridges (88).

Weymouth: S Walker (40) Attendance: 325

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