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HOCKEY: Weymouth hold off students
5:00am Saturday 22nd February 2014 in Sport
WEYMOUTH 2 SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY 1
CHRIS Fry and Ben Skidmore were both on target as Weymouth limped to a 2-1 victory over strugglers Southampton University.
The students went into this Hampshire Two game having claimed just a single point all season, so anything less than a victory would have been a disaster for the Seasiders.
In the end, it turned out to be a game of two halves, with Wey-mouth playing some of their best hockey of the season in the first half before barely holding on in the second.
Aaron Wilkinson got his first cap for the first XI and impressed with his energy and speed in attack, linking well with his new team-mates.
Early chances went begging for the home side but forward Fry soon got his name on the score-sheet after some sharp link-up play with Joe Foot, Luke Drewitt and Ben Skidmore.
In-form striker Skidmore then doubled the lead with a simple finish after Fry calmly and skilfully drew the Southampton keeper at the left post to release Skidmore all alone at the right.
The one-sidedness of the first half was clear by the fact that Weymouth goalkeeper David Civil did not touch the ball once.
Although Civil’s involvement was also limited in the second half, the pressure on the Wey-mouth defence was greater.
At the restart, Weymouth made life difficult for themselves, as they were too eager to pursue a third goal.
Their aggressive play lacked control and they repeatedly exposed themselves to counter-attacks by the students.
Southampton eventually got on the scoresheet as an overload allowed their centre-back to carry the ball into the circle and sneak a shot past Civil.
The visitors then threatened to score an equaliser when their centre-forward was played into space on the halfway line.
Weymouth were caught pressing high and the player would have gone on to challenge Civil in goal if it had not been for a strong intervention from sweeper Michael Westlake.
Southampton felt Westlake should have been dismissed for his part in the collision but the officials waved away their appeals and their resulting free hit ultimately led to nowhere.
For the second match in a row, the weather also played a part when play was briefly suspended towards the end of the second half, again due to a hailstorm.
Weymouth recovered some control when the game resumed but they were certainly relieved to hear the final whistle and grateful for the three points.
Their fixture today, away at fourth-place Basingstoke Sec-onds (1.30pm), will be a harder match on paper but credit has to go to Southampton University for their battling performance.
Weymouth skipper Simon Harvey praised his two central defenders, Westlake and Matthew Underhill, for the discipline they showed throughout the contest.
The two shut out numerous attacks and kept Civil largely untroubled between the posts.
Green Cards: Ashley Jones
Man of the Match: Matthew Underhill
Hampshire Two: Bournemouth III 5 Winchester III 2, Chichester III 8 Basingstoke II 0, Portsmouth & S 1 Southampton II 0, Tadley 3 Havant IV 4, University of Portsmouth 8 New Milton 1, Weymouth 2 Soton University III 1.
Today: Basingstoke II v Weymouth, Havant IV v Bournemouth III, New Milton v Chichester III, Southampton II v University of Portsmouth, Southampton University III v Tadley, Winchester III v Portsmouth & Southsea.