ST NEOTS TOWN 2 WEYMOUTH 0
IT was a case of nearly but not quite for Weymouth, as they suffered their first defeat of the season at St Neots Town.
An early strike from Arthur Lee followed up by a well-placed finish from the industrious Jay Davies proved enough for the Saints to halt the visitors’ two-game winning streak in its tracks, and leave them pondering what went wrong.
Top of the pile before kick off, player-manager Jason Matthews made just one change to the XI that started in the 4-2 win over Frome on Tuesday.
Ed Palmer slotted back into the heart of the Weymouth back four, replacing Sam Poole, who dropped to the bench.
After serving his two-game suspension, striker Tim Sills was also named as a substitute and made his first league appearance, after he replaced Adam Kelly just short of the hour mark.
The hosts, skippered by former Weymouth man Gavin Hoyte, had the better of the opening exchanges, and after just six minutes, the Terras were rocked as they fell behind.
Some slick interplay between Matt Nolan and Nathan Frater set up a well-worked move which the visitors had no answer for, allowing Lee to finish well and make it 1-0.
Palmer then found his way into referee Rob Smith’s book for a foul on Frater, who caused Matthews’ men trouble throughout the opening 20 minutes.
And from the resulting free-kick, former Wycombe Wanderers man Matt Spring forced a sharp save from the Weymouth stopper.
The Terras’ boss was then called upon once again as he parried away a shot from the lively Frater, and frontman Stewart Yetton was deep enough in his own half to remove the danger.
Jay Davies then chanced his arm as he hit the ball inches wide of the Weymouth goal and Frater struck another effort at Matthews, but as the half wore on Weymouth began to find their feet and quietened down the hosts in the final ten minutes before the break.
Retaining the ball well with Ashley Wells and Adam Kelly linking up on the right, the latter then won a corner, from which the Terras tried to orchestrate another planned move from the training ground that proved fruitful against Hungerford Town on the opening day.
But the plan came to no avail as the Matthews’ troops trudged off behind at the interval for the first time in the league this term.
After half time the visitors started brightly.
Having won a free-kick on left hand side, Chris Shephard’s delivery found the head of Shane Krac, who forced a smart save from Saints’ keeper Nathan Abbey at his near post, a chance which some of the Weymouth fans thought was the leveller.
And following a foul from Ben Ford which earned him a caution, Krac was then at the forefront of the Terras’ response again, as his shot was well blocked just short of the hour mark.
Just as the Weymouth thought they were back in control, they were given a stern warning when Davies hit a shot for the home side, which ricocheted off the post.
Ten minutes later, after bagging his first league goal for the club in midweek, a chance fell to Jamie Laird, who could not send his effort on target.
It was then time for the Terras to throw caution to the wind with the introduction of Sills and Mark Ford for Kelly and Krac, and the away side had an appeal for a handball inside the Saints’ area turned down by the referee.
And seconds later, having had a sighter earlier in the half, Davies found the net to double the St Neots advantage, and leave the Terras with a mountain to climb in the final quarter of an hour.
George Rigg then hit a tame effort that was comfortably saved by Abbey, and Saints’ replacement Lorenzo Ferarri skewed his shot high and wide.
Chris McPhee then tried to conjure some magic in the dying moments with a strike from long range and Sills headed over the bar.
But although the effort was there, it was not to be for Matthews men, as in their opening game on the road this season, they suffered their first loss of the campaign.
St Neots: N Abbey, Powell, Lee, Bickerstaff (Hilliard 74), R Frater, Hoyte, Davies (Ferrari 89), Spring, Nolan, N Frater (Spence 65), B Ford Subs not used: Ivy-Ward, Greygoose
Terras: Matthews, Wells, Wannell, Krac (M Ford 74), Laird, Palmer, McPhee, Kelly (Sills 58), Yetton, Rigg, Shephard Subs not used: Colwell, Copp, Poole
Bookings: St Neots – B Ford (foul, 59) Terras – Palmer (12, foul) Krac (foul, 70)
Referee: Rob Smith