CAMBRIDGE UTD 1 Challinor 11
DESPITE a battling performance that culminated in a frenetic ending at the Trade Recruitment Centre, Weymouth were unable to extend their unbeaten run.
Jon Challinor’s goal after only 11 minutes was enough to condemn the Terras to their first defeat in five Blue Square Premier League games.
John Hollins brought Scott Doe, who returned after suspension, in to replace Adam Bygrave while Pierre Joseph-Dubois started in place of Ryan Williams, who along with Bygrave was relegated to the substitutes’ bench.
Within three minutes of the start Stuart Beavon saw a shot easily cleared. However, it was the home side who were making most of the early running with Mark Beesley guilty of wasting three chances in a five-minute spell.
And the pressure told when, in the 11th minute, Paul Carden’s throw was flicked on by Lee McEvilly into the path of Robbie Willmott, who was able to find the room to set up Challinor 25 yards out.
The former Exeter man’s shot did not seem to pose an immediate threat, but the way to goal cleared before him and the unsighted Weymouth keeper Richard Barnard failed to react until the ball was in the net.
The Terras recovered well from the set back with ex-Cambridge man Stephen Reed – the victim of some harsh treatment from the home players and fans throughout – fired a shot narrowly wide from 35 yards.
Beavon’s free-kick was saved by ex-Terra Danny Potter, and the same player headed a Scott Doe set-piece over the bar before Weymouth put together the best move of the first half.
Reed, Sam Cutler, Chris McPhee and Joseph-Dubois combined to get the ball to Anton Robinson, however, the Terras’ skipper snatched at his shot which ended up wide of the target.
For Cambridge, Willmott caused problems with his speed and movement, but the Terras’ defence refused to allow the home side much in the way of chances and when Beesley did get a shot in Barnard was able to save, although Willmott will have been disappointed after he worked hard to get past Doe and latch on to Beesley’s long through ball only to fire high over the bar.
The visitors came out firing on all cylinders after the break and Cam-bridge had a let off in the first minute when Beavon was found by Joseph-Dubois only for Phil Bolland to deflect his shot inches wide of the upright.
Cutler, Reed and Beavon – again – then saw efforts cleared by the overworked U’s defence.
Weymouth breathed a sigh of relief, in the 64th minute, when Wayne Hatswell headed a Dan Gleeson cross past Barnard, only for referee Simon Long to rule the goal out for a push on the Terras’ keeper.
Michael Malcolm saw a shot deflected for a corner while Potter saved from Joseph-Dubois before the Terras were grateful to Doe who produced a timely challenge to deny Hatswell at the other end.
The home side were reduced to 10-men in the 87th minute when Doe robbed McEvilly on the edge of the Terras’ area and the striker lunged at Reed in an attempt to regain possession, the referee deemed the challenge to be dangerous and produced a red card for the Cambridge man.
This signalled the start of a frenetic end to the match as the Terras pushed forward in search of the equaliser.
Joseph-Dubois fired over and Malcolm saw his header from a Williams’ corner rebound off the crossbar.
Gleeson cleared William’s effort off the goal-line and Potter did well to tip efforts from Malcolm and McPhee over the top.
Sadly – despite their efforts – Weymouth could not find an equaliser as the home side hung on to take full points much to the relief of the vast majority of a near 4,000 crowd.