FROME TOWN 3
Evans 65, Gerring 82og, Matthews 88
FROME Town proved the party poopers in more ways than one on another afternoon to forget for the Terras at the Bob Lucas Stadium yesterday.
With chairman Nigel Biddlecombe having signed the ownership of Weymouth FC over to a community Trust before kick-off, the local derby was supposed to be a momentous occasion for the club but joy quickly turned to despair.
Second-half strikes from Dean Evans and Lloyd Matthews, and an own goal from Ben Gerring did the damage on the pitch while ugly clashes between rival fans off it turned the whole event into a farce.
Having grabbed a hard-earned point at St Albans on Saturday, Terras’ boss Brendon King freshened up his starting XI with Rhys Baggridge and Mark Ford coming in for Alex Jeannin and Matt Groves, who both dropped to the bench.
Top scorer Warren Byerley missed out again due to injury while Alex Hards was once again preferred to Tom Manley between the posts – a decision that would definitely now be reversed with the benefit of hindsight.
There was also a familiar face in the Frome line-up in the form of Forest Green Rovers loanee Chris Allen, who made 19 appearances for the Terras back in 2009-10.
The Robins entered the game unbeaten in their last four while Weymouth were winless in their last six but with both sides having drawn their previous two, it was no surprise to see a very even start on a heavy pitch.
Matt Smith’s looping cross into the six-yard box saw Hards grab the ball at the second attempt while under pressure before Jamie Beasley showed quick feet at the other end, only to blaze high and wide from distance.
The blustery conditions was making life tough for both sides but on 10 minutes the Robins threatened again when a throw-in from the left was flicked into the path of Luke Ballinger, who screwed his shot wide from 15 yards when he really should have done better.
Not a lot of football was being played but Town were certainly on top territorially with Allen’s dangerous corner causing another nervous moment for Hards just three minutes later.
The Gosport Borough loanee came for the cross and got nowhere near it but thankfully for the Terras the ball was cleared before a Frome player could take advantage.
The game’s first flashpoint then came on 28 minutes when Ashley Wells went in for a full-blooded challenge with Smith in the middle of the pitch.
The Weymouth right-back got the ball but received a booking for the nature of his tackle even though it appeared the visiting midfielder had stamped on him.
King was particularly annoyed by that decision but it did put an extra spring in his side’s step and on 35 minutes they nearly took the lead when Stephen Reed let fly from 35 yards with a stunning strike that curled just wide of the left-hand post with keeper Darren Chitty beaten all ends up.
The Terras went on to finish the half the better side but they were unable to fashion any more meaningful attempts as the game ambled towards the break.
As a spectacle, it was pretty dour stuff and things failed to pick up at the start of the second period despite Weymouth’s continued endeavour.
Frome then began to show some life again around the hour mark with Evans volleying straight at Hards and then putting a rebound past a post from close range after the Weymouth stopper had spilt a fierce free-kick from Allen.
That was a fortunate escape for the Terras but on 65 minutes it was third time lucky for the Frome skipper when he raced on to a ball in the right channel and lofted a glorious lob over Hards, who, not for the first time, was caught in no man’s land.
King’s instant response was to send on Groves for Wells in a bid to give Ford some much-needed support up front but the hosts’ frustration continued with referee Chris Wade turning down vociferous appeals for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike Smith’s outstretched arm in the box at a corner.
It looked like it was going to be one of those days for the Terras and on 82 minutes they suffered another major setback when Gerring turned Alex Ladham’s corner into his own net past the beleaguered Hards.
The hosts were now down and out, and in the 88th minute their misery was complete when a breakdown in communication between Alex Jeannin and Hards, who had made another mad dash off his line, enabled substitute Matthews to slot home a third.
After encouraging draws against Chesham United and St Albans City, this display was a huge step back for Weymouth, who did not register a single attempt on target all game.
The Terras’ frustration was all too evident particularly after the final whistle when coach Micky Greeno was involved in an angry spat with a small section of home supporters.
It was another unsavoury scene that a club desperately looking to rebuild its name within the community could really do without.
Terras: Hards, Wells (Groves 68), Dixon (Jeannin 61), Napper, Gerring, Baggridge, Duff, Tribe, Beasley, Ford, Reed. Subs not used: Manley, King, Holland.
Frome: Chitty, Brigham, Cooper, Flockton, Bennett, Evans (Ladham 74), Smith, Allen, Evans (Matthews 79), Perott, Ballinger (Ledgister 84). Subs not used: Reaney, Quelch.