SECOND season syndrome is a common affliction for some clubs and Weymouth have certainly been hit by the ailment this campaign.

David Oldfield’s Terras were relegated from the National League last night thanks to a 6-1 hammering by Wrexham.

It comes following a 2020/21 season in which Weymouth battled Covid-19, part-time status and much more to stay up on merit.

However, the Terras’ second season in the Vanarama National League has been full of struggles, a manager change and underperforming players.

Without full-time status and a healthy player budget, Weymouth were always having to punch above their weight.

READ MORE: Weymouth manager David Oldfield looks to war in Ukraine for perspective on relegation woe

Yet, as with boxing, lightweights would get knocked out by heavyweights – and so it has proved this season.

Weymouth have spent within their means at all times and have been active behind the scenes in attempting to attract greater financial backing.

This would have helped enable Oldfield to add more quality and experience to his squad – but more on that later.

Right now, and for much of this season, there has been a complex and political tug-of-war over club shares playing out in the background and sometimes publicly.

Weymouth’s board and the club trust continue to negotiate terms that would attract investment into the club without handing control over to one party – a scenario that has had nightmarish consequences for the Terras in the recent past.

Meanwhile, new partners have been found in the form of new sponsors for both home and away kits, while extra commercial deals have been struck by the club’s newest director, Mark Palmer.

Through all of their financial efforts, Weymouth would never have been able to level the playing field compared to the giant budgets of Stockport, Wrexham and Notts County.

But added revenue would at least have given previous boss Brian Stock and his successor Oldfield a chance to strengthen a squad that is more than capable of performing on its day.

Dorset Echo: Brian Stock was sacked in January after a run of seven straight league losses Picture: MARK PROBINBrian Stock was sacked in January after a run of seven straight league losses Picture: MARK PROBIN

Wholesale changes were not needed, but Weymouth were probably a goalscorer and a sprinkling of experience away from staying in the division.

Stock chased prolific striker Andy Dallas last summer, after his 12 goals in a hugely successful loan spell with the Terras in the previous season.

Weymouth were victims of their own success, though. Parent club Cambridge United handed Dallas a new contract after seeing his talent unfold at the Bob Lucas.

READ MORE: Weymouth 1-6 Wrexham - how it happened

Their promotion to League One meant Dallas would likely not have played regular football and so the contract was a shrewd move to attract a transfer fee from another club.

Solihull gleefully got their man - despite Dallas entertaining thoughts of a Weymouth stay.

Nearing the end of this season, Dallas could well finish with 20+ goals for the campaign with his new club.

Dorset Echo: Andy Dallas, left, scored 12 goals for Weymouth last season Picture: MARK PROBINAndy Dallas, left, scored 12 goals for Weymouth last season Picture: MARK PROBIN

Weymouth would have had to break the bank to sign him, so instead they opted for Brandon Goodship.

In his previous stint at the Bob Lucas Stadium, the goal machine had netted 77 times before moving to then League One side Southend.

However, he only scored six times in 60 appearances with the Shrimpers and a double relegation appeared to jolt his once unshakeable confidence in front of goal.

That, combined with Stock’s tendency to field him out wide, has contributed to fewer than 10 goal involvements this season.

There is no suggestion that Goodship is solely to blame for Weymouth’s lack of goals this season. 

Overall, there has been a shortage of goals, although top scorer and skipper Josh McQuoid has done his best to alleviate that problem despite playing much of the season in central midfield.

Dorset Echo: Josh McQuoid, right, is Weymouth's top scorer this season Picture: MARK PROBINJosh McQuoid, right, is Weymouth's top scorer this season Picture: MARK PROBIN

Goals win you games and Weymouth plainly haven’t done enough scoring or winning this season.

In a bid to resolve the problem, new strikers have been added to the ranks - without success.

Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Manasse Mampala, Jordan Greenidge, Dan Smith and Matt Buse have made a combined 34 appearances without scoring.

Of those, Smith was the only one to make an assist – just a solitary assist, at that.

An experienced National League player, particularly a defender, would have helped Weymouth no end this season, too.

Weymouth have lost or dropped points from winning positions against Stockport, Dagenham twice, Yeovil, Bromley and Wealdstone.

Eastleigh, Aldershot and Torquay have also turned draws into wins against the Terras – often late in games.

Would an experienced defender have helped to nurse a jittery and vulnerable defence through those high-pressure moments? You would have to say yes.

Then there is the manager change.

Most clubs would hope that by sacking a manager, in this case Brian Stock, and employing a successor may bring results quickly.

This so-called ‘new manager bounce’ did not happen for Weymouth.

Dorset Echo: David Oldfield has taken just nine points from 19 league games Picture: Picture: MARK PROBINDavid Oldfield has taken just nine points from 19 league games Picture: Picture: MARK PROBIN

While Oldfield steadied the ship after the seven straight losses that put paid to Stock, it took him six games to earn his first victory.

Fast forward to the present day and the 1-0 win over Eastleigh remains his only victory from 19 games – a staggering statistic.

One crumb of comfort for Weymouth is that Oldfield has more than two years left to run on his deal.

In signing him to the club, his previous success with Oxford City in the National League South must surely have been an attraction.

The question is whether Oldfield can replicate at Weymouth what he achieved at City.

Several of Weymouth’s players are contracted for next season (more on that in a future article) and there will be hopes for a swift return to the National League.

If and when they do return, Weymouth’s structure will need to be bolstered by the lessons learnt from this relegation campaign.

Did the club go up too soon thanks to that historic double promotion? 

Speak to senior members of the club’s board and you will find mixed opinions on that one.

One thing for sure is that Weymouth have had a serious case of second season syndrome.

They will hope to be non-league’s answer to West Brom, Fulham or Norwich in following the up, down, up route.

Expect the club to be in stronger shape if promotion does materialise, but the acid test is how soon they can regroup, rebuild and return to the fifth division of English football.