Cue 86


WEYMOUTH slipped to a gut-wrenching late loss at relegation rivals Cheshunt as the Terras suffered a massive setback in their bid to avoid the Vanarama National League South trapdoor.

In what was a match summing up Weymouth’s season, the Terras created the better chances without taking them as Brad Ash, Tom Bearwish and Brendan Willson all went close.

Tom Blair then hit the post after Ahkeem Rose had a goal disallowed for offside, setting the stage for sub Alfie Cue to punish an error in midfield as Cheshunt sealed victory in the 86th minute.

Coupled with a 2-2 draw for Dulwich against Oxford City, the Terras are five points off safety with only seven games remaining.

READ MORE: Cheshunt 1-0 Weymouth - how it happened

Before what was a gigantic chance to make ground on the teams around them, Weymouth boss Bobby Wilkinson made three changes to the side that began the agonising 3-2 defeat to Chippenham in midweek.

Goalkeeper Zaki Oualah was omitted from the squad entirely, while Archie Procter and Keelan O'Connell dropped to the bench.

In came Willson, returning from suspension, plus midfielder Harvey Slade and new goalkeeper signing Gerard Benfield.

On the bench, Weymouth named former Galway and Memphis City midfielder Max Hemmings on the bench as their second new signing of the week.

He joined O'Connell and Procter, while Matt Buse and Ben Thomson completed Weymouth's options in the dugout.

With Weymouth 23rd and Cheshunt 21st coming into the game, a cat and mouse start signalled the gravity of the contest.

It took until the ninth minute for the first shot on goal, Ash combining with Rose before working Ambers’ keeper Adam Desbois.

Cheshunt then fired over from Nathan Carlyle’s headed clearance, their chance preceding a big moment in the game.

Weymouth won a corner when Taylor McKenzie headed behind and, although Blair’s delivery was punched away by Desbois, Terras’ captain Bearwish then sent a vicious shot at goal with Desbois making an imperative save.

At the other end, Benfield was rarely troubled and able to watch Ken Charles scuff a shot wide on 20 minutes, before Avan Jones also blasted off target following an interception.

Ambers’ new signing Jamar Loza had a shot blocked by the Weymouth defence and Ash, after beating the offside trap, was denied a corner seconds later as both sides began to up the ante.

Ash escaped the clutches of the home defence on 39 minutes only to tamely shoot at Desbois as Weymouth enjoyed the brighter moments of a quiet first half.

Neither side opted for a change at half-time and dogged defending from Carlyle prevented Charles from shooting as Cheshunt started the second period quickly.

Weymouth’s response was instant as Bearwish set Blair away on the left and, despite the shot being on, the winger squared for Ash only for Cheshunt to get back to complete an outstanding clearance.

Weymouth then asserted themselves with a gluttony of corners, Rose going close with an inswinging cross that narrowly evaded the far post.

Threatening again from a corner, the Terras created a headed chance for Willson only for the centre-back to head at Desbois.

Cheshunt made a double change amid the Weymouth pressure, hauling off Jones and Jamie Reynolds for Emmanuel Maja and Zack Newton.

Weymouth, meanwhile, took off Slade for Thomson as the Terras made an attacking switch.

Wilkinson’s move nearly paid dividends as Weymouth found the back of the net in the 70th minute, Rose bundling home to the Terras’ delight only to have his effort ruled out for offside.

Weymouth continued to press as Ash worked Desbois into a sharp save but Cheshunt gave a reminder of the game’s precarious position by heading wide of Benfield’s goal on 79 minutes.

And Cheshunt made the most crucial substitution of them all on 84 minutes as Cue came on for Fraser Alexander.

Just two minutes later, Weymouth could not clear their lines and, with Benfield also committed to clearing, Cue whistled in a shot into the bottom-right corner.

Shellshocked Weymouth could not conjure a reply as the Terras were dealt a major blow in their bid to escape the drop.

Cheshunt: Desbois, Cracknell, Pitblado, Alexander (Cue 84), McKenzie, Fernandes, Jones (Newton 61), Hobbs, Charles, Loza, Reynolds (Maja 61). Subs not used: Richards, Edwards.

Terras: Benfield, Carlyle, Howe, Willson, Sesay, Slade (Thomson 65), McBurnie, Bearwish, Blair, Rose, Ash. Subs not used: O'Connell, Buse, Procter, Hemmings.

Referee: Abigail Byrne

Attendance: 963