Whittingham 77, Donaldson 89


Ash 23

WEYMOUTH’S Vanarama National League South status hangs by a thread after Hampton & Richmond secured a 2-1 comeback victory at the Beveree.

Things looked rosy for Weymouth at half-time after Brad Ash’s predatory strike from close range.

However, a familiar implosion when possessing a 1-0 lead hurt Weymouth badly as Alfy Whittingham’s scrappy goal and a clinical finish from Ruaridh Donaldson gave the Beavers a victory that confirmed their safety.

Chasing a precious victory, Weymouth were forced into one change as second-top scorer Ahkeem Rose (ill) missed out.

READ MORE: Hampton & Richmond 2-1 Weymouth - how it happened

In came Scott Rees to bulk up the central midfield, that in turn creating a space on the bench, filled by Hari McCoy.

Harvey Slade, Xander McBurnie, Archie Procter and Harry Kyprianou were Weymouth's other options from the dugout.

Kyprianou came back to the squad after shaking off a hamstring strain, with no place in the 16 for Matt Buse.

Hampton & Richmond, unchanged, are managed by former Weymouth goalkeeper Mel Gwinnett and were looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat in his first game in charge back in January.

But the Beavers were second best to the Terras in the first half, the hosts having to weather a storm of crosses into their box in the fourth minute.

Tom Blair then produced the game’s first shot on target with a left-footed snapshot from inside the area, forcing the Beavers’ keeper Alan Julian into a sharp low stop.

Weymouth continued to pile on the pressure, skipper Tom Bearwish rattling a shot towards goal that provoked Julian into an excellent save to his right.

Dorset Echo: Tom Bearwish, right, went close in the 15th minuteTom Bearwish, right, went close in the 15th minute (Image: MARK PROBIN)

Weymouth were enjoying most of the possession but Blair seemed intent on a long-range goal as a vicious strike from distance was tipped clear by the evergreen 40-year-old Julian for a corner.

Hampton cleared the initial delivery but, crucially, Weymouth scored from the second.

Teddy Howe’s acrobatic bicycle kick skewed towards Ash who buried his 21st goal of the season from close range in the 23rd minute for 1-0.

Dorset Echo: Weymouth celebrate going 1-0 upWeymouth celebrate going 1-0 up (Image: MARK PROBIN)

Hampton responded by assuming more of possession and territory without troubling the Terras, Blair instead going close with a 30-yard corker of a half-volley that whistled just wide.

For all their positive play, Weymouth were lucky to get away with a defensive error as Gerard Benfield’s clearance could only pick out Jake Gray, whose strike at goal proved harmless.

Sam Deadfield thumped a free-kick against the wall for Hampton before a mad period in the three added minutes.

Weymouth rained in shots and Hampton responded with blocks until Max Hemmings breached the home defence to work Julian into another decent save.

Weymouth then broke and came within inches of making it 2-0 when Ash slid in and watched in agony as the ball evaded his studs at the back post.

Weymouth began a crunch second half on the defensive as Whittingham was denied by Brendan Willson’s brave block and Gray then lifted the rebound over.

In a scrappy second period, Bearwish was booked for kicking the ball away in a bid to waste time, before Rees was hauled off for McBurnie to freshen up the midfield.

The change gave Weymouth extra impetus to chase a second goal, and it nearly worked.

Blair surged forward and just missed Keelan O’Connell with the final pass but the duo connected a minute later when the latter blasted wide on the half-volley from Blair’s throw.

Weymouth were then made to ponder missed chances again as Whittingham’s cross-shot from the left wriggled its way into the net via Willson for 1-1.

With the Beavers having scored out of nothing, the hosts sensed a second and Weymouth suddenly looked leggy.

Sesay and Willson had to make desperate blocks before the inevitable happened and Weymouth conceded again.

Adrian Clifton combined to lethal effect with Donaldson and the defender drilled a lovely finish into the bottom-left corner to leave Weymouth’s Step 2 status in mortal danger.

Hampton & Richmond: Julian, Donaldson, Inman, Fernandez, Whittingham (Barzey 90+6), Gray, Wishart, Deadfield (Comley 83), Dunne, Clifton (Rowe 90+2), Thomas. Subs not used: Whyte, Johnson.

Terras: Benfield, Howe, Carlyle, Sesay, Bearwish, Ash, Rees (McBurnie 70), O'Connell, Hemmings, Blair, Willson. Subs not used: Slade, Kyprianou, McCoy, Procter.

Referee: Steven Hughes.

Attendance: 732