WEYMOUTH manager Bobby Wilkinson paid credit to AFC Stoneham after the Purples nearly pulled off a shock win on the 3G pitch at Stoneham Lane.

The hosts, who play at Step 5 and were last season denied promotion from the Wessex League on goal difference, took the lead in the 32nd minute through Alex Welch.

Stoneham had already missed a good chance before Weymouth Under-23s goalkeeper Harry Dillon came to claim and got caught in a poor position, allowing Welch to nod home.

The Terras reached for nine substitutions at the break, with strikers Brandon Goodship and Norman Wabo the only players to stay put for the second half.

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Weymouth were quiet against opposition based three leagues beneath them and only really got a grip of the game in the latter 45.

Sub Tommy Stagg went close to a third goal in three pre-season matches, firing at the AFC Stoneham keeper from the left side of the box.

Chasing an equaliser late on, the Terras should have netted a header before an 85th-minute penalty spared their blushes.

Just as in the 3-2 win at Wimborne on Saturday, skipper Tom Bearwish was the man to step up and he scored to the keeper’s right.

Dorset Echo: Tom Bearwish scored his second penalty of pre-seasonTom Bearwish scored his second penalty of pre-season (Image: MARK PROBIN)

However, despite heavy late pressure Weymouth could not find a second goal against an impressive AFC Stoneham side.

And their performance did not go unnoticed by Wilkinson, who told Echosport: “In fairness, they played really well.

“But for us, it’s about minutes. We got Frankie Monk some more minutes, Toby (Stephens) hadn’t played yet.

Dorset Echo: Toby Stephens, right, has experience at Yeovil and TruroToby Stephens, right, has experience at Yeovil and Truro (Image: MARK PROBIN)

“I’m really pleased. We brought in Callum Small from the under-23s and played a couple of 23s goalkeepers.

“That’s the game to get minutes in, now it’s down to business and about playing a strong side against these clubs coming up in front of us now.”

Weymouth host Bournemouth Under-21s on Saturday (3pm) before visiting Poole Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

As Wilkinson touched on, the Terras will field a far stronger line-up than against the Purples.

Goalkeepers Dillon and Callum Smalley and centre-back Callum Small are all unlikely to feature prominently.

Ex-Yeovil and Truro man Stephens played 45 minutes and Scott Rees got his first minutes of pre-season after a hand injury, although fellow central midfielder Harvey Slade picked up a suspected groin strain and is out for ten days.

And on that basis, Wilkinson announced himself pleased with the time played by members of his playing squad who were light on action so far this summer.

He said: “There were some good minutes for players, extra for players that needed more and who weren’t around over the weekend.

“It was a really good night for us getting more minutes in the legs and more fitness.”

On the performance, he added: “It was a mixed bag, some good performances and some not. It’s not about the result for us at the moment, it’s about minutes. All positive.

“Callum Small done himself well, both goalkeepers did themselves well and Frankie’s done well again.

“I’m working on minutes, shape and stuff like that. We start playing some really competitive sides now but don’t take anything away from Stoneham, they played really well.”

Terras: Dillon (Smalley 46), C Brooks (Howe 46), Iseguan (Hamblin 46), Rowan (Small 46), McQueen (Cheshire 46), Rees (Bearwish 46), Adjei-Hersey (Monk 46), Slade (Stephens 46), Wabo, Goodship, Rollinson (Roberts 46). Sub: Stagg.