Ajayi 42


Goodship 25 pen, Stagg 78

WEYMOUTH moved up to joint-fifth in the early Vanarama National League South table, beating Hemel Hempstead Town 2-1 at Vauxhall Road.

This was a superb result on the road for the Terras against a side who have already beaten Yeovil at home this season.

They were sent on their way to victory when Brandon Goodship converted a penalty, although Kyle Ajayi’s header levelled matters for the Tudors.

It was left to Tommy Stagg, in his first appearance since dislocating a shoulder in July, to notch his first competitive Weymouth goal with a stunning finish worthy of winning any game.

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Weymouth’s win went some way to exorcising the demons of last season’s trip to Hemel, losing 2-1 after conceding two goals in the final nine minutes.

Terras’ manager Bobby Wilkinson made only one change, bringing in Keelan O’Connell for Calvin Brooks, accommodated by switching David Sesay to a more familiar full-back role.

Stagg was fit enough for the bench, Teddy Howe also returning to the dugout with the retained Scott Rees, Frankie Monk and Norman Wabo. Nahum Melvin-Lambert was the only other absentee.

Weymouth began on the front foot with Joel Rollinson testing Tudors’ keeper Craig King in the fourth minute.

The visitors were then indebted to keeper Gerard Benfield for the first of many excellent saves in the first half, pushing clear from George Williams – scorer of the two late goals against Weymouth last season.

Benfield was on hand to deny Tyrese Briscoe before the attacker was withdrawn through injury on 19 minutes, Reece Grant his replacement.

While Hemel adjusted, Weymouth struck.

The Terras won a penalty as Dan Roberts’ smart footwork drew a foul and his strike partner Goodship, recently handed penalty responsibilities, stepped up to beat King from the spot.

Dorset Echo: Brandon Goodship, right, put Weymouth 1-0 up from the spotBrandon Goodship, right, put Weymouth 1-0 up from the spot (Image: MARK PROBIN)

Hemel looked to retaliate and it was once again Williams, breaking from midfield, who worked Benfield into another astute save on 32 minutes.

However, the Weymouth gloveman’s next stop was almost beyond belief as he somehow flung himself to keep out what had appeared to be a tap-in for Joe Iaciofano.

Hemel pulled themselves level a matter of seconds later, though, as Ajayi peeled off his marker at the back post and nodded past Benfield.

In four added minutes, Weymouth enjoyed the last chance of the half when a backpass to King was punished with an indirect free-kick, Goodship then blasting against Williams.

No changes for either team followed at the break but Hemel engineered the first opening when Bilal Sayoud shot wide after good work from Grant.

Roberts fizzed an effort at King before Wilkinson made a double switch, sacrificing Goodship and Sesay for Howe and Stagg.

Their third change followed with 22 minutes to play, O’Connell removed for midfielder Rees.

Hemel committed numbers forward in the final 15 minutes and Weymouth successfully defended a free-kick before taking the lead for a second time.

Stagg’s goal was all of his own quality, picking up possession 20 yards out and lashing home into the far-right corner with a ruthless left-footed finish just 18 minutes after coming on.

Weymouth were then forced into a major reshuffle when, having made all of their subs, Roberts went off with an ankle injury.

Wilkinson pushed Stagg and Rollinson into wing-back roles in a bid to match up to Hemel’s threat from wide areas.

In six minutes of added time, Weymouth restricted Hemel and did not have a major chance to defend as the Terras deployed clever game management to lock up all three points.

Weymouth next tackle fourth-placed Chelmsford on Saturday (3pm).

Hemel: King, McKenzie, J Williams, Ajayi, G Williams (Hill 82), Iaciofano, Sayoud, Re, Smith, Briscoe (Grant 19), Judd (Corrigan 65). Subs not used: Powell, Taylor.

Terras: Benfield, Sesay (Howe 61), Cheshire, Rowan, Hamblin, O’Connell (Rees 68), McQuoid, Bearwish, Rollinson, Goodship (Stagg 61), Roberts. Subs not used: Wabo, Monk.

Referee: Darren Rogers.