Corne 3, 13 pen


TWO early Sam Corne goals proved the difference as Weymouth succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at promotion hopefuls Maidstone United in the Vanarama National League.

Corne headed the Stones in front inside three minutes before converting a penalty, given for Corey Panter’s shirt pull, just 10 minutes later.

Weymouth rallied and saw chances for Harry Parsons and Tom Bearwish go astray, the Terras still searching for a first point under new boss Mark Molesley.

The Terras’ gaffer remains in assessment mode early in his tenure and reached for four changes to the side that began the 1-0 loss at Eastbourne on Saturday.

READ MORE: Maidstone United 2-0 Weymouth - how it happened

Keelan O'Connell, Dan Roberts and Brandon Goodship all dropped to the bench, while Teddy Howe missed out completely with a groin issue.

In came Ben Winterburn, Joel Rollinson, Ezio Touray and Harry Jones, while Gerard Benfield kept his place in the dugout. Anthony Cheshire took the final spot in the matchday squad.

Weymouth knew three points would see them take a massive step towards safety.

However, the Stones had other ideas and took the lead inside three minutes.

Weymouth could not clear their lines and Paul Appiah’s pinpoint cross picked out skipper Corne to nod to the left of Harvey Wiles-Richards for 1-0.

Leo Hamblin responded for Weymouth with a vicious shot that had keeper Lucas Covolan scrambling, but Maidstone’s alarm was short-lived as the hosts went 2-0 up on 13 minutes.

Panter, so impressive in recent weeks, gave a silly penalty away after holding Sol Wanjau-Smith’s shirt, allowing Corne to slam into the bottom-left corner inches beyond the grasp of Wiles-Richards.

Maidstone’s level dipped for the remainder of the half as Weymouth finally settled after going two goals down.

Parsons struck wide after combining well with Rollinson to mark a spell of Weymouth pressure.

Raphe Brown needed to make a key intervention to prevent Touray a shooting chance, with Panter’s flick-on narrowly missing a teammate from the resulting corner.

Jordon Thompson also headed at Covolan before the Terras were forced into a change for the injured Winterburn as winger O’Connell came into midfield in the 40th minute.

But Maidstone continued to gift Weymouth chances as Brown’s slip allowed Bearwish into the box and Covolan was again needed to make the save.

His intervention set up Maidstone on a menacing four-on-one break, which Jones did superbly well to cut out.

More heavy pressure towards the end of the half resulted in a corner but Hamblin’s delivery was sternly headed away to invite the half-time whistle.

Maidstone’s standards slipped further in the second half, Brown covering a defensive lapse with Rollinson poised to shoot.

United then regrouped and probed threateningly around the Weymouth box, culminating in Jephte Tanga lashing wide.

Parsons replied by shooting straight at Covolan and the action died down before Maidstone’s Matt Rush sent a header high over the bar from Chi Ezennolim’s cross.

Molesley opted to bring off Charlie Rowan for Roberts with 21 minutes to go, but Maidstone still looked relatively comfortable as Ezennolim twice had a shot blocked.

Goodship was given the final 12 minutes to try and make an impact, Weymouth stalking the Stones’ box with little success, sending a cross way beyond Touray and behind for a goal-kick.

Maidstone instead hunted a third when Sam Bone’s free-kick went behind without worrying Wiles-Richards, who was then involved in a clash with Michael Adu-Poku, the substitute earning yellow after chasing a through ball too eagerly.

Heading into four added minutes, Weymouth still believed a point was possible but their final pass again lacked quality as Parsons this time ripped a cross into the gloves of Covolan.

That proved the last opening as Weymouth were shut out for the second consecutive game.

Maidstone: Covolan, Ezennolim, Fowler, Brown, Klass (Bentley 69), Corne, Wanjau-Smith (Gurung 69), Bone, Tanga, Appiah, Rush (Adu-Poku 78). Subs not used: Greenidge, Earle.

Terras: Wiles-Richards, Hamblin, Panter, Thompson, Jones, Bearwish, Rollinson (Goodship 78), Parsons, Touray, Winterburn (O’Connell 40), Rowan (Roberts 69). Subs not used: Benfield, Cheshire.

Referee: Nathan Oakes.

Attendance: 2,132 (including 31 from Weymouth).