MATCH REPORT: Weston-super-Mare secure National League safety despite 3-0 humbling from St Albans City

PUBLISHED: 16:55 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 17 April 2017

Clarence Park this afternoon (Monday).

Clarence Park this afternoon (Monday).

Archant

Weston-super-Mare will play National League South football again next season, despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at St Albans City today (Monday).

It was a scrappy opening with both teams attempting to get down and play. But a series of mis-timed tackles meant the game struggled to flow early on.

Neither of the goalkeepers were really tested and it had an end-of-season feel to it, with both sides struggling to enjoy a sustained period of pressure.

But it was the home side who opened the scoring after 14 minutes and Weston only had themselves to blame.

A Rollin Menayese header could not find the target from a Dayle Grubb corner but the Saints then broke away quickly. Charlie Walker had space and time to pick his spot from 20 yards with an excellent finish into the bottom corner, which left Purnell stranded.

It was to get worse for the Seagulls just four minutes later when Shaun Lucien was not closed down when he ran quickly into the penalty area.

His finish was excellent but certainly avoidable, giving the Seagulls a mountain to climb before 20 minutes had even passed.

With just half an hour played, Weston looked to be dead and buried after what was a farcical few minutes. An excellent tackle by Lloyd Humphries was somehow adjudged to be a foul by the linesman and it was Zane Banton who finally got past Luke Purnell, despite the spot-kick having to be re-taken due to encroachment.

Weston huffed and puffed for the rest of the half but it was clear they were getting frustrated, with Bartlett’s half-time team talk needing to be something special.

The head coach was not about to give up and made a double substitution, introducing Jacob Cane and Jake Reid to the field.

The visitors certainly looked up for it in the second period but there was a nervy few minutes early on when Purnell was caught ball-watching. He managed to avoid a calamity with some neat footwork which spared his blushes.

It wasn’t until just after the hour mark that Weston started to create some chances of their own and some neat footwork inside the box from substitute Tommy Anderson and Grubb was saved excellently by Russell, who parried the ball out for a series of corners – all of which came to nothing for the Seagulls.

There was certainly not a lack of effort but there was a lack of quality in the box.

Grubb could have – and probably should have – scored for the third game in succession but his long-range shot was again excellently saved. Russell – this time with his legs – ensured the ball was cleared to safety.

There was a comical few minutes, with 20 minutes to play, which summed up Weston’s day when an awful back pass was latched on to by Anderson. It left James Russell off his line and all he had to do was put the ball into an empty net – but a combination of poor decision-making and some decent defending meant both him and Reid missed crucial chances.

It felt like Weston could have played all night and still not scored and sometimes you have to credit the opposition, who executed their game plan perfectly.

But most importantly, with Gosport losing to Oxford City, it means with two matches to play, Weston cannot be caught and Scott Bartlett’s men will play in the National League South next season.

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