REPORT: Back-to-back wins for Weston
PUBLISHED: 11:09 12 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:09 12 March 2015
WESTON moved within sight of the top half of the Vanarama Conference South after continuing their stunning form in 2015 with two impressive wins.
Two goals from the league’s player of the month for February Jamie Lucas set the Seagulls en route to victory over promotion-chasing Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday, their fourth from five in an increasingly resurgent season.
The headlines were spared for Tuesday’s tussle with local rivals Bath, however, as Weston came from behind against 10-man City to wrap up a 4-2 win and move all but surely clear of the relegation zone.
Ryan Northmore’s side now sit closer to the play-off places than the drop and could conceivably eclipse last season’s 57-point haul - a thought unbelievable as recently as December, after a run of eight straight league defeats left them propping up the table.
Before Saturday’s game with Havant, Bristol Rovers loanee Lucas was presented with the Vanarama Conference South player of the month award for February - despite having only arrived at the Woodspring Stadium midway through the month - in recognition of his stunning hat-trick at Bishop’s Stortford last weekend.
Jordan Tillson, signed on loan from Exeter during the week to bolster the injury-hit Seagulls defence, made his debut, with Jake Mawford, Pierce Mitchell and Jacob Cane also restored to the starting 11.
The visitors started the stronger, Ryan Woodford heading just over from Ben Swallow’s corner, before Bradley Bubb’s effort struck the bar minutes later.
Weston took the lead just before the quarter-hour mark, Lucas bursting through the visiting defence to continue his scoring form and beat keeper Ryan Young who had strayed from his line.
The 19-year-old was celebrating his award in the best possible way; he soon doubled his money for the afternoon, after Dayle Grubb had fired narrowly over and Mawford forced a good save.
Lucas was indebted to a defence-splitting pass from Grubb for his second, finding himself in acres of space before slotting past Young to register his fifth goal in two games.
An early double substitution after the break from Havant turned the tide in the favour of the visitors, and on the hour mark they reduced the deficit as Ben Wright’s strike deflected past Luke Purnell.
Weston have made hanging on a habit; they were forced into some last-ditch defending as they saw out the three points, but it was Havant who left disappointed as Weston rose to 15th.
They continued their good form in Tuesday night’s tie with Bath City, Olly Watkins getting the hosts off to the perfect start with a goal inside seven minutes from Joe McLennan’s cross.
Their lead would not last long, however, as Beth grabbed an equaliser from Dave Pratt’s 23rd-minute penalty, the visiting striker dusting himself down after he had been brought down by Llewellyn to slot home.
They completed the turnaround on the half-hour mark, skipper Andy Gallinagh crossing low from the left for former Seagull Ashley Kington to score. With some harsh half-time words awaiting, Weston pulled themselves level deep into injury time when Clayton Fortune headed home from a corner, shortly before Bath’s Phil Walsh was shown a second yellow card in what would prove a defining moment in the game.
The Seagulls used their man advantage to good effect straight after the restart, Lucas again on target with one of his easier finishes in a Weston shirt, intercepting Bath keeper Jason Mellor’s attempted clearance before slotting into the empty net.
Watkins almost added a fourth for Weston but was denied by a strong Mellor save, but the hosts were not to be denied, and with time running out McLennan outran Gallinagh before crossing for Grubb to fire beyond the keeper from close range.
■ ON SATURDAY, Weston travel to St Alban’s as they look to avenge a 2-0 loss at the Woodspring Stadium in October, with kick-off at 3pm, before the Seagulls take the long trip to Basingstoke Town for a first meeting of the season on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.