Weston slipped to defeat at Chelmsford after taking a first-half lead.

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CHELMSFORD CITY 2

WESTON-S-MARE 1

WESTON came desperately close to registering their first Blue Square South away win of the season, but were beaten when they failed to defend two second-half set pieces.

Early on, they outplayed the home side who lie in seventh spot in the league table and took a deserved lead, but the game was turned around when Chelmsford added pace to their attack with the introduction of a couple of substitutes.

The visitors were without central defender Matt Villis and in the pre-match warm-up Nat Pepperell picked up a leg injury, Owen Irish and Dayle Grubb taking over.

Weston started in dominant style, Ross Stern, who gave a sterling performance, forcing the game’s first corner on two minutes with a rasping shot turned behind by keeper Stuart Searle. Minutes later Nabi Diallo, who gave another excellent performance, was just wide with a curling effort.

The pressure paid off on 19 minutes when Diallo burst through the home defence beating three challenges and played inside to Chas Hemmings. Hemmings beat another defender before laying the ball off for Stearn to fire past Searle from close range.

Weston were denied on 27 minutes when, from Grubb’s corner kick, Jamie Price had a low effort beaten out by Searle at full stretch.

Two minutes into the second half, Chelmsford thought they had equalised, but Anthony Church picked up a yellow card for punching the ball to the net.

With the introduction of the pacy David Rainford and Craig Parker up front, the complexion of the game changed and the equaliser came on 75 minutes when Rainford headed in Justin Miller’s long throw, much to the relief of the 938-strong home crowd.

Four minutes later, Weston were caught again when Joel Ledgister scored from Aiden Palmer’s corner.

Near the end, David Bridges was shown a second yellow card, but 10-man Chelmsford held out to take the points.

WESTON STATS

Goals: Chelmsford, Rainford (75), Ledgister (79). Weston, Stearn (19).

Shots on target: Chelmsford 4, Weston 5.

Shots off target: Chelmsford 2, Weston 3.

Corners: Chelmsford 4, Weston 2.

Offsides: Chelmsford 3, Weston 2.

Free kicks conceded: Chelmsford 16, Weston 11.

Referee: Stuart Butler (Maidstone). Poor. Upset both benches.

Bookings: Chelmsford, Haines, Whitley, Church, Ledgister, Bridges (2 yellows). Weston, Monks, Price.

Attendance: 938.

Weston squad: Lloyd Irish, Price, Monks (Slocombe 48), Trowbridge, Owen Irish, Laird, Stearn (Ingram (83), Kirk, Hemmings (McLaggon 83), Diallo, Grubb. Sub (not used): Kington.

ON Saturday, Weston start their FA Cup trail when they travel to Evo-Stick Southern Premier League and old rivals Frome Town (3pm) in a second qualifying round tie.

If a replay is necessary, it will be at the Woodspring Stadium on Tuesday evening (7.45pm). In the last round, Frome beat Larkhall Athletic 4-0.

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