Substitute Moulden earns Weston AFC point with Truro after last-gasp leveller

Weston AFC are now unbeaten in their last three games at The Optima Stadium after their draw with Truro City.

Weston AFC are now unbeaten in their last three games at The Optima Stadium after their draw with Truro City. - Credit: Ade Thresher/WsMAFC

Substitute Alfie Moulden scored a dramatic late equaliser to give Weston AFC a well deserved 2-2 draw with Truro City on New Year’s Day on Saturday.

Similar to their last meeting on the very same day two years ago, when the Seagulls scored twice in stoppage time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Moulden, on for Jordan Bastin, fired home in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Weston a share of the spoils. 

Jason Pope’s thunderbolt cancelled out Tyler Harvey’s first half penalty moments after the break before the forward resorted the White Tigers lead and put them on course for victory before Moulden’s late heroics at The Optima Stadium.

The draw sees Scott Bartlett’s side rise up to 10th in the Southern Premier South, five points off the final play-off place with three games in hand.

Manager Bartlett confirmed before kick-off that both Max Harris and James Dodd had extended their loans, from Cheltenham Town and Exeter City respectively, until the end of the season.

Lloyd Humphries in action for Weston AFC during their draw with Truro City.

Lloyd Humphries in action for Weston AFC during their draw with Truro City. - Credit: Ade Thresher/WsMAFC

And it was Dodd who was named on the substitutes bench as Lloyd Humphries was included in the starting line-up for the first time since Weston beat Hartley Wintney 2-1 in early December.

The midfielder was Bartlett’s only change from Weston’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon Supermarine last time out. 

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It was the hosts who had the first chance of the match after only three minutes.

Dayle Grubb superbly played in Scott Laird but the full-back’s cross turned shot drifted wide.

Dayle Grubb on the ball for Weston AFC during their draw with Truro City.

Dayle Grubb on the ball for Weston AFC during their draw with Truro City. - Credit: Ade Thresher/WsMAFC

A couple of minutes later James Hamon was at his best to deny Nick McCootie’s strike before quickly getting up to claw Humphries’ header away from Laird’s cross seconds later.

Marlon Jackson then teed up Bastin but the winger could only send his effort straight into the arms of a relieved Hamon after 25 minutes.

Harris then held well from Jamie Richard’s header from Will Dean’s corner before Humphries once again stung the gloves of Hamon with a low strike from 18 yards out.

But just as it seemed both sides would go into the break all level, the visitors won a penalty against the run of play in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

Sam Avery was adjudged to have brought down Andrew Neal, allowing Harvey to grab the opening goal of the contest after sending Harris the wrong way from the spot.

But Bartlett’s men bounced back brilliantly with a wonderful goal three minutes after the break.

Bastin’s corner found Jackson whose header was only cleared out to Pope 30 yards from goal. 

The defender met it on the volley and saw his effort sail in past Hamon and spark wild celebrations around the ground.

Jason Pope celebrates scoring Weston AFC's first equaliser against Truro City.

Jason Pope celebrates scoring Weston AFC's first equaliser against Truro City. - Credit: Ade Thresher/WsMAFC

But with delight in the cold Somerset air, it was soon replaced with despair five minutes later.

Neal was brought down around 25-yards-out by Humphries and Harvey curled home his second of the afternoon, and 12th of the season, to restore Paul Wotton side’s the lead. 

But that goal didn’t deter Weston’s performance, it only strengthened their cause as Grubb saw his curling effort go wide before Josh Thomas’ strike was saved by Hamon.

The former Forest Green Rovers midfielder then saw his strike deflected over before from the following corner Josh Thomas could only fire over.

But with time running out Nick McCootie could only agonisingly head over from six yards out following great work by Josh Thomas.

With four minutes added on, Connor Riley-Lowe pushed forward as he looked to seal the win for the visitors but he saw his low drive from 20 yards out kept out by Harris in the third minute of stoppage time.

And the miss would come back to haunt Truro seconds later as Dodd and Moulden superbly combined, with the latter volleying home from eight-yards-out at the near post to spark wild celebrations in front of the 898 crowd.

Bartlett and his side now travel to South Wales this Saturday to take on Merthyr Town At MET Coaches Community Stadium behind closed doors due to the latest Coronavirus restrictions put in place by Wales. 

Weston XI: Harris, Keiran Thomas (C), Laird, Humphries (Dodd 67), Avery, Pope, McCootie, Josh Thomas (Jagger-Cane 75), Jackson, Grubb, Bastin (Moulden 67)

Attendance: 898

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