Coaches leave Seagulls in cost-cutting bid
PUBLISHED: 15:59 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:59 01 May 2014
TWO senior coaches have left Weston Football Club this week to reduce the wage bill, with manager Craig Laird saying it is now difficult to pick a team the town deserves.
Laird told the Mercury he has an ‘impossible’ task to replace assistant Marc McGregor and first team coach, Rob Boyd, whose departures were announced yesterday (Wed).
The Scot praised them for their efforts and selflessness after they ‘fell on their sword’ to improve the club’s budget for next season.
The news overshadowed Saturday’s home win which saw Weston end the season with an entertaining 2-0 victory against Chelmsford City.
Weston have finished in 11th place – 12 points off the play-offs and the relegation zone.
Laird said it was nice to end the season with a win ahead of the summer break.
He said: “It’s been another solid year. We never flirted with relegation and got ourselves in the play-off mix.
“As ever, we fell away at the end of the season because we don’t have a big enough squad to cope with the final games.
“That’s not down to a lack of commitment but a lack of strength in depth.”
Laird said losing five or six players last year, such as Matt Villis and Ross Stearn, meant his job was increasingly difficult.
On the back of the budget cuts – and loss of two key members of his backroom team - Laird said: “It is very difficult to put out a team that I think Weston deserves.”
With the Seagulls in mid-table and the Essex side preserving their place in the Skrill South last week, there was nothing riding on Saturday’s game, giving Laird a chance to experiment.
A number of products from the successful academy played, including Jake Llewellyn, Bradley Ash and Syd Camper.
The match started at a frenetic pace with Kieron St Aimie wasting a great chance in the opening seconds for the visitors.
Slick build-up involving Chaz Hemmings put Bradley Ash through a minute later but Carl Pentney managed to turn the ball behind.
Ash and Ashley Kington went close as Weston edged the first half and they got their reward four minutes before half-time.
Winger Dayle Grubb, who also came through the academy, rifled in from 25 yards, hours before he would be named supporters’ player of the season.
However the lead was almost lost seconds later as goalkeeper Lloyd Irish had to scramble back to stop Mark Haines scoring from inside his own half.
Chelmsford pressed after the break with Sam Long firing wide and Irish superbly denying Aaron Greene when the midfielder burst clean through.
Chances continued to flow and Callum Laird, who has become an unexpected goal-machine in recent weeks, was denied a third in as many games when his header was scrambled off the line.
However Weston grabbed the crucial second on 67 minutes as Ash tucked in the rebound after Grubb’s shot came back off Pentney.
A couple of late close-range saves from Irish ensured the clean-sheet was preserved – the club’s first in five outings.
The win rounded off another good season on the pitch but Laird said next year will be a ‘very tough’ one for the club.