Seagulls get off to a flying start

PUBLISHED: 16:08 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:53 11 August 2016

Dowling had an excellent game in midfield. CREDIT: WAYNE WHITWORTH PHOTOGRAPHY

Dowling had an excellent game in midfield. CREDIT: WAYNE WHITWORTH PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

Weston made it back-to-back wins in the National League South for the first time since 2008, holding on for a 1-2 victory against Bath City at Twerton Park.

Ashley Kington.Ashley Kington.

A brace from Bristol City-loanee Shawn McCoulsky powered the Seagulls into a two-goal lead inside the first half.

The home side returned from the interval rejuvenated, dominating the second half with the infamous Twerton Park slope in their favour.

The Seagulls were holding firm until Marvin Morgan headed beyond the otherwise outstanding Luke Purnell and into the top corner with nine minutes remaining.

The pressure was on Ryan Northmore’s side, but in a situation where Weston may have folded in the past the Seagulls doggedly held on for three points.

Northmore was forced into two changes to the midfield which beat Whitehawk on Saturday, with a groin strain forcing Jacob Cane to miss out while Dayle Grubb was only fit enough for the bench. Darren Mullings and 17-year-old George Dowling deputised.

Bath suffered an agonising defeat to Margate at the weekend, and the Romans were hoping to kickstart their campaign with a win in the Somerset derby.

But it was the Seagulls who 
almost took the lead immediately from kick off when McCoulsky caught the defence napping, but veteran ‘keeper Steve Phillips got a toe to the striker’s goal-bound effort.

It didn’t take long for the young striker to find the back of the net however. The speedster latched on to a perfectly-weighted through ball from Joe McClennan and slid the ball through the legs of the onrushing Phillips with seven minutes on the clock.

The Seagulls continued to threaten with the speed of Jake Mawford and McCoulsky in attack, and with Dowling and former Bath midfielder Ashley Kington pulling the strings in the midfield they were not lacking in quality distribution.

Weston were soon rewarded with a second goal on the 30-minute mark when McCoulsky beat the offside
trap and displayed composure beyond his years, audaciously lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.

The Seagulls managed the remainder of the first period comfortably, with Purnell commanding his area well – leaving Bath with plenty to consider at the break.

But they returned with impetus, penning the Seagulls into their own half for large parts of the second half, but their attacks were often predictable and lacking guile.

Purnell made a pair of outstanding saves, firstly denying Andy Watkins’ firm effort after Jordan Williams 
sold him short. The Seagulls’ stopper then clawed away Naby Diallo’s long free kick, which evaded contact and was heading for the far corner.

Bath did narrow the deficit with nine minutes to play when George Rigg floated a cross to former Plymouth Argyle striker Morgan, who sent a thumping header into the top corner despite the best efforts of Purnell.

Controversy followed with five minutes to play when it appeared that McClennan’s mistimed tackle had felled Watkins in the penalty area, but the Bath striker was booked for diving to the bemusement of the home support.

The Seagulls, however, did not care and managed to hold on for their second win of the campaign.

After the game, Weston boss Northmore said: “I think we showed a bit of versatility in our play which has perhaps been lacking in the past couple of seasons and we’re deserving of six points from two games.

“I thought we started the game so quickly and really after 10 seconds we could have been a goal to the good and that set the tone in the first half. In the second half it was roles reversed.

“I thought we defended superbly well. I think that’s a situation in the past that we would have crumbled and we would have not been able to defend the slope but we defended it resolutely.”

The Seagulls travel to recently-relegated Welling United on Saturday, hoping for a third consecutive win, before taking on Poole Town at the Woodspring Stadium on Tuesday night in a 7.45pm kick off.

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