Southern League: Weston 2 Hartley Wintney 1

PUBLISHED: 21:53 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:53 07 January 2020

Weston players pay tribute to the late Chris Barker before their match with Hartley Wintney at the Optima Stadium (pic Josh Thomas)

Weston players pay tribute to the late Chris Barker before their match with Hartley Wintney at the Optima Stadium (pic Josh Thomas)

Archant

Weston showed great strength and character to record victory over Harley Wintney in the Seagulls' first home game since the death of former player and assistant manager Chris Barker.

In a game which saw the home side denied by the woodwork five times, including three efforts off the post in seven first-half minutes, Lloyd Humphries' thunderbolt gave the Seagulls their first goal.

Adam Cornell equalised four minutes into the second half from Tom Bird's low cross.

However James Waite ensured Weston would pick up the three points, after he bundled home Brad Ash's cross.

After a difficult week for Scott Bartlett and his team, both sides came out with black armbands on their sleeves before uniting together with a minute's applause to remember Barker.

Once the game got underway, the home side, who showed great strength and will throughout, were left frustrated after hitting the same post three times in quick succession.

Ash's side-footed effort came back off the inside of the post before moments later Mike Symons took aim and fired but his drive came came crashing off the woodwork.

And minutes later it was the same story as a long ball forward was picked up by Ash and the Hereford loanee saw his half volley clip the outside of the post.

However, in the 34th minute two Cardiff City loanees combined for the game's first goal.

Waite's corner found it's way into the path of Humphries and the midfielder drove home an absolute missile into the back of the net to hand the Wales youth international his first goal in his second spell with the club.

Bird would have The Row's first shot on target in the 37th minute when his floated effort was easily gathered by Luke Purnell.

However, Anthony Millerick and Daniel Turkington's team-talk looked to have made a difference as the visitors found the back of the net with their first chance of the second half.

Bird's low cross from the left missed Greg Tindle and there was Cornell, whose thunderous effort went past Purnell and into the roof of the net to level.

But, after Dan Martin pinched the ball back, his pass sent Ash away and his delivery was turned home by Waite for his seventh goal in five games from just a few yards out to restore Weston's lead

Despite Chris Knowles and Ash both striking the crossbar, Weston held on to make it five wins from their last six games, much to the delight of the home crowd on an emotional night at The Optima Stadium.

Weston: Purnell, Parsons, Martin, Humphries, (Hendy 73), Knowles, Tindle, Laird, Cane, Symons (McCootie 90), Ash, Waite, (Pearce 84).

Attendance: 403.

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