Weston move into next round of the FA Cup after narrow win over Merthyr Town

PUBLISHED: 18:21 21 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 23 September 2019

Scott Laird celebrates scoring against Merthyr Town at The Optima Stadium

Scott Laird celebrates scoring against Merthyr Town at The Optima Stadium

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Scott Laird's 50th career goal helped Weston move into the next round of the FA Cup after a hard fought victory over Merthyr Town at The Optima Stadium.

Joel Randall nutmegs Ashley Evans during Weston's 2-1 over Merthyr TownJoel Randall nutmegs Ashley Evans during Weston's 2-1 over Merthyr Town

Having opened his goalscoring account at Penydarren Park with a last gasp penalty in August, Laird made it two in two games after heading home from debutant George Dowling's cross in the 23rd minute.

Sam Hendy put the game beyond reach when he slotted home on the stroke of half time after good work from Joel Randall.

Ryan Prosser gave the Welsh side hope when he netted in the second half but the day belonged to the Seagulls.

Scott Bartlett made two changes from Tuesday's 3-3 draw with Salisbury as Jake Mawford came in to replace Charlie Madden and Dowling made his debut in place of Issac Pearce.

Sam Hendy makes it 2-0 for Weston against Merthyr TownSam Hendy makes it 2-0 for Weston against Merthyr Town

And it was Dowling, in his third spell with the club, who had the first opportunity of the game after six minutes.

Great work from Randall down the right found Owen Howe before playing it back to Laird and he laid it off to midfielder Dowling, who signed for the club on Thursday after his contract with Bristol City came to an end in the summer, smashed it over the bar.

Alex Harris saved well from Nick McCootie's cross turned shot before Randall went even closer.

After good work to keep the ball in play Exeter City loanee Randall carried the ball into the box before nutmeging Martyrs's captain Ashley Evans and fired his low effort which hit Harris's near post.

The Seagulls opened the scoring moments later after Randall's short corner found 20-year-old Dowling and his inch perfect cross found Laird, who rose the highest to give the hosts the lead.

The Seagulls went close to double the scoring after Harris saved well from Randall before Hendy sent the rebound past the far post and just beyond the reach of Howe.

Randall was again denied by Harris before finding himself in space and suddenly Bartlett's men found themselves in a two on one situation.

Despite Adam Davies's tracking back his tackle saw the ball reach the feet of Hendy who had the simple task of slotting home.

Gavin Williams's men came out fighting in the second half and went close after Ben Swallow's free kick was headed out to Eliot Richards and Richards saw his 25-yard drive go wide.

However the visitors did get a goal back after the hosts gave the back away to Jamie Veale and the former Cardiff City youngster found Prosser who slid it past Niall Maher and into the far corner.

This seemed to rejuvenate Merthyr and went close again moments later after Kyle Patten's header was cleared off the line before substitute Owain Jones saw his low effort strike the post as Weston held on for victory.

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