Weston-super-Mare taste defeat for the first time this season
PUBLISHED: 18:04 20 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:16 20 August 2016
Weston-super-Mare's unbeaten start to the season ended today (Saturday) after a resilient Dartford side snatched all three points late on.
McCoulsky (pen 76)
Weston: Purnell, Simpson (Barnes 82), Williams, Mullings, Pope, Fortune ©, Mawford, Richards (McCoulsky 62), Meechan (McClennan 62), Grubb, Kington
Subs not used: Ingram, Wring
Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Wynter, Bonner ©, Gardiner, Brown (Dembele 90), Hayes, Noble (Seixas 78), Ofori-Acheampong, Brown, Wanadio
Subs not used: Dembele, Francis, Mabte, Coxhall
Head coach Ryan Northmore made some surprising changes, with top-scorer Shawn McCoulsky and influential midfielder Joe McClennan both dropping to the bench.
But Weston enjoyed a lot of early possession and were full of confidence but it was the visitors who carved out the first chance of the match.
Ellis Brown latched on to a loose ball in Weston’s half after some sloppy defending but his shot could only go over the bar.
But the early chance gave the Darts confidence and a series of corners put the Seagulls’ defence under pressure.
Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim was next to feel that pressure though as the match burst into life after 25 minutes.
A wonderful through-ball from Eliot Richards was met by Darren Mullings but the stopper made a fantastic save with his legs to deny the Seagulls the opener.
By the half hour mark the home side had got back into the match and Dayle Grubb had a glorious chance to open the scoring.
His touch was sublime after a great ball from Luke Purnell and he made a dangerous run into the box. He took his time picking his spot but the resulting effort was disappointing as Ibrahim watched it sail wide.
As the half came to a close, Dartford created more and more chances, with Duane Ofori-Acheampong coming closest to slotting home after some good work on the right flank.
But Purnell was standing firm – although it was no thanks to the shaky defence in front of him.
However, Weston looked a different side in the second half and five minutes in could have got off to the perfect start.
Grubb’s free kick on the edge of the area forced a top save from Ibrahim and the impressive keeper was also equal to Mullings’s effort on the rebound.
But almost immediately after that good play, Dartford took the lead. The Seagulls left gaps at the back after their strong opening attack and the Darts committed bodies forward. There was no stopping Luke Wanadio’s fantastic finish as his shot found top corner from 20 yards.
It took the wind out of Weston’s sails but the introduction of top-scorer Shawn McCoulsky made the difference it intended to.
His pace was causing all sorts of problems and the Darts’ defence eventually succumbed.
A clumsy challenge from Ibrahim gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot and McCoulsky made no mistake with the penalty
But six minutes later, all Weston’s hard work was undone. The visitors burst forward and caught the Seagulls out on the break and Ryan Hayes’ powerful finish, eight minutes from time, was enough to hand the Darts all three points.
It was dissapointing after the Seagulls’s great start to the season but Northmore told the Mercury he would ‘take the ‘positives’ from the match.