Win lifts Seagulls off foot of table

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 September 2012

Nat Pepperell in action against Staines

Nat Pepperell in action against Staines

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A VITAL win has kick-started Weston's play-off push and lifted the Seagulls off the foot of the Blue Square South table.

Following Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Staines Town – the Seagulls’ first win of the season – manager Craig Laird said his team had finally got their reward after a frustrating start to the season.

With the addition of Bristol Rovers striker Kayne McLaggon, Laird says his team is good enough to push for promotion but says he would prefer the Seagulls to start the season slowly and end it strongly, as opposed to fizzling out in the run-in like last season.

Saturday’s match away at AFC Hornchurch’s Bridge Avenue may not have been a pretty match but Laird described it as ‘a very important match not to lose’.

With the return of Matt Villis, Weston’s defence looked stronger while Nabi Diallo continued his impressive start to the season with a man-of-the-match display.

Chances were few and far between, with Weston’s best effort falling to Jamie Price, who had a low effort blocked by a packed defence in the first-half.

The match ended 0-0 after Lloyd Irish kept out Hornchurch’s Lewis Smith twice in the dying minutes of the game.

A solid first-half showing from Weston against Staines Town on Tuesday was the platform for an excellent second-half performance from the Seagulls.

After Ashley Kington and Kane Ingram were replaced by Dayle Grubb and Ross Stearn at half-time the Seagulls dominated the match, with both substitutes causing the away defence problems with their penetrating runs.

In the second half Chas Hemmings saw a header turned away by visiting goalkeeper Jack Turner before striking a shot just wide minutes later.

Weston’s pressure finally paid off on 81 minutes when they forced two corners.

When the second was not properly cleared, Price crossed it in low to a crowded six-yard box and Mat Villis scrambled the ball over the line.

Grubb almost added gloss to the scoreline at the end when his penetrating run ended with a shot that went just wide with Turner beaten.

Speaking after the match Laird said his team had played well for most of their first five games and, the match against Eastleigh where they lost 3-0 aside, they had deserved more from their performances.

He said: “We’ve got to make sure that we peak at the right time. It’s a long season and no-one will win the league in September. We’ve played well, Eastleigh apart, so it was good to finally get the reward for the performances.

“We just need to curb our enthusiasm a little to make sure that we don’t go behind in matches – we can play expansive, attractive football and be 2-0 down at half-time so we need to adapt for different matches.

“We’ve got the quality in the squad, we’ve got options to trouble sides.”

Twenty-one-year-old former Southampton trainee McLaggon has signed permanently for the Seagulls and Laird believes his speed and eye for goal will serve the Seagulls well.

Weston face Sutton United at home on Saturday at 3pm.

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