Laird hopes for cup success after two wins


- Credit: Archant

WESTON extended their excellent start to the season with two cup wins in just four days.

After beating Basingstoke Town away 3-1 in the FA Cup, the Seagulls followed it up with a 5-0 thumping of Chard Town on Tuesday night.

Manager Craig Laird said the players had done a great job in getting the Basingstoke result done in 90 minutes and hopes the Chard result leads to glory in the Somerset Cup.

He said: “I said to their manager (Basingstoke) it was a tie that none of us wanted. You like to visit other grounds and to face someone in your own league is very difficult.

“We were very good though once they threw everything at us in an initial onslaught thought.”

Saturday’s impressive second qualifying round victory saw Weston pocket £4,500 after overcoming a stubborn Basingstoke side for the second time in little over a month.

Ashley Kington had already gone close when Naby Diallo prodded home from close range after Louis Wells spilled an earlier shot in the 17th minute.

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The lead was a short-lived one though as the home side equalised inside two minutes.

A set-piece was Weston’s undoing as striker Matt Partridge fired home from Wes Daly’s corner.

Chas Hemmings – who started the game in place of an ill Tristan Plummer – swung the tie decisively in the away side’s favour however with a great free-kick shortly after the interval.

His powerful strike from just outside the area took a slight deflection leaving Wells no chance and restored the Seagulls’ advantage.

Weston goalkeeper Luke Purnell pulled off a couple of good saves to preserve the lead, before Ben Kirk sealed the tie in the 77th minute.

He nodded his first of the season after Wells could only parry Kington’s shot.

The Seagulls’ reward is a home tie against local side Brislington and leaves the club two matches away from the FA Cup first round.

After a tough match against Basingstoke, they showed their class to ease past Chard on Tuesday in the Somerset Cup.

Kayne McLaggon, Bradley Ash, Jake Harris and assistant manager Marc McGregor were handed their first starts of the season as manager Craig Laird rotated his squad.

Weston kept their fluidity for much of the match despite the personnel changes as the visitors failed to bridge the four-division gap.

Their dominance was evident early on as it took less than 10 minutes for Callum Laird to open the scoring, as he headed in Dayle Grubb’s corner at the back post.

Diallo doubled the lead with his fifth goal of the season in all competitions as he tapped into an empty net after Chard were undone by Purnell’s clearance.

Weston made the game safe 20 minutes from time when Harris scored his first for the club from Callum Laird’s cross and he repeated the trick three minutes later after good work by Martin Slocombe.

The rout was sealed in the closing seconds by substitute Plummer.

Laird praised the performance and attitude of the players and said their effort against Chard would need to be matched when they face Brislington later this month.

He said: “The FA Cup is full of romance and everyone wants a bit of a cup run because it brings smiles to the town and massages our egos in a positive way.

“Looking at the clubs Brislington are one of the clubs you’d want to draw but we all know the cup is liable to an upset.

“We have to treat them with respect and make sure we treat them with respect.”

Newly-relegated Ebbsfleet United are the visitors to the Woodspring Stadium on Saturday (3pm) as Weston look to extend their run of unbeaten games to nine.

The Kent club have won only one of their opening nine league fixtures and sit 15th in the Skrill South table but have proved draw experts after picking up a point in six matches.

Despite their sticky start Laird expects them to be in the promotion mix by the season’s end.

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