Laird ‘overjoyed’ as good form continues
- Credit: Archant
WESTON lie just outside the play-offs on goal difference after comfortably seeing off promotion rivals Chelmsford City on Tuesday night.
The Seagulls’ 3-0 home victory, coupled with a highly-creditable 1-1 draw at league leaders Salisbury City on Saturday, have seen Weston remain in the promotion mix.
They fell behind early on at Salisbury as the home side opened the deadlock inside 10 minutes.
Neat build up play released Robert Sinclair who managed to beat Weston goalkeeper Lloyd Irish from the edge of the box.
In a game of few chances, Weston equalised eight minutes into the second half when Kane McLaggon slotted home when one-on-one after Brett Trowbridge and Dayle Grubb had combined well in midfield.
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Salisbury continued to press and had two penalty appeals waved away as Weston took a vital away point, at a side still hopful of taking the title.
The Seagulls followed the draw with a comprehensive win over fourth-placed Chelmsford on Tuesday – the club’s first win in 15 attempts against the Essex side.
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Ross Stearn hit the crossbar in the fourth minute as Weston started on the front foot.
Chas Hemmings sent a diving header wide and Ashley Kington was denied a spectacular goal when visiting goalkeeper Stuart Searle saved his acrobatic overhead kick.
However Weston were not to be denied a first-half lead as Grubb left Searle no chance with a stunning strike from 25 yards.
And Weston doubled their advantage less than a minute into the second half as Hemmings found the net from a tight angle.
However he was soon shown a straight red card following an off-the-ball tussle leaving Weston to play the closing stages with 10 men.
But the numerical disadvantage failed to stop Weston as Trowbridge netted a third with a 30-yard strike that flew over a helpless Searle.
Manager Craig Laird said it was one of the team’s best performances of the season.
Weston sit sixth in the Blue Square South table after securing 10 points in as many days and only sit outside the play-off places due to Boreham Wood’s superior goal difference, although the Seagulls have played two games more.
Laird said: “I have been absolutely overjoyed by the commitment of the squad. We couldn’t ask any more from these guys.”
Weston host Salisbury City in the return game on Saturday, with the visitors looking to regain the top spot they surrendered after drawing with the Seagulls.
And Laird hopes a bumper crowd will turn out at the Woodspring Stadium after fewer than 175 fans turned out for Tuesday’s match, which clashed with Manchester United’s Champions League game with Real Madrid.
He said: “It is a really good time to be a Weston supporter. We have a number of great fans but hopefully more will come.”
Laird believes Salisbury will be ‘smarting’ from the weekend’s 1-1 draw and faces a few selection headaches with son Jamie suspended and Ben Kirk a doubt with illness.
However the club this week have welcomed back former loanee Manny Parry.
The defender was twice recalled by parent club Stoke City earlier in the season and played against Weston in February for Maidenhead United.