Laird proud despite Seagulls loss

Weston AFC v Salisbury.

Weston AFC v Salisbury. - Credit: Archant

WESTON’S play-off hopes suffered a setback after losing 3-0 to promotion-chasing Salisbury City.

A week after the Seagulls secured a creditable draw at Salisbury, they were unable to repeat their good form as visiting striker Dan Fitchett’s hat-trick dealt Weston their first defeat in five games.

Manager Craig Laird said he had no complaints over the result but rued conceding two late goals as Weston tried to force an equaliser.

He had no complaints with how the team’s effort and said Salisbury, whose players are contracted full-time, showed why they are second in the Blue Square South table.

He said playing Salisbury twice in a week was not ideal for both sides and believes his side were paid a compliment by the visitors after they stifled Weston’s passing.

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Weston started the brighter with Dayle Grubb firing narrowly over in the fourth minute. But Salisbury soon found their feet and created several good first-half chances.

Visiting skipper Brian Dutton saw his effort hacked off the line and Weston goalkeeper Lloyd Irish had to be at his best to deny Fitchett from a corner.

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However the former Wycombe Wanderers forward was not to be denied as he handed Salisbury the lead in the 39th minute when he volleyed a cross past Irish.

Weston went close to finding an equaliser either side of the interval with Nabi Diallo firing over and winger Ross Stearn denied by a full-length save from Salisbury’s Will Puddy.

Unable to turn their chances into goals, Weston were lucky not to be further behind as Salisbury substitute Ryan Brett hit the bar and midfielder Brett Trowbridge twice had to clear shots off the line.

But two goals in the final five minutes sealed Salisbury’s win and Fitchett’s hat-trick. He robbed Diallo on the edge of the Weston box and calmly finished in the 86th minute and repeated the trick deep into stoppage time with a smart turn and shot.

Weston remain in sixth despite the defeat, but are now two points behind Boreham Wood who hold the final play-off spot and the Seagulls have played a game more.

Laird said: “We are in a great position, We have done fantastically well so far. We mustn’t get too downhearted because they showed they are a quality side and we competed with them.”

The Seagulls will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to mid-table Basingstoke on Saturday. Weston won the first game between the two sides 5-2 but the Hampshire club are unbeaten in their last five league outings.

Jamie Laird will serve the final game of his suspension but otherwise the Seagulls will take a full strength side.

? Weston have announced they will hold a Community Trust Invitation Day when they welcome Farnborough Town to the Woodspring Stadium on March 30.

A charity match between veterans and club’s youth team will kick-off at 12.30pm on the practice pitch and other activities will be held throughout the day.

The club will not charge for a match ticket, but instead will ask supporters for donations towards its community trust which works with children across the region.

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