Late goal sinks battling Seagulls
In their best performance of the season, Weston were narrowly defeated by play-off hopefuls Woking.
GIVING by far their best performance of the season, Weston came within eight minutes of seriously damaging Woking’s chances of reaching the Blue Square South playoffs. With Dover Athletic and Chelmsford City only a point behind them, the Cards needed to win, but they were pushed all the way by a battling Weston performance.
Weston had to go into the game without skipper and central defender Craig Rand, who had picked up a shoulder injury in the win over Staines Town, but manager Craig Laird brought back Jamie Price and Martin Slocombe in defence and up front Marcus Duharty partnered Nabi Diallo with Nat Pepperell and Sahr Kabba on the bench.
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After just four minutes, Weston took the lead when they were awarded a free kick to the right of the penalty area and from Slocombe’s free kick, Price rose on the far post to beat keeper Andy Little and stun the 1975-strong crowd.
The minutes later, a good move down the right involving close passing between Diallo, Duharty and Brett Trowbridge was halted by a marginal offside decision. A minute later, Simon Gilbert picked up a loose ball and burst through, only for Little to come well off his line to clear.
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However, Weston struck again on 25 minutes when Diallo set up Duharty to cross for Ben Kirk to easily score with Little stranded. Then, in quick succession, Duharty tested Little with a strong effort and Woking’s Michael Doughty did well to clear off his line with Little stranded by Duharty’s cross to Kane Ingram for Weston’s first corner of the game.
Woking pulled a goal back on 28 minutes when James Walker crossed for Craig Dobson to fire past Lloyd Irish from 15 yards.
As Weston resumed control, Justin Porter, who had replaced Gilbert, out for the rest of the season with a leg injury, put Diallo clear and again Little was off his line to clear and then Duharty again tested the keeper.
Two minutes before the break the sides were level when Moses Ademola beat Irish with a tremendous volley from the edge of the penalty area.
Five minutes into the second half, Ingram had the miss of the match when he managed to head just wide from a couple of yards out on the far post when Duharty rounded Little in a scramble.
Woking took the lead for the first time on 59 minutes when the Weston defence instead of clearing the ball easily up field, played a series of square passes and eventually, the lightning-fast Elvis Hammond grabbed possession and easily scored.
Weston were not finished yet and equalised on 72 minutes when Kabba, on for Duharty, crossed for Kirk to notch his second. Little suffered a head injury trying to prevent the cross and play was held up for some time as he received treatment.
Woking brought on two substitutes and their winner came on 82 minutes when Andy Burgess beat Irish with a curling effort. Into injury time Irish came to Weston’s rescue when he dived at Doughty’s feet to claim.
Goals: Woking, Dobson (28), Ademola (43), Hammond (59), Burgess (82). Weston, Price (4), Kirk (25, 72).
Shots on target: Woking 4, Weston 6.
Shots off target: Woking 5, Weston 3.
Corners: Woking 5, Weston 5.
Offsides: Woking 1, Weston 1.
Free kicks conceded: Woking 14, Weston 10.
Referee: D Treleaven (London). Excellent game.
Bookings: Weston, Trowbridge, Martin.
Weston squad: Irish, Price, Slocombe, Gilbert (Porter 20), J Laird, Martin, Ingram, Kirk, Duharty (Kabba 68), Trowbridge (Grubb 77), Diallo. Subs (not used): Pepperell, C Laird.
ON Saturday, Weston play their final Blue Square South game of the season when the league champions Braintree Town provide the opposition (3pm). Before the game, the Weston squad will provide a guard of honour to applaud the champions onto the field.
After the game, Weston are holding a presentation evening in the clubhouse and tickets, priced �10 are still available.
Weston meet Yeovil Town in the final of the Somerset Premier Cup at Hewish Park (7.45pm) in only their second-ever appearance in the final. The game will be played to a conclusion with extra time and penalties if necessary.