Northmore targets one more win for safety

Top scorer Scott Wilson bagged two more goals to aid Weston's survival push.

Top scorer Scott Wilson bagged two more goals to aid Weston's survival push. - Credit: Archant

‘One win – or even a draw’ should be enough for Weston to retain their Vanarama Conference South status, according to manager Ryan Northmore, after their resurgence continued on the road this week.

The Seagulls took their unbeaten run to four games, rising to a season-high 15th, as a point at rock-bottom Basingstoke and shock win at play-off chasing Truro City gave them a four-point cushion from the drop with just three games to play.

Northmore said his young squad had shown ‘maturity’ at the grounds of two sides fighting at either end of the table, with the Seagulls recovering from 2-0 down against Basingstoke on Saturday.

Defeat for The Stoke would have marked relegation for the Hampshire side – since confirmed after they lost on Tuesday – while Truro, their midweek hosts, sit inside the play-off places.

But the Cornish side’s promotion hopes were dealt a blow as Weston came away with a 3-1 win from Treyew Road, with the Seagulls now just four points off the top half.

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A seventh-minute header from Basingstoke midfielder Chris Flood got their week off to the worst possible start, as the hosts looked to impress new boss Terry Brown and keep their slender survival hopes alive.

They doubled their lead when Liam Enver-Marum was set up by Flood just before the half-hour mark, but Weston pulled a goal back from Ollie Barnes’ header three minutes after the hour, and equalised when Wilson grabbed his 16th league goal of the season from the spot late on.

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Wilson was at it again on Tuesday night in Cornwall, as Weston raced into the lead inside six minutes through his deft chip.

It was not until three minutes after the break either goal was tested again, when Truro goalkeeper Martin Rice kept out Dayle Grubb’s effort with his legs, and Jamie Edge smashed the rebound over.

Home defender Arran Pugh looked to have sealed victory for Weston as he put through his own net in the closing stages, but The Tinners pulled a goal back through ex-Seagull Matt Jay, before a superb solo run and strike from Jake Mawford in injury time secured the win.

Northmore said the results had shown the ‘growing maturity’ in his side during the season, who now sit 10 points from a play-off spot – despite picking up just five points from their opening 11 games.

He said: “We’ve put in the performances to get the results when it really matters, and we can go into the final games knowing one win should secure safety, or even a draw might be enough.

“Until you are safe, you can’t take anything for granted but we feel so much more prepared as a team for high-pressure situations like we had this week.

“We’ve got a young squad and it has been a steep learning curve for everyone, me included. We are keeping ourselves in games, whether that’s going in at 0-0 or a goal ahead, which we weren’t doing at the start of the season.

“It’s been ropey and dicey at times but we’ve got young players racking up the experience at this level, and adding a couple to that over the summer would put us in good shape for next season.

“Looking at the first six games, Bath had an 18-point lead over us, if we had picked up even five or six points then and not thrown away late leads at Dartford and Bath, we could be talking about the play-offs right now.”

The 35-year-old also confirmed to the Mercury this week he would remain in charge of the club next season, after it was previously suggested a senior player would eventually take the management role.

He said: “I was keeping the seat warm for whoever who was going to come in but finding that person has been quite challenging. They have got to fit the financial, social and footballing profile, and the club as a whole is stilled and more stable and happy with me in charge.

“By remaining in the director of football role I have more involvement than a regular manager, as I can keep doing my work with the academy and other things, and I want to continue that.”

On Saturday, Weston host 11th-placed Whitehawk at the Woodspring Stadium. Kick-off is at 3pm.

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