Perfect start to New Year delights Seagulls manager

WESTON have launched themselves in play-off contention with a 100 per cent start to 2012.

Three wins on the bounce have propelled the Seagulls to sixth place in the Blue Square South table, one below a coveted play-off spot with Tuesday’s victory over Basingstoke Town the team’s latest success.

Boss Craig Laird has been pleased with the team’s form, and is now looking to steer them into the top five over the next month.

Weston racked up five goals for the first time this season with a 5-2 win at home to Farnborough on Saturday, with fan favourite Sahr Kabba netting a hat-trick.

All seven goals came in a frenetic opening half, Farnborough taking a shock lead on 15 minutes through Reece Connolly to beat Lloyd Irish with a superb rising shot on the turn.

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But Weston took only five minutes to equalise as Kabba stabbed home after efforts by Martin Slocombe and Kane Ingram were blocked by keeper Tom Lovelock.

The speedy striker got his second on 26 minutes after dispossessing defender Douglas Bergqvist, and Lovelock was picking the ball out of the net again after 32 minutes, Nat Pepperell putting Weston further ahead from the penalty spot.

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Kabba completed his treble two minutes later after being put through by Jamie Price and Pepperell.

The away side grabbed a goal back two minutes before the break, Dan Bennett beating Irish with a stunning snap shot, but Weston rounded off the scoring as Ben Kirk latched onto a weak clearance and beat Lovelock low down to his right.

Weston’s good form continued against Basingstoke on Tuesday evening, but Town, who started the match just a place below Weston, were much sterner opposition.

Kabba kept up his scoring streak, notching just three minutes into the match as he was freed by Price, outpaced the away defence and beat keeper Chay Morris on his near post for his ninth goal of the season.

Despite good pressure from the Seagulls Basingstoke equalised on 30 minutes through Reading loanee Angus MacDonald’s header.

Although Kabba was withdrawn with an injury after the break, Basingstoke’s David Pratt was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Cleverley.

But the decisive goal came on 59 minutes, when Ingram’s corner evaded everyone in a crowded six-yard box and nestled in the far corner of the net.

Manager Craig Laird said: “We have had a great start to the year, and it has been a combination of hard work, getting the right balance and a bit of luck that has got us here.

“We just need to keep it up now so we can achieve our aim of getting into the playoffs over the coming month or so.”

Craig also paid tribute to the impact of Marc McGregor, who recently signed for his fifth spell at the club.

He said: “Marc has made a massive impact, he hasn’t played every week but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve only lost one in nine matches since he joined.

“He’s an experienced head for the younger players to look up to, he’s been there and done it and that has really helped us as a squad. He’s been a big boost.”

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