Scoreless draw as Weston prepare for cup showdown

WESTON prepared for another cup excursion by securing their first draw of the season against Sutton United on Saturday, and their first clean sheet since August.

The Seagulls were frustrated by a series of crucial offside decisions which went against them, but kept out league opposition for the first time since a 2-0 win against Salisbury City on August 27.

Craig Laird’s team will now look forward to facing fellow Blue Square South side Havant and Waterlooville in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

In Saturday’s match the Seagulls were left to rue a series of 12 offsides ruled by referee Richard Martin and his assistants against Weston players.

Sutton arrived at the Woodspring Stadium four places above Weston in fourth and with promotion aspirations, and dominated the opening stages of the match, although it took until the 29th minute for Leroy Griffiths to test Lloyd Irish.

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Matt Villis, Ben Cleverley and Nat Pepperell were all off target before Craig introduced Sahr Kabba and Kane Ingram for front duo Cleverley and Chris Young after the break.

Following the change Weston began to take control, and Pepperell saw a low effort rebound off the foot of the far post after cutting in from the right.

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Kabba then put the ball in the Sutton net, but saw his effort ruled offside, and Brett Trowbridge, making his first appearance of the season since being forced off on the opening day of the season, had a header cleared off the line with ‘keeper Kevin Scriven beaten.

But the match ended goalless, with Weston dropping to eighth as a result and Sutton remaining in fourth.

Of the match, Craig said: “I thought the game could have gone either way, and despite either teams efforts thought the draw was a fair result. It was scrappy, but for a 0-0 was an exciting game for the fans.

“We did our homework on them beforehand, and stopped them playing their game despite their strong start, which I was pleased with.”

Craig also moved to dismiss rumours that Sahr Kabba would be leaving the club, saying: “Kabba has a contract with the club, and he wants to play for the club, he’s not going anywhere. He’s had a tough start to the season due to his back injury forcing him to miss the entire pre-season, but he’s a very important player for us.”

The Seagulls have no new injury worries ahead of Saturday’s cup tie against the team they beat 3-1 in August, and assistant manager Jon Haile said: “Since Craig and I have been at the club Havant have not beaten us in three attempts, with one win for us and two draws.

“That counts for nothing now and I am pleased we have home advantage. We genuinely want to reach the first round proper because not only will it benefit the club financially it will significantly raise the profile of not only the football club but the town as well.”

If a replay is needed, it will be played at Havant’s Westleigh Park on Tuesday. The draw for the final qualifying round takes place on Monday lunchtime.

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