Seagulls battle back to earn a point
TRAILING by a goal at half time and barely out of their own territory in the first 45 minutes, Weston looked a beaten side as visitors St Albans dominated.
WESTON-S-MARE 1ST ALBANS CITY 1TRAILING by a goal at half time and barely out of their own territory in the first 45 minutes, Weston looked a beaten side as visitors St Albans dominated, but in the second half, with just one change of personnel, they not only battled back but came close to grabbing all three Blue Square South points in an exciting contest.Saints attacked from the start, forcing a couple of corners in the first nine minutes and James Fisher was first to shot, forcing a save from Ryan Northmore and then Paul Hackim just failed to make contact with Gary Cohen's low cross into the six-yard box, then Hassan Sulaiman was just off target with an effort.The pressure paid off on 20 minutes when Jonathan Hunt's curling free kick was met by Adam Everitt whose near-post header found the net when Northmore hesitated in coming to claim.Weston forced their first corner on 23 minutes and from Ben Wells' delivery Manny Williams, although policed by 6' 7" Saints' skipper Ben Martin, managed to get in a close-range shot which keeper Paul Bastock managed to tip over his crossbar. From another Wells' corner kick, Craig Rand was just wide with a strong header.A minute later, Weston again came close with Scott Partridge and Williams exchanging passes to penetrate the defence, but Bastock came quickly off his line to claim.As Saints looked to kill the game off, Hunt twice had close-range efforts blocked by Northmore as did Sulaiman, while at the other end, Wells had an angled effort claimed by Bastock and was over with another.For the second half, Marc McGregor replaced Dean Grubb who was having a quiet game on the left and the game was transformed. Weston went on the attack with Williams forcing two of four early corners in the opening eight minutes.The pressure paid off on 56 minutes when McGregor, playing just behind the front two, won a challenge in midfield, made ground and fed Partridge who got past a couple of defenders and laid the ball off to Williams who fired past Bastock from a couple of yards.Weston came close again on 69 minutes when Tommaso Parrinello played through to Darren Mullings and on to Williams who laid off to Wells, but the effort was just over.As Saints tried to force a winner, they forced two late corners, but the home defence, superbly marshalled by Rand and Mike Green held out.WESTON STATS Goals: Weston, Williams (56). Saints, Everitt (20).Shots on target: Weston 2, Saints 4.Shots off target: Weston 3, Saints 3.Corners: Weston 7, Saints 4.Offsides: Weston 3, Saints 6.Free kicks conceded: Weston 21, Saints 6.Referee: Brett Huxtable (Torrington). This is the same official who officiated in the game against AFC Sudbury in the FA Trophy, who booked 10 players and sent one off, and again he made some controversial decisions.Bookings: Weston, Williams, Mullings. Saints, Martin, Quilter.Attendance: 273.Weston squad: Northmore, Green, Parrinello, Harris, Rand, Willshire, Wells, Mullings, Williams, Partridge, Grubb (McGregor 46). Subs (not used): Thorne, Brown, Dayle Grubb, Armstrong.ON Saturday, Weston will be in west London to take on Hayes and Yeading United, who are in seventh spot in the table and this will be a difficult task.Weston's home tie against Havant and Waterlooville scheduled for Monday last was postponed as the Hampshire club's FA Trophy game with Team Bath, scheduled for last Saturday, was called off due to a waterlogged pitch and was rearranged for Monday. No new date has yet been decided.THE club announced that Ashhan Holgate, stretchered off at Newport, suffered ligament damage to his ankle and it was not broken as first feared. However, he will be out of action for a considerable time.