Seagulls just miss out on play-offs

Weston AFC v Billericay.

Weston AFC v Billericay. - Credit: Archant

DESPITE a 1-0 win against Billericay Town at the weekend, Weston’s dreams of reaching the play-offs were dashed after promotion rivals Eastleigh beat Truro 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Craig Laird.

Craig Laird. - Credit: Archant

Weston manager Craig Laird said the team had not played well enough in the last couple of weeks, and although they were disappointed they will celebrate after their final game against Dorchester this Saturday.

He said: “We all have been involved in football long enough to know that you only look after yourself and we didn’t do enough in the last couple of weeks.

“We’re disappointed, but that’s football. We found out the result together at training.

“It was important to find out at the same time. We have done it together all year and needed to find out the last little bit together.”

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Last Saturday, Kane Ingram’s 85th minute goal had kept the Seagulls in with a chance of play-off place, with the team left to rely on their rivals’ results.

The 1-0 victory on Saturday culminated in Billericay’s relegation after just one season at the higher level.

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Billericay’s day got off to a bad start when they were held up by a serious accident on the M4, meaning the game kicked off at 4.35pm.

The visitors had the better of the exchanges with their first chance coming in the ninth minute when Jay May burst through with his lobbed effort just clearing the crossbar.

Weston’s best chance came in the 31st minute when giant Billericay defender Chris Wild headed against his own crossbar trying to deal with Dayle Grubb’s in-swinging free kick.

Twice Pete Monks went close for Weston, once with a curling cross and then with a low effort that went just past the near post. As Billericay came back, Weston goalkeeper Lewis Carey did well to claim an excellent header from May.

The home side got more into the game in the second half, with Grubb firing just over and Ashley Kington having an effort blocked by the legs of keeper Kevin Scriven.

Weston also had two strong claims for penalties turned down when Kayne McClaggon and Jamie Price were bundled over.

With the game edging towards a second scoreless encounter between the two sides this season, Weston forced a couple of corners.

From Grubb’s flag kick, substitute Ingram, on for Ross Stearn, beat Scriven on the far post.

Laird said the delayed start had affected Weston more than Billericay, but paid tribute to the visitors’ performance.

He said: “The long wait hindered us more than them because we didn’t know when they were going to show up and it does affect you when your players are all up for a 3pm start and it doesn’t happen.

“Billericay played really well to try to avoid relegation but we showed good character. It’s never nice to be involved in another team’s relegation, but we needed to look after ourselves.”

Weston next play away at Dorchester, and although there is no chance of reaching the play-offs, Laird said they will try to put in a good performance.

He said: “The result doesn’t matter but we want to put in a good performance on Saturday and play the way we have for most of the season.

“It is difficult to motivate the players because they have done so well and probably felt a kick in the groin not getting to the play-offs. But they will put in a professional performance and whatever the result we will celebrate the season.”

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