Seagulls look to league after trophy exit

WWESTON will have to rely on the Somerset Premier Cup for distraction from the league, after crashing out of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Despite a good run of form in the Blue Square South that has pushed them back into play-off contention, they were easily beaten by Salisbury City, with the team giving one of their worst performances of the season to date according to manager Craig Laird.

With both regular full-backs Jamie Price and Martin Slocombe missing through suspension, Craig was forced to reshuffle his back four, with newly-signed Bath City loanee Mark Preece making his debut.

Looking to avenge a 2-0 league defeat at the Woodspring Stadium earlier in the season, Salisbury started brightly, and had a strong claim for a penalty after only eight minutes when Dan Fitchett was sent sprawling.

Despite Weston creating a decent chance on 20 minutes only for Kane Ingram’s header to rebound off the post, they went behind three minutes later.

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After good play from Charlie Knight down the right wing, he set up Stuart Anderson who beat Lloyd Irish from eight yards.

Weston’s chances of coming back into the tie were then shattered only two minutes before half-time, with Anderson delivering a free-kick into the penalty area, allowing Brian Dutton to climb above the Seagulls’ defence and head past Irish.

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He almost scored his second goal a minute later, with a header coming back off the post.

Although Marc McGregor and Sahr Kabba were brought on for Chris Young and Nat Pepperell, Weston failed to break through the home side’s defence.

Speaking of the result, Craig said: “I was bitterly disappointed. I think as a team we didn’t play well enough, and as a manager I don’t think I did enough – there are a certain number of games each season where you just don’t perform as you should do, and this was one of them.

“It’s disappointing to go out of the competition like that, but we’ll now concentrate on the league and the Somerset cup.”

Weston visit Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday looking to continue league form which has seen them pick up seven from nine available points in recent games.

Although Jamie Price and Jak Martin will be suspended, Slocombe is set to return, while Brett Trowbridge has handed Craig a welcome boost by coming through a fitness test that was expected to rule him out until the New Year.

Craig continued: “Our aim is to improve on what we did last year, and we want to be keeping up with the teams in the play-off positions come the end of the year.

“We’ve got a young team of players who are hungry to do well, and we want to show that we are improving as a group.”

Craig also confirmed that a deal to sign an unnamed Newport County midfielder had fallen through due to his wage demands, adding: “While we’re disappointed, the lad knows his own circumstances and it’s his decision, so we’ll respect that.”

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