Seagulls reach their target with 10 games to spare

AT the start of the Blue Square South season Weston manager Craig Laird set the squad the target of winning 40 points to be pretty certain of avoiding relegation and they achieved this goal with this win over the bottom side with 10 games to spare.

WESTON-S-MARE 2

ST ALBANS CITY 1

AT the start of the Blue Square South season Weston manager Craig Laird set the squad the target of winning 40 points to be pretty certain of avoiding relegation and they achieved this goal with this win over the bottom side with 10 games to spare.

But they were pushed all the way by a side who were docked 10 points for going into administration and who have recorded only four wins and 10 draws from their 23 starts, but who fully deserved to take something from the game as they enjoyed the better of the exchanges for long periods.


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Weston went into the game missing skipper Craig Rand, who picked up a groin strain in the midweek win over Taunton Town. This was the first game that Rand missed this season after making 35 previous appearances, but they made a positive start, opening the scoring on four minutes.

With an attack down the right they forced a corner and Martin Slocombe’s flag kick was punched by Saints’ keeper Paul Bastock as far as Brett Trowbridge on the edge of the box and Trowbridge’s shot was handled by a defender in the crowded area, leaving Nat Pepperell to beat Bostock from the penalty spot for his seventh strike of the season.

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After that Saints took control and they missed a great chance on nine minutes when Jamie Price slipped making a challenge leaving Tony Battersby unmarked 15 yards out, but he shot tamely at keeper Lloyd Irish. The visitors forced two corners in quick succession and minutes before the break, Saints’ man of the match Peter Smith made a strong penetrating run on the left, but Irish got down well to claim the low cross and skipper Ben Martin fed Smith whose header forced a good save from Irish.

Saints kept up the pressure in the second half, with Ollie Kelly testing Irish in the first minute and two minutes later, Kelly got in a good cross that was just missed by Jamie O’Donoghue rushing in. Then Mark Peters had an effort beaten away by Irish and from the next attack, Irish saved with his legs from another Peters’ effort and James Fisher had a shot deflected by Irish for a corner.

In an isolated Weston attack on 63 minutes, Sahr Kabba had a goal-bound effort tipped over his bar by Bastock.

Saints’ dominance paid off on 76 minutes when they forced another corner on the right when, from Fisher’s flag kick, Ben Martin headed the ball in for Battersby to beat Irish from a couple of yards.

Suddenly, Weston came to life, after bringing on Craig Laird and Nabi Diallo and on 86 minutes Dayle Grubb was brought down and Kane Ingram scored from the free kick, taken from the tightest of angles. Straight after, Ingram was booked for celebrating the goal with some of the junior supporters.

WESTON STATS

Goals: Weston, Pepperell (4 penalty), Ingram (86). Saints, Batterrsby (76).

Shots on target: Weston 4, Saints 7.

Shots off target: Weston 5, Saints 4.

Corners: Weston 4, Saints 5.

Offsides: Weston 4, Saints 3.

Free kicks conceded: Weston 17, Saints 8.

Referee: Andy Newell (Yate). Usual good game.

Bookings: Weston, Kabba, Pepperell, Ingram. Saints, Martin, Smith.

Attendance: 215.

Weston squad: Irish, Price, Slocombe, Jamie Laird, Villis, Trowbridge, Ingram (Gilbert 87), Kirk, Kabba (Craig Laird 57), Dayle Grubb, Pepperell (Diallo 72). Subs (not used): Mawford, Rand.

ON Saturday, Weston travel to Hampton and Richmond who are in 16th spot in the table and the party will leave the Woodspring Stadium at 10am.

In the semi-final of the Somerset Premier Cup, Weston have been drawn at home to meet Radstock, who overcame Frome Town in the quarter-final on penalties, having drawn 3-3 after extra time.

This game will be on April 5, and will be played to a finish with extra time and penalties if necessary. The other semi-final will be between Clevedon Town and Yeovil Town.

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