Seagulls soar with back-to-back victories
- Credit: Archant
WESTON put their early-season woes behind them to register their first home wins in nine months as they emphatically saw off St Albans and Havant and Waterlooville at the Woodspring Stadium.
Manager Ryan Northmore spoke of his delight after Weston wrapped up their first back-to-back league wins since March in the space of three days, and now sit a point from safety in the Vanarama National South table.
Teenage hot-shot Bradley Ash’s hat-trick set Northmore’s side on their way to their first win of the week, triumphing 4-1 against St Albans on Saturday, before they bagged another in a more nailbiting 3-2 encounter on Tuesday night against Havant.
Weston started the slower against their Hertfordshire opponents at the weekend, having already lost to the Saints twice this season. Louie Theophanous went close for St Albans early on before Harry Crawford’s shot also shaved a post in the first half.
But straight from the restart, Ash showed his intentions when played through by Tristan Plummer, and fired past Saints’ goalkeeper Joe Welch with aplomb for the opener.
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Eight minutes later he was at it again, as Ben Withey turned provider to split the visiting defence, and soon grabbed his hat-trick to continue his red-hot form in front of goal.
With the game seemingly wrapped up, Weston took their foot off the pedal and Theophanous grabbed a consolation before home stopper Luke Purnell pulled off a string of superb saves to preserve their lead.
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Weston grabbed a fourth in the dying minutes when Scott Wilson’s curling effort was deflected in to seal a comprehensive victory.
The Seagulls’ surging confidence was clear to see as they took on Havant at the Woodspring Stadium on Tuesday night, and took the lead through Ollie Barnes’ 19th-minute shot after the Hawks had failed to deal with one of many Weston corners in the opening stages.
Ash added another to his rising tally after Tristan Plummer was needlessly fouled by visiting keeper Ryan Young with the ball heading out of play, the 19-year-old’s eighth league goal of the campaign carressing the post on its way in.
For all their dominance before the break, Weston were made to work hard for their victory following it, and were hit by a sucker-punch just two minutes into the
second half when the visitors were given a penalty of their own, which was dis-patched past Purnell by Scott Donnelly.
Super-sub Wilson again proved his worth with Weston trying to protect their narrow lead, harrassing the Hawks’ defenders and helping to stretch the game, and he restored their two-goal advantage after brilliantly holding off a number of challenges to slot into the far corner with 20 minutes to go.
Former Bournemouth striker James Hayter grabbed what proved a late consolation as his scrappy goal set up a grandstand finish.
But it was the Seagulls cheering as the full-time whistle blew, as they moved to within a point of their opponents, and the all-important safety line.
After the game, Northmore told the Mercury his side were finally getting the rewards their performances deserved.
He said: “The results may have changed, but we haven’t been playing much differently. We have been scoring when we are on top, when earlier on in the season we would have missed those chances.
“Brad [Ash] has been instrumental, he’s got a fantastic attitude and if he continues in this form he is we will have one or two enquiries to field in January.
“It would be great for him to achieve his dream and for this club, but obviously I would like to think he would be loaned back to us for the season.”