Seagulls upset the form book
WESTON-S-MARE 3 DOVER ATHLETIC 1 - PLAYING easily their best football of the season, Weston turned the Blue Square South form book on its head with this comfortable win over second-placed Dover.
DOVER ATHLETIC 1
PLAYING easily their best football of the season, Weston turned the Blue Square South form book on its head with this comfortable win over second-placed Dover, despite the horrible conditions.
In gale-force gusty squalls and heavy showers, they kept the ball on the ground, piling pressure on the Dover goal who had to resort to desperate defending to keep the score down.
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Unfortunately, Dave Gilroy, who scored twice in the win, will be returning to Newport County on the completion of his month-long loan, having notched seven goals in six league appearances for the club and will be sorely missed in view of Weston's FA Trophy game against Carshalton Athletic on Saturday.
Weston attacked straight from the off with Jack Compton forcing keeper Lee Hook to beat his shot away on two minutes, but as Dover, who were the division's joint top scorers with 33 goals, got into their stride, Frannie Collin fired narrowly wide, Shaun Welford hit the woodwork and skipper Nicky Southall brought a flying save from Kevin Sawyer.
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Then, as Weston came back, Gilroy had an effort cleared off the line with Hook beaten and then the keeper did well to concede a corner from Ben Joyce while Dan Cleverley forced another save.
Pressure paid off on 20 minutes when Tom Evans burst down the left and after swapping passes with Gilroy set up Compton to fire low across Hook and into the far corner. Minutes later, Joyce had another effort beaten out by Hook while Compton fired narrowly over.
Weston struck again on 52 minutes when, from Sawyer's throw-out, Craig Rand's long clearance allowed Gilroy to break the offside trap and fire past Hook from 15 yards and minutes later, Joyce ended a speedy run into the penalty area by firing wide across goal.
Gilroy struck again on 66 minutes as he controlled Cleverley's huge cross-field pass on the left and fired over Hook's head and two minutes later, Joyce forced another good save from the Dover keeper.
Dover, who had brought on Sam Gore and James Rodger for Tom Davis and Collin, pulled a goal back on 69 minutes when Welford scored in a goalmouth scramble. Near the end, Gilroy burst through on the right, but unfortunately Joyce just failed to connect with his cross with Hook stranded.
Goals: Weston, Compton (20), Gilroy (52, 66). Dover, Welford (69).
Shots on target: Weston 7, Dover 4.
Shots off target: Weston 2, Dover 4.
Corners: Weston 2, Dover 6.
Offsides: Weston 7, Dover 3.
Free kicks conceded: Weston 11, Dover 13.
Referee: Eamonn Smith (Mayford, Surrey). Excellent game.
Bookings: Weston, Compton. Dover, Davis, Moor.
Weston squad: Sawyer, Green, Bartlett, Harris, Rand, Evans, Fortune, Cleverley, Gilroy, Joyce, Compton. Subs (not used): Mullings, Klein-Davis, Wells, Hart, Grubb.
ON Saturday, Weston start they FA Carlsberg Trophy campaign with a home tie against Ryman Premier Division Carshalton Athletic, who are in a play-off spot in their league and will be tough opponents. Weston last played the Londoners in the then Nationwide South League in season 2005-2006 when they were relegated.
Should a replay be necessary, it will be on Carshalton's War Memorial Sports Ground on Tuesday.
JACK Compton, Weston's talented winger, who was a trainee with Bristol Rovers, has been offered a week's trial with Scottish Premier League Forfar Athletic, but will be back to face Carshalton.