Two wins in a week lift Seagulls
TWO wins in a week have turned around Weston’s fortunes and kick-started their faltering start to the season.
The Seagulls had only won one of their seven opening Blue Square South matches, but they improved to smash Havant and Waterlooville 3-0 on Tuesday night.
That came after they overcame a potential banana skin on Saturday by negotiating their way past Frome Town into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Due to influential centre-back Matt Villis’ recurring thigh injury Weston recruited giant Stoke City defender Immanuel Parry on loan and he slotted straight in at the back against Evo-Stik Southern side Frome.
Despite the league difference between the sides local rivals Frome dominated the first half, with a number of players testing away goalkeeper Lloyd Irish.
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They should have gone ahead on 37 minutes when Matt Smith thumped a 35-yard effort off the angle of Weston’s post and bar.
But it was Weston who made the breakthrough on 42 minutes when Chas Hemmings played a high ball into the six-yard box, and a mix-up between keeper Darren Chitty and centre-back Dean Flockton allowed Kane Ingram to nip in and give the Seagulls the lead.
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Despite their impressive first-half showing, Frome inexplicably sat back throughout the second half and summer signing Ross Stearn sealed Weston’s victory as he curled a shot round Chitty from the edge of the penalty area on 52 minutes.
The 2-0 win means the Seagulls will now face Blue Square North side Worcester City at home in the third qualifying round on the weekend of October 6.
Tuesday’s win against Havant was hailed by assistant manager Marc McGregor as ‘the best performance by a Weston team I have witnessed’ and lifted the Seagulls up to 16th in the table.
Weston were forced to play in their hosts’ away kit as referee Rob Hyde deemed their shirts to clash with Havant’s.
Despite a bit of early pressure from the home side, Weston took the lead on 19 minutes when Martin Slocombe unleashed a 30-yard shot that left home keeper Clark Masters with no chance.
Although Havant brought on former Weston favourite Sahr Kabba in the second half Dayle Grubb and Nat Pepperell’s goals sealed an impressive win which spelled the end for Havant manager Stuart Richie, who was sacked after the match.
Speaking after the result, manager Craig Laird hailed his side’s performance, but said it was a just reward for their performances so far this season.
He said: “We have played well for all-but-two of our matches this season and not necessarily got the results.
“We are very pleased and happy with the result – it’s the result of hard work, being patient and trusting in ourselves and I think if you generally do that you will go far.”
Weston will look to win three games on the bounce for the first time since January when they welcome Eastbourne Borough to the Woodspring Stadium on Saturday.