Weston FA Cup dream ended

POOR first-half defending cost Weston a possible place in the draw for the first round of the FA Cup as they were outdone by Oxford’s speedy attack.

On Sunday, Oxford City were drawn away at Ryman league outfit Redbridge.

Speaking after the game, Weston’s disappointed chairman Paul Bliss said: “In the first half, instead of keeping our shape early on and sizing-up the opposition, the defence decided to help with the attack and we could not cope with Oxford’s fast breakouts. After their second goal we were always chasing the game and we suffered the consequences.”

In the opening minutes, Weston forced the first of seven first half corners but from the clearance, Oxford’s speedy Declan Benjamin had acres of space to get to the home byline and cross for unmarked Darren Pond to beat Lloyd Irish from close range.

As Weston tried to hit back, Dayle Grubb’s angled free kick was punched to safety by 6ft 9in keeper Jason Mooney, on loan from football league club Wycombe Wanderers.

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The Seagulls best chance came on 15 minutes when Mooney, at full stretch, managed to tip Chris Young’s strong header over his crossbar from Grubb’s corner kick.

With the home defence again moving up field, Oxford struck again on 33 minutes when Felipe Barcellos took the ball to the home byline in a speedy run through the defence and crossed for Steve Basham, who once plied his trade in the Premier League with Southampton and later with Preston North End, Oxford United and Exeter City, to score with an unmarked far-post header.

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Just before the interval, Young picked up a leg injury in a tackle which earned a booking for Andy Ballard. He required lengthy treatment and was replaced by Brett Trowbridge for the second half.

Weston looked a different side after the break as they took control, with Trowbridge forcing Mooney to block with his legs on 51 minutes. Minutes later, with another speedy attack, Ballard had the ball in the Weston net, but was ruled offside.

Weston kept attacking, forcing seven more corners and got on the scoresheet on 55 minutes when Sahr Kabba was brought down in the box. Nat Pepperell beat Mooney for his fifth successive penalty kick of the season.

A minute later, Kane Ingram saw a shot come back off the inside of a post and Mooney made a superb double save from the rebound. Jamie Price was just off target and Grubb’s free kick was scrambled off the line.

However, Oxford restored their two-goal advantage on 74 minutes when Barcelos soloed unchallenged from midfield and fired past Irish.

Weston were not yet finished though and Ingram was rewarded for his efforts on 90 minutes when he beat Mooney with a diving header.

In five minutes of stoppage time, Weston laid siege to the Oxford goal, but Mooney and his defenders performed miracles to hold out for a deserved win.


Goals: Weston, Pepperell (55 pen), Ingram 90. Oxford, Pond (3), Basham (33), Barcelos (74).

Shots on target: Weston 9, Oxford 5.

Shots off target: Weston 5, Oxford 4.

Corners: Weston 14, Oxford 1.

Offsides: Weston 2, Oxford 4.

Free kicks conceded: Weston 10, Oxford 18.

Referee: Neil Radford (Worcester). Good game, allowed play to flow.

Bookings; Weston, Pepperell. Oxford: Pond, Ballard, Mooney, Blossom.

Attendance: 701.

Weston squad: Irish, Price, Laird, Grubb, Villis, Martin, Ingram, Kirk, Kabba, Yooung (Trowbridge 46), Pepperell. Mascot: Tyler Morris (6). Subs (not used): Cleverley, Diallo, Mackay, Huxley, Jackson (goal).

ON Saturday, Weston are back in Blue Square South action with the long trip to Dover Athletic. The party leaves on Friday afternoon and will stay in Dover overnight. Weston should have played Staines Town at home last Saturday and this game has been rearranged for Tuesday, November 15 (7.45 pm).

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