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Terras sail on as City are grounded in Weymouth
Weymouth pushed themselves into the Southern League play-off places on Saturday when brushing aside a lame St Albans City to clinch the points at a chilly Wessex Stadium with a comfortable 2-0 victory.
City were a pale imitation of the side that had won its previous four matches while the Terras displayed admirable determination to leapfrog their guests in the race for promotion.
Weymouth made one change from the side that won 6-1 at Kettering during the week with skipper Kyle Critchell replacing Jamie Skinner in midfield.
St Albans also made one alteration from their midweek win at Frome with James Kaloczi rested as Greg Ngoyi returned after injury.
Ngoyi came through a pre-match fitness test but struggled to make any impact before being withdrawn just after the hour.
In fairness to City’s front-men, Ngoyi and Brad Wadkins, the service they received was poor and try as hard as Wadkins clearly did, there was no way back for the Saints after Weymouth struck twice inside the opening 16 minutes.
Virtually right from the start Weymouth imposed themselves on the game and City appeared incapable of stemming the flow of attacks towards Nick Jupp’s goal.
Inside the opening minute a free kick caused City problems as it skimmed off Layne Eadie’s head and went out for a corner. Weymouth wanted an early goal and on six minutes their dominance was rewarded.
A long Ryan Wharton clearance was returned to the edge of the City penalty area by Sam Poole and picked up by Ben Joyce.
The Terras striker was denied by a fine save by Nick Jupp. Joe Bruce’s subsequent rushed clearance was seized upon by Barry McConnell whose clever curling cross was elegantly flicked into the visitor’s net by Critchell.
In a rare forward foray the Saints suggested that they could open up the home defence, although James Comley’s volley from a Chris Seeby cross went high over the crossbar.
City’s position looked perilous on 16 minutes when Weymouth’s leading marksman, Mark Ford, scored an excellent solo goal.
Jupp threw the ball out to Seeby whose upfield pass was intercepted by Stephen Reed. The Weymouth midfielder fed Ford who embarked on a long run from just inside the City half.
Other than for a falling challenge by Wharton, Ford breezed into the penalty area and beat Jupp with a clinically struck left-footed drive.
A Weymouth goal feast looked extremely likely at this point.
City, however, almost reduced the arrears when Chris Henry did well to get the ball from Terras defender McConnell only to screw his shot wide when stretching to reach the ball.
On the half hour Henry was denied a possible penalty when he appeared to be bundled over by Ashley Wells.
After a relatively quiet spell Weymouth reasserted their authority but Reed fired well over the City goal as he looked to repeat the magnificent goal he achieved in the meeting between the two sides last season.
On 41 minutes Richard Graham did well to clear from the goalline as a Sam Poole header from a corner beat the diving Jupp.
The second half offered little as a spectacle. Weymouth appeared confident that two goals was sufficient to secure the points and, until late in the day, St Albans posed little threat to suggest otherwise.
Weymouth mustered just one shot after the interval while City failed to get a single shot on target all afternoon and gained just a solitary corner. Compulsive viewing it was not.
City attempted to revive their fortunes with a double substitution on 62 minutes.
Ngoyi made way for David Keenleyside while recent signing Liam McGovern, from Hitchin Town, replaced Layne Eadie at left back.
Neither of City’s full backs, Eadie and Seeby, had days that they will recall with much pleasure but Weymouth did seem to target the attack minded Eadie who was probably relieved to have a break. In the middle of the defence Ryan Wharton and Joe Bruce were possibly City’s best performers on the day.
But however targeted Eadie felt he will have felt less uncomfortable than Matt Groves when his arrival in place of Ben Joyce brought howls of derision from home supporters.
It was only late in the half that either side showed any appetite to get close to goal but other than for a shot drifting wide by Graham – following a patient build up involving Seeby and Henry – there was little hope of the score changing.
The result sees City slip down to ninth in the Premier Division table but if results go right for them on Tuesday then they could jump into a play-off position.
For this to happen they will need to beat a Gosport Borough side at Clarence Park that is undefeated in 19 Southern League games. Kick off is at 7.45pm.
Weymouth: S.Evans, B.McConnell (J.Skinner 65), A.Wells, S.Reed, S.Poole, E.Palmer, K.Critchell, D.Clay, B.Joyce (M.Groves 83), M.Ford, D.Smith (C.Duff 74), subs; S.Walker, C.Povall.
Booked: Ford, Critchell.
St Albans City: N.Jupp, C.Seeby, L.Eadie (L.McGovern 62), J.Urquhart (C.Dove 77), R.Wharton, J.Bruce, R.Graham, B.Wadkins, G.Ngoyi (D.Keenleyside 62), J.Comley, C.Henry, subs; J.Kaloczi, M.Taylor.
Goals: 6 1-0 Critchell, 16 2-0 Ford.
Referee: Marc Whaley (Plymouth).