Scott Bartlett’s men returned to winning ways in the league with an excellent performance against Dorchester Town in a 1-0 win away from home.
Dayle Grubb had the first opportunity of the night, curling wide from 18 yards when a Scott Laird cross was cleared to him on the edge of the area. Lucas Vowles had a volley blocked at the back post when Lloyd Humphries flicked on a Grubb corner, before Vowles curled wide from the edge of the area following a one-two with Jordan Bastin.
Laird had his first chance of the evening when connecting with a Will Turner cross, but his header lacked any power and dropped harmlessly wide of the target. Laird fired over a few minutes later when collecting the ball following a blocked Bastin shot 25 yards out, yet fired over the crossbar. Home keeper Gerard Benfield was called into action for the first time when diving low to his left to push away a sidefooted Grubb effort following a Vowles backheel through to him.
Grubb was again going close after winning the ball in midfield and driving forward, arrowing a shot from 20 yards just wide of Benfield’s post. The hosts came forward four minutes before half-time to carve out their first half-chance, Oakley Hanger’s low cross being cleared to Ashley Wells outside the area. The Dorchester skipper arrowed an effort towards the far corner, the strike smacking off the crossbar and bouncing away to Weston’s relief. Grubb had the final chance of the half, this time curling wide of Benfield’s goal from 25 yards.
Dorchester had the first chance of the second period when Kieran Phillips teed up Christos Papakonstantinou for a shot 18 yards out, but he curled wide of Luke Purnell’s goal. Grubb again went close for Weston, latching onto a smart Bastin flick round the corner for the No.10 to drive into the box. Taking the ball on his left foot, his low strike was held by Benfield. Grubb then had a chance from a free-kick 18 yards out, his shot hitting the wall and bouncing away for a corner.
The Seagulls did break the deadlock on the hour mark however, a goal they richly deserved. Fresh from coming off the bench, Nick McCootie held the ball up and laid it off to Vowles, whose shot was blocked. The ball bounced for Lloyd Humphries, who got there just ahead of his marker. Flicking the ball over one home defender, he smashed in a right-footed volley from 18 yards out before wheeling away to celebrate his first goal of the season.
Humphries had a chance to extend the lead 10 minutes later when a Will Turner cut-back found him in a similar position to his goal, but his sidefooted effort was easy enough for Benfield to collect.
With around 15 minutes left on the clock, Weston were forced into a change when Luke Purnell suffered a blow to the head from Lerone Plummer’s boot while collecting a low cross. The stoppage of around 15 minutes saw Purnell treated by the physios of both sides, as well as paramedics attending the ground to aid Weston’s No.1 and assist him when walking off the pitch. With no substitute keeper on the bench, McCootie offered to take on the gloves for the remaining minutes while Mike Symons came on in his place up front.
Dorchester had one final chance of the game when Plummer met a Wells free-kick at the back post, but he volleyed wide of the target with the goal gaping.
The Seagulls held on with a brilliant display all over the park as their focus now turns to Saturday’s FA Cup Second Qualifying Round clash with Taunton Town at The Optima Stadium.
FT: Dorchester 0-1 Weston (Humphries 60)
Weston XI: Purnell (Symons 74), Turner, Laird (McCootie 55), Jagger-Cane, Avery, Pope, Murray, Humphries, Vowles, Grubb (C), Bastin. Unused substitutes: Griffith, Kempster.
MOTM: Lloyd Humphries