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Havant & Waterlooville v Weston-super-Mare AFC

Havant & Waterlooville 1 - 2 Weston-super-Mare AFC
20 Jan 2024 - 15:00Westleigh Park

The Seagulls picked up their first three points of 2024 after a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Havant & Waterlooville.

Manager Scott Bartlett made two changes to his line-up after last week’s game at Gateshead, as Sam Avery and Rex Mannings were named in the starting XI from kick-off.

The first opportunity of the game fell Dayle Grubb’s way, but his shot from the edge of the area was just centimetres wide of the post in the early stages.

After that, the game fell into a lull with the ball being mainly confined to the middle third of the pitch in a slightly scrappy encounter.

Eventually, The Seagulls found their usual attacking rhythm midway through the half when Grubb found the influential Reuben Reid, whose left-footed drive found the side netting.

The game then quietened down again, that was until Weston took the lead just before half-time. Lloyd Humphries, playing in midfield with the return of Avery, played the ball forward. Reid timed his run perfectly and ran onto the ball before playing an immaculate ball across the penalty area for James Dodd to sidefoot home with a crisp first time finish at the back post to break the deadlock.

On the stroke of half-time, The Seagulls had a great chance to double the lead. This time, Dodd was the provider for Reid but his shot from 15 yards was well saved by Ross Worner, who dived to his right and clung on to the ball.

HALF-TIME: Havant & Waterlooville 0-1 Weston-super-Mare AFC

At the start of the second half, Humphries had the first sight of goal, but his effort went just wide.

It wasn’t until around the hour mark that Havant found a way into the game when ex-Sutton United man Roarie Deacon curled just over, and then minutes later Max Harris made his first notable save of the game with a wonderful save from a 25-yard free-kick from Jack Jebb.

The Hawks were now continuing to knock on the door and they eventually found a way through when a long pass forward from Ryan Seager found James Roberts in space and he calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Harris for a deserved leveller.

After grabbing the equaliser, Havant were hungry for more and Harris made another excellent stop to deny Seager, whose right-footed effort was destined for the back of the net.

At this stage, one might have been excused for feeling Weston would be fortunate to leave Hampshire with a point. However, The Seagulls had other ideas.

With just six minutes to go, Weston nudged themselves back in front. Dodd and Reid combined yet again as the former fed the latter, Reid then expertly held the ball up before playing in Humphries, who delightfully curled the ball past the outstretched palms of Worner to spark ecstatic scenes amongst the Weston players and fans behind the goal.

The busy Dodd had a chance to double the lead but his shot from the edge of the area was a cat’s whisker wide of the post.

The second goal breathed new life into the Weston players, who were then able to see the game out in a professional and disciplined fashion to earn a most welcome three points on the road.

FULL -TIME: Havant & Waterlooville 1-2 Weston-super-Mare AFC (Roberts 65; Dodd 39, Humphries 84)

Weston-super-Mare AFC: Harris, Thomas, Bastin, Pope, Avery, Humphries, Jagger Cane, Dodd, Mannings, Grubb (Kempster 82), Reid.

Unused substitutes: Edwards, Fletcher, Jackson, Soule.

Attendance: 1,001

Man of the Match: Some excellent performances in a gritty win, but Lloyd Humphries deserves the accolade after his fantastic winning strike.