Rapai Shows His Strength Again In Thrilling Draw
For the second game in a row, new Albanian forward Irnti Rapai came off the bench to secure a point away from home for the Seagulls, this time away to Oxford City.
Weston started quickly, getting the opening goal two minutes into the fixture when a driven cross from Archie Collins towards Jake Reid was touched down as he attempted to control inside the box. But on hand was the stand-in captain, Dayle Grubb, who hammered an effort underneath the arm of Jack Stevens.
Oxford piled the pressure on in search of an equaliser, and got their reward when a cross from Rob Sinclair was half-cleared by the Weston defence, allowing the home captain Godfrey Poku to curl his effort past the Luke Purnell.
Dave Pearce nodded over from a Zac McEachran cross, before the game took a turn for the worst. Matt Paterson charged through on goal, with Aden Baldwin chasing him down. The Seagulls centre-back tugged Paterson back as he went to pull the trigger, committing the foul on the edge of the area. The referee showed no hesitation, and immediately dismissed Baldwin for the shirt-pull.
Poku drew a smart stop from Purnell after he spilt the ball inside the penalty area, with Weston then taking the lead just before half-time. Grubb ran forward with the ball, beating a couple of players until he was fouled on the edge of the box. As soon as the captain had dusted himself off, the camera-phones were out from the travelling supporters, with the ball only going in one place. The captain curled the ball around the wall and past the despairing dive of Stevens to give Weston the half-time advantage.
Oxford came out with a different purpose, and leveled the game for a second time when Reece Fleet took advantage of some hesitant Weston defending and smashed a bouncing ball into the corner for 2 – 2.
Oxford found themselves down to ten men when Freddie Grant committed a foul inside his own half on Jacob Cane, and was shown his second yellow card of the game.
However, Oxford took the lead two minutes afterwards when McEachran picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, and hammered a shot past the dive of Purnell to make the score 3 – 2.
But, two inspired substitutes from Marc McGregor linked up eleven minutes from time when Tristan Plummer beat his marker on the outside and drilled a cross across the face of goal, with Rapai bundling in from two yards out to endear himself even more to the travelling Seagulls supporters.
Jason Pope had a chance to win the game in added time for Weston, after playing a one-two with Cane, but Stevens made himself big and saved Pope’s one-on-one effort with his right foot.
FT: Oxford 3-3 Weston (Poku 14, Fleet 54, McEachran 77-Grubb 2,41, Rapai 79)
Weston XI: Purnell, Harper, Greenslade, Cane, Baldwin (S/O 28), Pope, Collins (Plummer 77), Diallo, Reid (Rapai 75), Grubb(C), Lee. Unused substitutes: Kington, Welch, Kingston.
MOTM: Dayle Grubb – Had the opposing defence on strings all game long, drifting past players effortlessly and a well-deserved brace to take his position as joint top league scorer this season so far.