In the final friendly of pre-season, Weston played out an entertaining game with seven goals against a Bristol City XI.
Weston came close early on when a corner from Isaac Pearce was met by skipper Greg Tinde, and he thundered a header off the crossbar. The Weston trialist picked up the rebound but his shot was blocked by a scrambling Robins body.
The visitors took the lead when Antoine Semenyo slipped in Freddie Hinds, who picked out the bottom corner from inside the box to put the professionals one up.
Hinds drove over from 25 yards after turning, while a 25-yard Hakeeb Adelakun free-kick deflected off the Weston wall and just wide for a corner.
Weston equalised when a long kick by keeper Luke Purnell was nodded on by Nick McCootie, and strike partner Ben Whitehead controlled the ball. Turning away from his marker, and despite his shirt being held, the prolific striker kept his balance to pick out the bottom corner from inside the box and make it 1-1.
McCootie came close himself when the trialist drove forward and found the target man just outside the box, but the former Bath City striker drove wide from the edge of the area.
City regained the lead with the last kick of the half as a cross into the centre from Hinds found Semenyo, and his toe poke beat goalkeeper Purnell for 1-2.
Seven changes were made by Weston for the second half, and sub Jay Malshanskyj went close as he raced onto a long pass, got the wrong side of Tom Harrison but dragged wide from the edge of the box.
Weston worked Gilmartin for the first time in the game when a left-footed low cross from Welch found the Seagulls queueing up in the centre, but Howe’s side-footed effort from six yards was kicked away by Gilmartin.
From that attempt, City quickly burst down the other end and Hinds squared across to Semenyo who was unmarked, and he slotted into the corner to give Bristol City some breathing space.
A few minutes later, and the visitors had made it four. Former Newport County striker Semenyo twisted and turned in the area, and found the bottom corner of Niall Maher’s goal for 1-4.
Weston pulled one back when substitute Jarrad Welch picked the ball up 25 yards out and set himself, and with his trusty right foot from range, he picked out the bottom corner with Gilmartin left scrambling to keep it out.
Weston kept attacking their visitors and Jake Mawford had his shot saved by the feet of Gilmartin after a layoff from Howe, with Ryan Jones having a volley held by the Irish goalkeeper after neat passing between him, Tom Llewellyn and Howe. Jones had another attempt saved by Gilmartin at his near post this time, the young forward’s volley being pushed out for a corner after a Scott Laird pass over the top.
Howe got his goal when he was dragged to the floor by Joe Lowe attempting to get on the end of a Jones corner, with the referee pointing to the spot. Howe stepped up confidently, and fired into the roof of the net to reduce the deficit to one.
Howe had a chance to equalise at the death, but his volley from Mawford’s cross was held comfortably by the keeper in between the City sticks.
FT: Weston 3-4 Bristol City XI (Whitehead 29, Welch 70, Howe pen 87 – Hinds 8, Semenyo 45, 57, 60)
Weston XI: Purnell (Maher HT), Davies (Jones 73), Trialist (Randall HT), Parsons, Tindle (C) (Goodall 60), Laird, Hendy (Welch HT), Byrne (Mawford HT), McCootie (Howe HT), Whitehead (Malshanskyj HT), Pearce (Llewellyn HT).
MOTM: Alex Byrne