Seagulls make it two out of two
Weston-super-Mare earned their second home win of the week on Tuesday evening, overcoming Havant & Waterlooville 3-2 at The Woodspring Stadium.
A dominant first-half display gave the Seagulls a two-goal cushion, thanks to Ollie Barnes forcing home from a corner and Brad Ash’s clinical penalty.
The visitors were visibly rejuvenated for the second half, and Weston were made to sweat after Scott Donnelly converted a spot-kick on 47 minutes, but substitute Scott Wilson eased the pressure with a fantastic individual finish with just over ten minutes to play.
James Hayter came off the bench to pull one back for Havant with added time fast approaching, but the Seagulls were able to hold on to secure successive league wins for the first time this season.
Ryan Northmore made one change to the side that defeated St. Albans City on Saturday, bringing in recently re-signed Syd Camper for Ben Withey, while Clayton Fortune missed out once again through suspension.
The Seagulls started the game with similar vigour that kick-started their recovery last season, and missed a good early chance through Joe McClennan, who volleyed well over the crossbar when well placed in the centre of the penalty area.
With the home support in good voice, Weston began to overrun Havant in midfielder, particularly through the commanding charges of Dayle Grubb and Tristan Plummer, with the Hawks reduced to some last ditch defending.
And after Syd Camper’s cross-cum-shot was tipped behind by Hawks keeper Ryan Young for a corner, Alex Byrne once again displayed his skills over the dead ball, bending a wicked cross into an awkward area.
Grubb reacted fasted and chopped away from a defender to force an opening before seeing his deflected effort trickle into the path of Ollie Barnes, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give the Seagulls the lead with 19 minutes on the clock.
Weston continued to push, with Plummer and McClennan going close to a second goal, and it duly arrived with 40 minutes elapsed.
Grubb picked up possession 30 yards from goal, striding forward and striking towards the target, but his effort inadvertently deflected off Ash, spinning into the path of Plummer with the pacey striker nipping in ahead of Young, who rashly felled the Seagulls’ forward, forcing referee Steven Plane to point to the spot.
Weston’s man of the moment, Brad Ash, confidently stepped up to the spot and converted to the ‘keeper’s right without a shade of nervousness, giving Northmore’s side a deserved two-goal lead at the break.
The second half was far from nerveless, however, with Weston affording Havant a route back into the match via a soft penalty, conceded when Jamie Edge lost his footing on the heavy playing surface and stumbled into Marvin Morgan, bundling the lanky forward to the deck on 47 minutes.
Scott Donnelly effortlessly finished from 12 yards, stroking the ball to the opposite side of Luke Purnell’s fruitless dive.
Weston were under the cosh, and were forced into some heroic defending to preserve their lead as the Hawks searched for a leveller, but the introduction of Scott Wilson with 20 minutes remaining would prove to be the telling factor.
Having only been on the pitch for seven minutes, Wilson demonstrated his well-rounded skillset, leaping to control Jacob Cane’s clipped ball on his chest before rolling his defender. Wilson drove towards goal and held off the firm challenges of Jake McCarthy and Hawks skipper Brian Dutton to roll the ball out of the reach of Young and into the bottom corner.
The relief was palpable, and the pace of the game slowed as it neared a conclusion, though there was time for veteran poacher James Hayter to get one back, heading home an inviting cross on 88 minutes, though it seemed he applied a firm push to Edge in the process.
With the game entering four minutes of additional time, Weston were able to close the game out without further angst, earning another priceless three points.
Final Score: Weston-super-Mare 3-2 Havant & Waterlooville (Barnes 18, Ash 40[pen], Wilson 77; Donnelly 47, Hayter 88)
Weston starting XI: Purnell, Edge, Camper, Cane, Keary, Barnes, McClennan (Pope), Ash, Plummer (Wilson), Grubb (c) (Wring), Byrne.
Substitutes: (not used) Burton, Withey.
Man of the match: Ollie Barnes – One of many candidates, but edges it for grabbing the vital first goal and serving a key role in a stout defensive showing in the second half.
Match report written by Sam Frost