Seagulls Storm Past Oxford
Waking up on a blustery and drenched Tuesday morning, the prospects of a completed game of football, let alone a thrashing of one of the league’s premier outfits, seemed particularly remote for fans of Weston-super-Mare.
Storm Imogen did ‘her’ best to dash the efforts of groundsman, Bob Flaskett, with wind and rain battering The Woodspring pitch over the weekend, but the hard work was not to be wasted: the surface passed an early inspection.
The game itself was equally surprising, considering the convincing 3-0 reverse dealt out by Oxford to the Seagulls in August, and barring an early scare, it was ironically plain sailing in terrible conditions for Ryan Northmore’s side.
Inside the opening two minutes, Matty Whichelow breezed through on goal, profiting from Ben Withey’s slip, but his effort was superbly saved by Luke Purnell, trickling behind to safety.
Weathering the early storm, the Seagulls took the Helm. Joe McClennan – as he has done with such regularity of late – held absolute sovereignty on his flank, whipping in a wicked cross that was only half cleared, allowing Tristan Plummer to tidy up, scoring for the second consecutive game.
If the first goal was routine, the second was nothing short of spectacular. Right-back Withey picked up a defensive clearance 40 yards from goal, before jinking inside an onrushing City man and thumping into the top corner with his supposedly weaker left foot.
Withey’s strike was testament to the confidence is currently oozing from the Seagulls right now. Taking on such an audacious effort displays the trust in their talent, system and framework that has led the Seagulls to eight league games without defeat.
It soon got worse for this visitors. David King was sent off on 25 minutes after receiving a second yellow card for a cynical challenge on Scott Wilson that on another night may have merited a red card on its own.
Wilson shook it off and registered on the scoresheet just minutes later, harassing City ‘keeper Laurie Walker into a mistake, stealing possession and slotting home to score to make it three.
Oxford did hit back just before the break, with Jose Lapoujade tuning smartly before poking past Purnell into the corner of the net, though it did little to deter the Seagulls who resumed after the interval with comparable vigour.
Chance after chance was spurned by the Seagulls, before Wilson put the game to bed shortly after the hour, following up on Plummer’s parried effort, calmly tucking into the vacant Oxford net to make it 11 goals in as many games for Weston’s number nine.
A man down, Oxford failed to grasp any degree of authority in the match, though their second goal was something special. Whichelow speculatively went for goal from all of 35 yards, sending a fierce shot dipping over Purnell to narrow the deficit.
Regardless, there were more goals out there for Weston, and they registered a fifth when second-half substitute Syd Camper finished off a flowing move after a pinpoint ball from Wilson put him through on goal just one minute after he emerged from the bench. Camper, with finesse aplenty, coolly found the bottom corner from 18 yards.
In truth, more goals wouldn’t have flattered Northmore’s side, but without doubt the Weston boss will be more than satisfied with 10 goals scored in two games. Don’t forget, they haven’t lost in the league since November. The Seagulls are soaring.
Final score: Weston-super-Mare 5-2 Oxford City
Goals: Weston – (Plummer 9, Withey 19, Wilson 32, 67, Camper 75.) Oxford City – (Lapoujade 44, Whichelow 72).
Weston XI: Purnell, Withey, Barnes, Cane, Keary, Fortune, McClennan (Davis 80), Plummer (Camper 75), Wilson, Grubb (c) (Edge 78), Byrne.
Substitutes not used: Wring, Pope.
Man of the match: Joe McClennan – Rampant on the right flank, creating chance after chance. McClennan is on fire. (Selected and sponsored by Altodigital.)
Match report written by Sam Frost