Goals from Scott Laird, Marlon Jackson and a Dayle Grubb penalty were enough to see Weston beat visitors Salisbury 3-1.
Weston took the lead in the sixth minute when a Lloyd Humphries diagonal pass caused confusion amongst Calvin Brooks and Sam Roberts in the Salisbury defence. Leaving the ball for the oncoming Gerard Benfield, Laird stole in 18 yards out to nod the bouncing ball into an open net with it trickling agonisingly over the line.
Jacob Jagger-Cane had a shot blocked from inside the area by Roberts after being put through by Marlon Jackson, before a Seokjae Lee volley from 18 yards was blocked by a Weston man following the defence dealing with a Josh Wakefield free-kick. Weston then had a goal disallowed after James Dodd’s free-kick was brought down by Reuben Reid six yards out who slotted beneath the keeper, but the linesman’s flag denied the No.19 a goal.
Benfield tipped a Reid strike from 25 yards over the bar after he had intercepted a Salisbury pass on halfway and driven forward, before a Jordan Bastin corner dropped to Jackson six yards out and his weak left-footed effort from six yards out was cleared off the line by a defender. Max Harris was then grateful to see a 20-yard Josh Carmichael free-kick land in his arms.
Reid fired wide from inside the area after Bastin’s corner had been punched straight to him by Benfield, before skipper Dayle Grubb had the final attempt of the half when he controlled Bastin’s pass inside the area but his curling shot toward the far corner was pushed wide by Benfield.
In the second period, Lee had a 25-yard free-kick strike the wall and deflect away for a throw-in, while down the other end a short corner between Grubb and Bastin saw the former have a curling shot beaten away by Benfield at the near post. Lee then had a chance for Salisbury from substitute Jerry Lawrence’s layoff, but the curling 25-yard effort was held by Harris.
Weston were to double their lead just after the hour when Bastin fed Reid down the right. Looking to beat the covering defender, the ball deflected into the path of Jackson 18 yards out. The No.9 took the shot on first-time, Benfield pushing the ball onto the underside of the bar. With Weston players appealing that the ball had crossed the line, the linesman flagged that it was indeed a goal and Jackson was left to celebrate.
A third was to come three minutes later when Reid got down the left side of the area and was deemed to have been brought down by Roberts. The referee Andrew Hobbs pointed to the spot, and skipper Grubb stepped up to send Benfield the wrong way as calm as you like for his 12th league goal of the season.
Lee had a low effort from 25 yards held by Harris after he had drove past Jagger-Cane in midfield, before Grubb had a curling effort toward the near post beaten away by Benfield following a one-two with Bastin down the left.
Salisbury were to get themselves on the scoresheet when Lee’s ball to the back post was an inviting one for Josh Wakefield, who stole in ahead of Harris to volley a sidefooted effort past him and into the back of the net.
The late goal for the visitors was merely a consolation one however, as Weston comfortably saw the game out to keep up the pace with league leader Truro City.
FT: Weston 3-1 Salisbury (Laird 6, Jackson 63, Grubb pen 66 – Wakefield 87)
Weston XI: Harris, Pope, Laird (Jones 83), Jagger-Cane, Humphries, Avery, Dodd, Jackson, Grubb (C), Bastin (Murray 82), Reid (Griffith 82). Unused substitutes: Watts, Purnell.
MOTM: Lloyd Humphries.