Weymouth’s home fans have had to wait a long time for a home game, but on Saturday it was well worth the wait as the Terras put on a scintillating display of attacking football, hitting a Slough side who had won ten of their last sixteen games for six.
Attacking the old speedway end for a change in the first half, the first chance of the game fell for the Terras early on. Adam Kelly linked up well with Ben Thomson in the box before pulling it back for Chris Shephard, but he blazed his effort over the bar.
Slough responded by winning a corner which Fulham loanee Dawber did well to punch clear, before claiming the ball comfortably when it was sent back in.
Straight down the other end, Dean Evans had a great chance to give his side the lead when he was teed up on the edge of the area, but he didn’t quite get hold of the strike and it was comfortably saved by visiting goalkeeper Mark Scott.
But Evans wouldn’t have to wait much longer for another bite at the cherry, and he took his next chance in emphatic fashion.
Ben Thomson showed great tenacity to win the ball back on the edge of the area, and it bounced perfectly into the path of Evans who smashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net from 25 yards to give Weymouth the lead on 29 minutes.
Slough had been well in the game up until that point but suddenly the floodgates opened, and within two minutes it was 2-0.
Defender Mark Cooper set off on a surging run forwards, shaking off the attentions of 4 or 5 Slough defenders. The keeper came off his line and Cooper delicately lobbed the ball over his head, and Ben Thomson was on hand to bundle the ball home on the line to claim the goal and double the advantage.
Slough were at sixes and sevens at the back, and another three minutes later Thomson had his second – smashing Chris Shephard’s pin-point delivery home for 3-0. Three goals in five minutes, not bad at all!
Weymouth were a class above the visitors, and it was very nearly 4-0 when Adam Kelly’s centre was met by Shephard, but the winger again failed to find the target.
Slough were no doubt relieved to get into the dressing room and re-group at half time, but it didn’t seem to do them much good, as less than ninety seconds into the second half any faint hopes of a miraculous comeback were extinguished.
Chris Shephard was sent flying down the left wing, and this time he made no mistake – slotting the ball coolly into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.
The home fans were lapping it up, and they were nearly celebrating again shortly afterwards when Slough failed to clear their lines and Kelly tried his luck from the edge of the D, but his shot flew wide.
Loanee goalkeeper Andrew Dawber had been a mere spectator for much of the contest, but he was very nearly caught out when he took too much time to clear his lines and was robbed of the ball by Charlie Mpi. But thankfully for the young goalkeeper Calvin Brooks somehow managed to get back and clear the ball off his line to avoid any embarrassment.
Weymouth were in irresistible form. There wasn’t even an hour on the clock when they made it 5-0. This time Cooper did get his name on the scoresheet. He linked up brilliantly with Chris Shephard and Mark Molesley for what was probably the move of the game, which eventually ended up with the big full back rifling his shot into the top corner beyond the despairing reach of Scott in the Slough goal.
To their credit, Slough did continue to try and play, and they came close to a consolation goal when Nathan Webb shot just wide of the mark.
But they couldn’t live with the Terras, and twenty minutes from time they were getting ready to kick off yet again.
More slick passing football saw the ball worked into the left channel. It was latched onto by substitute George Rigg, and he kept his composure to fire beneath the onrushing keeper for a sixth goal.
And just when Slough thought their afternoon couldn’t get any worse, substitute Kensley Maloney was given his marching orders for a nasty challenge on goal scorer Rigg.
Weymouth tried to rub more salt into the wounds by bringing Stewart Yetton off the bench, and the striker was inches away from getting in on the act. Cooper sent a teasing ball in towards the back post but Yetton couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Twelve minutes from time the Rebels did at least give their healthy band of travelling supporters something to cheer about when Ed Smith pounced as the defence failed to properly clear their lines, and the striker fired home from the edge of the six yard area to at least ensure there was no clean sheet for the Terras.
But the late goal wasn’t to take the gloss off of what was an absolutely outstanding performance from the Terras, and a big win against a side who are certainly no mugs.
The victory moves Weymouth back to within one point of the top five, with up to three games in hand on most of the sides above them.
They are still fifteen points adrift of runaway leaders Poole after the Dolphins picked up a fairly routine 2-0 victory at second bottom Bedworth United.
They took the lead on 38 minutes, when Bedworth goalkeeper Tom Bryce came for and failed to claim a cross, and after a scramble in the area Marvin Brooks eventually scored from close range to put the league leaders in front.
Despite the difficult conditions in the midlands Poole were pretty comfortable throughout, and Gosport loanee Lee Wort sealed the points with his second goal of the week ten minutes from time.
They’re now twelve points clear of their nearest challengers Chippenham & Hungerford – neither of whom played over the weekend.
Elsewhere Dorchester continue to struggle to find consistency, as they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Biggleswade Town.
Tarbuck had an early opportunity for the Magpies but he failed to find the target, whilst Waders goalkeeper Ian Brown was on his toes to stop Liam Sayers’ shot.
Jake Smeeton thought he’d given the Magpies the lead but his header was cleared off the line by a covering defender on the half hour mark.
Dorchester were marginally on top in the first half, and they started the second half brightly too. Luke Holmes tried his luck from range but his shot flew wide.
In a rare foray forwards Biggleswade thought they had taken the lead when Walker-Harris spilled the ball and Inih Effiong was on hand to pick up the pieces, but to his frustration the goal was ruled out for a foul.
But eventually on 72 minutes Effiong did get one that counted.
Craig Daniel set off on a surging run from midfield, found Effiong, and his shot beat Walker-Harris to give the Waders what proved to be the only goal of the game, and a crucial three points.
The defeat see’s Dorchester drop to tenth in the table – five points off the play-offs.
They’ll need to bounce back quickly as they face another long and difficult away trip to Kettering Town on Tuesday night.
The poppies made a stuttering start following promotion last season, but in recent weeks they’ve made a number of big signings, and are beginning to build up a head of steam with just one defeat in their last six games. They currently sit one place and two points above Dorchester.
The Magpies then host second placed Chippenham Town on Saturday, whilst Weymouth travel to 13th placed St Neots Town, and Poole will be hoping to repeat Weymouth’s performance when they welcome Slough Town to Tatnam.
We’re now into a crucial stage of the season where the games come thick and fast, and every point becomes more and more crucial at both ends of the table. It’s set to be an intriguing couple of weeks!