Clifford goal lands points
ERITH & BELVEDERE 0
A SMARTLY headed goal from Steve Clifford in the 40th minute was enough to give Weymouth victory.
The 17 year-old turned up trumps after recovering from tonsillitis.
Two minutes later Chris Shaw jinked past four Erith and Belvedere defenders and was unlucky to beat goalkeeper Kevin Foster but see the bail rebound from a far post.
If Weymouth had gone 2-0 up, I feel sure they would have gone on to win well.
But, as it was, they found it hard, struggling in the second-half and ﬁnishing hanging on as Erith missed a succession of chances.
Even so, this was a useful success – the Terras’ third win away from home – to enable Weymouth to maintain their challenge at the top of the Beazer Homes Southern Division.
Manager Len Drake said: “We won playing not so well. We had some luck, but rode it to get away with three good points.
“But there are not so many teams who will go to Erith and come away with anything. They have an experienced side and to some extent knocked us out of our stride. But we had enough chances to have won it in the ﬁrst-half.
“We fought and literally scrabbled our way to the points. But if you have aspirations to go for the championship, this is the sort of luck you need.”
In the ﬁrst-half Weymouth relied a lot on their ﬁve men at the back, with Alex Browne sweeping well and skipper Steve Pugh, playing in his last game before starting a three-match suspension, battling strongly alongside Gary Fullbrook, Steve Kidd and Willie Gibson.
Either side of the half-hour Weymouth’s goalkeeper Steve Weaver made two fine saves, bravely coming off his line to snatch the ball from the feet of lively Ken Hoyte and pulling down a ﬁerce drive from Trevor Young.
Then came Clifford’s goal strike, after Jorge Diaz had found him with a dropping centre.
But Erith came back in the second-half to show why they had done so well in their last match to draw 1-1 away to the leaders Hastings.
Weymouth had to battle, none more so than Shaw, who worked so hard from the midﬁeld, pushing forward whenever he had the chance.
Drake took Tony Cook, full of cold symptoms, off after 67 minutes and sent out Paul Watts to add width down the right.
And within three minutes, Will Flint went close for the Terras, beating the goalkeeper but seeing the ball cleared about two feet from the line.
But over the ﬁnal 20 minutes Erith, who sent out both their substitutes, missed a number of concrete chances.
Twice Weaver was well off his line as shots skipped just inches wide and Hoyte twice squandered good chances in lifting the ball over the bar from close-range.
It had been a close call for the visitors, but they held on to take three precious points.
Weymouth: Weaver, Fullbrook, Gibson, Kidd, Pugh, Browne, Diaz, Shaw, Cook (Watts 67th min), Flint, Clifford.
Sub not used: Bourne.