Weymouth fall to fifth straight defeat
A VERY different strain of Bird Flu left Brendon King as sick as a parrot at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Saturday, as Nat Peacock and the Eagles inflicted a fifth straight loss on to his fragile Terras.
The hosts, who were flying high until just a few weeks ago, created a couple of really good openings in the first half, but as soon as they went behind their performance nose-dived in alarming fashion.
The end result saw Peacock go on and grab an 18-minute hat-trick before substitute Will Green completed the scoring in the closing stages.
To make matters even worse for Weymouth they also lost midfielder Jamie Skinner to a suspected broken leg just a minute after coming on as a second-half substitute.
The incident occurred following a poor tackle from Nick Beasant, who was justifiably given his marching orders.
Having conceded 11 goals and scored none in their last four outings, the Terras owed their fans a big performance, and it was no surprise to see Ed Palmer restored to the starting XI after completing a two-game ban.
He replaced suspended skipper Scott Walker and took up an unfamiliar role in central midfield, while Stephen Reed moved out to left wing-back. There was also a surprise up front where Matt Groves continued alongside Ben Joyce at the expense of leading scorer Mark Ford, who once again had to be content with a place on the bench.
Whilst the hosts were out to stop the rot, Bedford arrived in Dorset looking to stretch their winning run to three games, following comprehensive victories over AFC Totton and St Neots Town.
Having banged in seven goals in those two games the Eagles were clearly in confident mood but it was their opponents that had the first chance on 12 minutes when Joyce made a promising break, only to screw his shot wide of the target.
It was a poor effort by the talented striker but he did make amends moments later by lifting a delightful ball into Groves. The player/assistant-manager held off two defenders but his shot was too weak to trouble Ian Brown, who gathered at the second attempt.
Apart from a couple of threatening breaks the visitors had offered very little and on 24 minutes the Terras went close once more.
This time a free-kick on the edge of the box presented an opportunity for Palmer, whose powerful strike was turned away by the legs of Brown.
Despite the subdued atmosphere, the Terras were looking well organised but they were still lacking that cutting edge in the final third.
Further evidence of that came on 37 minutes when Palmer put Joyce in the clear. Once more the 23 year-old steadied himself but his attempt to beat Brown again rolled hopelessly wide.
After the break the Terras continued to threaten with another couple of efforts from Joyce but the game still remained fairly flat.
It desperately needed a goal and unfortunately for the home fans it eventually arrived on 56 minutes when the Eagles netted with just their second attempt on target.
Sam Poole switched off at the back for Weymouth and Peacock was quick to take advantage, applying the type of clinical finish that the hosts had been sorely lacking.
That goal immediately deflated the Terras and just seconds after making a double substitution on 63 minutes they conceded another.
Jamaine Ivy caused the initial threat with a surging run and when Michael Built’s close-range drive rebounded off home keeper Simon Evans, there was Peacock to guide home the easiest of tap-ins.
Brendon King’s men were once again folding like a pack of cards and it was no surprise to see Bedford go on and grab a third.
Confusion at the back between Jamie Richards and Evans let in Built and when his attempted lob ricocheted to Peacock, he nodded in from a couple of yards to complete his hat-trick.
Danny Clay then replied with a shot that deflected agonisingly wide before more misery for Weymouth saw Skinner stretchered off in agony following Beasant’s rash challenge.
With the Terras having used all their substitutes the incident meant both teams finished with 10 men.
To their credit the hosts pushed for a late consolation with Barry McConnell seeing an effort cleared off the line and Joyce firing a shot against the underside of the bar, but there was no disguising the fact that they had once again crumbled.
In fact, there was still time for Bedford to rub even more salt into the wounds with Green going on to net a deflected fourth in the dying minutes to add to the Terras’ embarrassment.