Opening day defeat for Weymouth against Cambridge City
CAMBRIDGE CITY 1 (Reynolds 23) WEYMOUTH 0
A DURAN Reynolds header proved decisive and left Weymouth feeling deflated after their season opener against Cambridge City.
Reynolds popped up unmarked from a corner to score midway through the opening period at Westwood Road, while visiting captain Stewart Yetton saw his penalty attempt well saved just short of the break.
The Terras entered the season with a boost before a ball was even kicked earlier in the day with striker Yetton revealing to Echosport that he had agreed a contract extension with the club.
He skippered the side as player-manager Jason Matthews handed league debuts to summer signings Pat Baldwin, Mark Cooper and Billy Lowes in his starting XI.
New Weymouth midfielder Mark Molesley was also named in the squad against his former club, as he was deemed to have been fit enough to come back from a knee injury.
The 34-year-old was part of the Lilywhites’ squad for the 2005-06 season, after switching from Hayes.
Other big news on the injury front also came as player-coach Chris McPhee, who was expected to be left out with an ongoing hand problem, took a place on the Weymouth bench after getting the all-clear a day previously.
There was no spot for new striker Josh Grant as the club could not get international clearance in time following his recent spell in the US, but midfielder Matt Buse was listed in the visiting squad.
Cambridge, who finished 13th in the division last term before moving to their new home at St Ives, managed to add defender Danny Burns and frontman Michael Malcolm, who was at one point linked to have a trial with German outfit Werder Bremen, to their ranks in time for the encounter.
The latter had to settle for a place on the bench initially.
Lilywhites’ boss Gary Roberts also included summer recruits Philip Ojapah and Alex Serrano and both started from the outset.
And as both sides came out of the blocks quickly following their pre-season preparations, it was Cambridge’s Buster Harradine who came close on 11 minutes.
After Weymouth conceded a free-kick from range, the Lilywhites’ man tried his luck from distance with an effort which just fell over the top of goalkeeper Matthews’ crossbar.
The visiting stopper was however called into action nine minutes later, pushing new man Burns’ effort away.
But despite his best attempts, the player-boss could do nothing to prevent Cambridge opening the scoring on 23 minutes.
A corner from Harradine found Reynolds unmarked at the back post, and he powered a header into the back of the net from the set-piece to put his team in front.
Yetton, who scored the winner when the Terras won away from home against City last term, then had an opening when he was allowed to move into space in search of a response, but the ball eventually ran out for a goal kick.
Still pushing for a leveller, Weymouth then had a glorious opportunity to make it 1-1 when Adam Kelly was felled inside the area by Lee Chaffey, and referee Dan Robathan pointed to the penalty spot.
And it was Terras’ talisman Yetton who stepped up five minutes before the break, only to see his well-struck effort saved by home keeper Zac Barrett, who dived to his right to deny the hitman his first league goal of the campaign.
Barrett then showed sharp instincts to get up and deny Yetton once more on the follow-up.
With a quiet start to the second period, Weymouth then looked to change things up as assistant-manager Tim Sills was replaced by former Cherries’ man Molesley.
Matthews was then forced into making a sharp stop to prevent the hosts doubling their lead, and Jordan Copp replaced Lowes soon after.
McPhee was then introduced in one final throw of the dice for the Terras, who started to carve out chances in a bid to level things up.
He came on in place of Jake Wannell as the away side adopted a much more attacking shape with around 10 minutes left on the clock and had their counterparts on the back foot.
New signing Baldwin then went close as he advanced forward and put the ball just wide after Dean Evans played the ball into the danger zone.
Lilywhites’ Harradine was then cautioned late on after bringing down Kelly on the edge of the Cambridge area but the free-kick came to nothing which rather summed up the day for Matthews’ men.
Cambridge City: Barrett, Lewis, Day, Burns, Chaffey, Reynolds, Serrano (Dawkin), Ojapah, Phillips (Malcolm), D Kelly (Kaye), Harradine. Sub not used: Midgley
Terras: Matthews, Cooper, Wannell (McPhee), Evans, Baldwin, Brooks, A Kelly, Rigg, Yetton, Sills (Molesley), Lowes (Copp). Subs not used: Wells, Buse
Bookings: Cambridge City – Harradine (foul)
Terras – None
Referee: Dan Robathan (Luton)