Weymouth battle to Bluebirds draw
WEYMOUTH were pegged back once again by Chippenham Town in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division, as the two sides played out an highly entertaining draw at Hardenhuish Park.
The Terras put themselves in the box seat when Mark Cooper found the net from the edge of the area just past the hour mark but his goal was cancelled out by substitute Oli Taylor, who netted his second strike against the Terras this season just seven minutes later.
Following their 1-0 defeat at home to Biggleswade at the weekend, manager Jason Matthews made one change to his Terras’ starting XI.
Out went player-coach Chris McPhee in place of Jordan Copp, who reclaimed his place in the Weymouth midfield.
There was also a spot on the bench for number-two keeper Steve Boore after his heroics the previous Tuesday in the Red Insure Cup. Striker Conor Jevon was also included in the travelling party.
George Rigg failed to make the bench with an ankle problem, while Mark Molesley and Adam Kelly remained sidelined.
The Bluebirds, who were top of the pile when they came to the Bob Lucas Stadium in September, were held to a 1-1 draw at Stratford last time out. Powerful striker Ashan Holgate’s early strike set Chippenham on their way on Saturday.
He was named in the hosts’ line-up which included Conor McCormack, the Bluebird was sent off as a second-half substitute at the Bob Lucas Stadium. Striker Andy Sandell, who missed the reverse fixture, also featured from the start.
A win for the Terras meant they would leapfrog their opponents in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division table and they almost got an early breakthrough going down the slope in the opening period.
Bluebirds’ stopper Kent Kauppinen was swiftly off his line to snuff out an early chance and Weymouth striker Ben Thomson, who netted against Chippenham last time round, fired over the bar.
And Kauppinen was again called into action with around 10 minutes gone, pulling of a sublime save to keep the score at 0-0.
A neat Weymouth move saw the returning Copp feed Chris Shephard. He stood the ball up at the back post onto the head of midfielder Dean Evans.
Evans’ cushion header fell straight into the path of Stewart Yetton, whose strike looked to be heading into the back of the net, only to be denied by the Chippenham gloveman.
Shephard then forced another save by the home keeper and, at the other end, Matthews watched an effort from striker Sandell fly high and wide in what was a slow start from the Bluebirds.
In a lively opening 30 minutes for the away side, Weymouth almost scrambled the ball in from a corner, forcing another good save from Kauppinen – Copp stabbed over the top from range soon after.
Sandell then showed his threat in front of goal, rifling into the side netting out of seemingly nothing.
Chippenham’s Chris Allen, who recently signed a permanent deal with the club, then needed treatment after taking a knock and Holgate’s tame effort was gathered by Matthews.
The visitors then finished the opening period the stronger of the two sides. Matt Smith flicked narrowly over from an Allen corner and Greg Tindle’s shot deflected just wide.
Kauppinen was then called into action swiftly following the interval, and Chippenham’s Jon Beeden needed treatment after blocking a shot, as Weymouth put the pressure back on.
Taylor was introduced in place of Holgate for the hosts but, soon after, Weymouth were in front.
Full-back Cooper advanced forward and struck an effort which wrong-footed Kauppinen and found the back of the net just past the hour mark.
But the Bluebirds were then level once more and it was replacement Taylor, who also levelled things up when the sides last met, that made it 1-1. He headed home a devilish delivery from Smith.
And with that, Chippenham could have turned the game on its head. Sandell stuck an upright with an effort which looked to be goal bound and the Terras eventually managed to scramble the ball away. Matthews was then tasked with making a superb double save.
Skipper Yetton was then replaced by McPhee for the visitors as both sides were keen to push forward and it was nearly Shephard who won it for Matthews’ men.
He let fly and saw his attempt at goal skim the top of the bar as both sides were left to settle for a point apiece.