Matthews’ squad left rocked by Rebels after penalty controversy
IT WAS just not to be the Terras’ night at the Bob Lucas Stadium as they were stunned nine minutes from time by Slough Town thanks to a Warren Harris winner.
Harris popped up to pinch the points for the Rebels 16 minutes after the game’s big talking point, in which Weymouth’s Chris Shephard was denied a second-half spot-kick.
The home side will feel aggrieved by that decision by referee James Robinson, but for all their possession, Weymouth could have and possibly should have had enough to have put the game beyond the visitors.
Going into what was an eagerly-anticipated contest, something had to give as both sides found themselves in positive form.
Weymouth, unbeaten in four in all competitions prior to kick-off, took on a Rebels outfit that had won their last five games and six of their last seven to sit second in the league table.
For the home side, boss Jason Matthews made just one change from the starting XI that secured a 1-1 draw at Leamington on Saturday.
Striker Stewart Yetton was replaced by winger Dan Smith, who took the number nine shirt. There was still no place in the squad for Jordan Copp.
Guy Hollis, Dan Hicks and Charlie Moone were all unavailable for the away side.
The Rebels did however welcome back Nathan Webb and Gurkan Gokmen into their squad and also called on the services of Charlie Mpi on the bench – he was back from Dubai for a week and registered with the club prior to the clash with the Terras.
The home side fashioned the first chance of the contest inside the opening minute. A throw-in taken by Mark Cooper on the right was worked by the hosts to Dan Smith but his shot was comfortable for Mark Scott in the Rebels’ goal.
A devilish ball from deep played by Charlie Davis then found Ben Thomson moments later, but he fired wide and was also offside.
In what was an opening 15 minutes which involved plenty of effort from the home side, they won the ball back once more in midfield and spread it out to Aaron Rodriguez. His left-foot drive, having cut inside, was well dealt with by Scott.
But the Rebels then showed their threat as an in-swinging corner found Mark Nisbet, who had stolen half a yard on his man but headed over the bar.
Harris then saw his shot from close range blocked by Weymouth’s Jake Wannell moments after.
The hosts continued to create opportunities in the opening half however, and Smith should arguably have done better after he was played in following a neat give-and-go in midfield.
The winger opted for placement over power in a bid to beat the keeper, but rolled the ball wide of the far post.
At the other end, following some inventive corner routines from the away side, a half-cleared ball fell to Harris, but he blazed over as the sides went in goalless.
The hosts showed their intent shortly after the interval as Aaron Rodriguez picked the ball up in a wide area and drove at the heart of the Slough defence but just failed to keep his shot down.
Shephard was then introduced by the home side in place of Billy Lowes and the huge talking point then ensued involving the Weymouth playmaker.
He appeared to be brought down in the box just a minute after coming on but referee Robinson was having none of it.
Jordan and Yetton were both then thrown on by Matthews as he rolled the dice in search of the winning formula.
But it was the Rebels, who had absorbed a considerable amount of Weymouth pressure, who found that all-important opener.
Another flamboyant move from a Slough corner was headed away by the hosts, but Nathan Webb’s cutback was not dealt with and there was Harris to smash the ball into the net and put Matthews’ men behind.
The Rebels could have sealed it four minutes from time as Mpi slid in after a cross on the counter but failed to get enough contact.
But it was not to matter as the Terras, who sent keeper Thomas up late on to attack a corner, were left to contemplate a home defeat.