Clinical Merthyr topple wasteful Weymouth
A STRONG showing from Glyn Garner in the Merthyr goal earned his side a 1-0 smash-and-grab victory over Weymouth.
A first-half goal from Kayne McLaggon from a corner was the only goal of the game during a first half that lacked pace and quality.
Chris Shephard, Dean Evans and Stewart Yetton all had chances to level for the home side but, they found Garner in his way as his side came away with the points.
There were three changes for the hosts from their comfortable win in the FA Trophy over Wantage Town last weekend. Stephane Zubar failed a fitness test and was replaced by Ashley Wells with Jake Wannell stepping infield to partner Calvin Brooks.
Conor Jevon was dropped to the bench in place of Stuart Fleetwood. Ben Thomson didn’t make the squad through injury and Sam Jordan was also absent after signing a dual deal with Melksham Town. Shephard did make the bench though as he continues to recover from injury.
Even with the Terras playing a highly attacking side, they struggled to break down the compact visitors. And it was the Martyrs who had the first real chance of the game. A free-kick found Gethin Jones at the back post but, he headed over from a few yards out.
The front four of Weymouth were struggling to connect properly and they were restricted to long shots. Dan Smith and Dean Evans both tried their luck, both failed to hit the target.
The best chance of a frustrating half for the hosts came from Bradley Tarbuck in the 15th minute. The winger capitalised on a mistake at the back to get hold of the ball. He brushed past two challenges but, the angle for the shot was tight and even though he beat Glyn Garner, the shot dribbled past the post.
Both sides continued to cancel each other out as the half progressed. Fleetwood and Stewart Yetton were struggling to get into the game. Their frustrations best summed up by Fleetwood’s dogged attempts to win the ball after hefty clearances from the backline.
Weymouth did have a couple of penalty shouts but, both were turned down by the referee, much to the ire of the home crowd.
They had more to shout about on the stroke of half-time as the Martyrs took the lead through top scorer McLaggon. A corner from the right fell into the six-yard box and after a few failed shots and clearances, the striker was there to pounce, poking the ball into the bottom corner.
The Terras came out with intent after the break. Lowes fed Smith who put a shot over the bar before Yetton struck the post with a header after good work from Tarbuck.
Moments later, Jason Matthews had to make a low save from McLaggon. The player-manager had to be held back by Calvin Brooks as he launched a tirade of words at Wannell after the defender had let the striker go. Emotions were certainly running high.
McLaggon was starting to show why he is highly rated as a lofted ball from the Martyrs found the in-form attacker.
He volleyed just over before testing Matthews again soon after with a low, skimming shot.
It was now an end-to-end game as the Terras pushed forward looking for an equaliser.
Yetton hit the post before Mark Cooper saw his effort cleared off the line. Chris Shephard then came on and had a strong impact on the game.
He forced Garner into a couple of good saves from the edge of the box. More chances came and went for the hosts as they threw on Jevon and Charlie Davis to try and get something from the game.
Garner was also in the way of Dean Evans, tipping his header over the bar as the Terras continued to put the pressure on.
However, the Martyrs stood firm – helped by some dubious calls from referee – and held out, even looking good on the counter.
After the final whistle, there was a firework display at the BLS. Not many fans stuck around after a frustrating showing from their side.