WEYMOUTH took the lead in nine seconds at Wealdstone on Saturday. That’s the official time recorded by the referee, Mr. Brian Couldrey who told me: “It’s the fastest goal I have ever seen in 21 years of refereeing. It was fantastic!”
It was, in fact, an own goal by Wealdstone defender, Dennis Byatt. Andy Rowland had touched the ball to Steve Claridge from the kick-off.
Claridge found Anniello Iannone, who hit the ball forward. Byatt, under pressure from the fast-breaking Peter Conning, turned to surprisingly lob over the head of home goalkeeper, Alex Welsh, who was stranded helplessly on the edge of the 18-yard box!
If the ball had not-spent another second or two bouncing on before ﬁnally entering the net, the ofﬁcial time might have rivalled the record fastest time for a goal scored in the Football League.
Mr. Couldrey said: “This could be the fastest own goal on record and almost certainly the fastest Goal scored in the GM Vauxhall Conference.”
The argument on the speed of the goal went on long after the match. “It must have been around six or seven seconds,” said members of both teams.
“With Peter Conning scoring another for Weymouth in the second half to extend Wealdstone’s run without a victory to 14 matches and with Conference leaders Barnet being held to a shock goalless draw, the Terras advanced to third place in the table.
Weymouth manager Stuart Morgan said: “Everybody must have been expecting us to do something similar to Wealdstone after their 5-1 hiding at Barnet last week. But we won 2-0 and did a professional job. And again, we didn’t concede a goal.
“ln 17 games we have now still only given away six goals. It’s a record we are proud of and the lads are defending it as though they do not intend to concede another!”
The game itself on a very heavy pitch was untidy and Weymouth did not have it at all easy.
But Wealdstone could not break down the Weymouth back row of Simon Burman, Willie Gibson, Shaun Teale and Paul Compton, while Peter Guthrie, in goal, was extremely confident in backing them up.
One of Guthrie’s saves turning a blasting shot from Micky Perry over his bar in the second half was superb.
Conning, too, was always catching the eye as he worked so hard from the midﬁeld.
Conning certainly kept his cool when Claridge headed the ball through in the 49th minute. He ran on in complete control of the situation before slipping the ball past Welsh.
But Weymouth might well have scored more, Iannone and Rowland missed good chances in the first half. Peter Turrell, replacing Rowland who was ill at half-time, and Dean Roberts both allowed opportunities to go begging in the second half.
Roberts, who replaced Morgan Lewis in the 67th minute, twice in quick succession sent the ball against the goalkeeper, after Claridge had made a ﬁne opening.
But, in the end, Weymouth did enough to deserve their three points to win their fourth match away from home this season.
Terras: Gutherie, Pugh, Gibson, Teale, Compton, Conning, Burman, Claridge, Rowland, Iannone, Lewis.
Subs on: Turrell, Roberts