A draw despite a dismissal in Dorset
Weymouth hosted Tonbridge Angels on Saturday afternoon. Before the game, the sides were separated by just a point. After nine goals in two fixtures last season, the 51st clash between the two outfits was eagerly anticipated.
A thin squad travelled to Dorset, the team‘s notable absentees were Jordan Greenidge (suspended), Sonny Fish (injured) and Joe Turner (unavailable). The lineup: Henly, Fielding, Lyons-Foster, Swift, Meade, Hinds, Wagstaff, Higgs, Pegrum, Gard, Shields.
The early positivity came for Weymouth, Ben Thomson doing well to supply Joel Rollinson who, from close range, failed to convert instead striking the post. The ball then ricocheted into the danger zone but was cleared by Jernade Meade.
Sean Shields opened the scoring within seven minutes of his return to the Bob Lucas Stadium, having played 72 games for Weymouth earlier in his career. The goal, a well slotted free kick from 25 yards, that beat Callum Smally down to his left in the Terras net.
Following on from the goal, the visitors held the momentum and were the better side for the majority of the first half. Chances for Meade and Pegrum were put wide and over respectively. Pegrum did force a good save from Smally on the half hour mark and Hinds the same a couple of minutes later after a messy scramble in the opposition box.
At half time, the Angels had looked the stronger of the two sides, but a better showing from Weymouth was expected after the break.
As predicted the Terras came out well from half time but not to a point of serious concern for the Angels. In fact, despite improvements from Weymouth, the visitors still looked the stronger outfit.
Around the hour mark, Jamie Fielding pounced on a cross from the left hand side, unfortunately heading too close to the goalkeeper to score. It looked a strong save but the defender would’ve been hoping to place it out of reach.
A red card for Ben Swift was the headline of the second half, his last ditch challenge was mistimed and resulted in dismissal. From the subsequent free kick, the hosts grabbed an equaliser courtesy of Dan Roberts who directed a strong header beyond Henly.
One of the biggest chances after the sending off came for Sean Shields who hit the crossbar from another free kick, showing his talent in dead ball areas.
Weymouth did pile the pressure on at times but Tonbridge didn’t buckle with ten men. Notably, Tom Parkinson, who was substituted on to help out at the back, had a strong performance.
And, despite the uphill battle Tonbridge faced in the closing period, the match ended one a piece, both teams failing to utilise late chances and consequently sharing the spoils.
It’s a tough one to take for the travelling fans who, at half time would've fancied all three points, for Weymouth, a point they might never have earned had it not been for a sending off.