HIGHLIGHTS: Weymouth 2-0 Slough Town
Weymouth claim huge win over play-off rivals Slough
McQuoid 51 pen, Robinson 89
SLOUGH TOWN 0
WEYMOUTH tightened their grip on third place in the Vanarama National South with a magnificent victory over play-off rivals Slough ahead of a very likely, unprecedented break in the season on the back of the coronavirus pandemic that is bringing professional sport to a standstill around the country.
In front of a bumper 1,578 crowd, Calvin Brooks could not quite find a deserved opening goal for the Terras with two big first-half chances.
Then it was a tale of two penalties after the break as Josh McQuoid fired the hosts ahead before keeper Jack Turner missed his spot-kick for the Rebels six minutes later.
Substitute Andy Robinson then added some gloss to the scoreline as he volleyed home a second to leave his side four points behind second-placed Havant & Waterlooville.
In the only change to the Terras’ starting XI from last weekend’s stalemate with Bath City, Abdulai Baggie dropped to the bench and was replaced by fit-again Jordan Ngalo, while Josh Wakefield was the only absentee from the matchday squad who had featured in Somerset.
The hosts enjoyed early territorial advantage but there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first 20 minutes after McQuoid had poked an early effort into the side-netting having been slipped in by Jaidon Anthony.
The Terras were to finally create a gilt-edged chance in the 20th minute when Ngalo jinked past his marker on the edge of the box before teeing up Brooks who only had the keeper to beat.
Alas the full-back could not make a clean connection with his shot allowing Turner to get down and block with his legs.
Three minutes later Ben Thomson won a free-kick 25 yards from goal but, on this occasion, Jake McCarthy’s delivery was poor as his driven set-piece bobbled straight into the grateful arms of visiting keeper Turner.
Brennan Camp had been in the thick of the action from the off and, not for the first time, he suffered some harsh treatment as Max Worsford bundled the Cherries’ loanee into the near touchline hoardings to earn the game’s first booking.
As the clocked ticked towards the half-hour mark Slough were finally beginning to make some inroads of their own while the Terras had begun a concerning habit of giving possession away cheaply on a bobbly pitch.
Enjoying their best spell, the visitors conjured chances for first, Matt Lench, who volleyed well over just before Ben Harris seized on an error from Tom Whelan only to drag his attempt wide.
The best opening of the half came 10 minutes ahead of the break.
Thomson cut the ball back for Ngalo who swept into the path of Brooks in space to fire in an effort towards the back post but, unfortunately, it rebounded back, just out of the reach of the lurking McQuoid.
Anthony was able to follow up however, but his effort was deflected away for a corner from which Slough were able to finally clear their lines.
Just before the break Slough were looking dangerous again when McCarthy conceded a free-kick 20 yards out but Worsfield’s delivery was nodded behind for a corner, from which Ward was forced to punch clear.
However, the danger was not over yet as Sean Fraser banged the ball back into the area and Ward endured a nervous moment as he collected the ball at the second attempt with Sam Togwell ready to pounce.
The action was to warm up a few notches during the early stages of the second period, helped considerably by the award of two penalties, one at either end.
Just four minutes back in Sean Fraser upended Brooks and with the award of a spot-kick it was clearly high time for Weymouth to improve their less than flattering penalty success record of nine from 17.
Clearly the situation called for a brave head and McQuoid was the man to show exemplary composure as he confidently dispatched his kick into the top-left corner with Turner throwing himself in the opposite direction.
However, the hosts had little time to settle on the lead as within six minutes the Rebels had a penalty of their own when Ollie Harfield needlessly pulled down Mark Nisbet.
Up raced Turner from one box to the other but this golden opportunity to bring his side level was to go begging as the keeper smashed his effort onto the bar which then allowed the Terras to counter as they cleared.
With Turner struggling to get back to his own goal, Thomson and McQuoid were rashly bundled over in a frantic counter attack; the result of which saw referee Dale Wootton leniently brandish a single yellow card to Warren Harris.
When the game finally settled, Matt Lench curled a decent effort just wide of the far post before Slough threatened again when Dan Roberts charged down a rash clearance from Ward following an under-hit back-pass from Shaun Hobson.
Alas, the ricochet was to clear the bar and the best chances the Rebels were to create from that point came in the 85th minute during a flurry of three corners.
From the first of those Josh Jackman back-heeled a looping volley that Ward was just able to flick over, and a minute later Guy Hollis headed the third corner just wide at the back post.
In the 88th minute Turner appeared to fully atone for his penalty miss as he pulled off a terrific double save to deny Anthony and Brooks after a fabulous run from substitute Baggie, but he could do nothing to prevent Robinson wrapping up the victory as he smashed home Harfield’s corner with a cool volley from 10 yards seconds later and Weymouth were able to comfortably see out the final stages.
Terras: Ward, Harfield, Whelan, Ngalo (Robinson 71), McCarthy, Thomson, McQuoid (Baggie 76), Anthony, Brooks, Camp, Hobson.
Subs not used: Childs, Odubade, Williams.
Slough: Turner, Jackman, S Togwell, Hollis, Hollis, L Togwell, Worsford, Lench, B Harris (Roberts 74), W Harris, Nisbet (Bird 86), Fraser (Davies 52).
Subs not used: Williams, Hodges.
Referee: Dale Wootton