High-flying team with big ambition halted by second place (by Josh, 16, Jill Dando News)

By Josh, 16, Jill Dando News

Match report Weston Super-Mare 0-1 Truro City   

A cold and wintery seaside afternoon saw an unfortunate 10 men Weston super Mare side in Somerset pipped by second place Truro city who now move within 1 point of league leaders. 

The big tie was held a walk from Jill Dando’s childhood home in Weston-super-Mare, the scene of their good news centres now spreading across the county and world.

This was a game with a little bit of everything, a first half winner, a missed penalty and a controversial sending off, all played out in an action-packed 1st v 2nd clash watched by 1,134 fans in The Optima stadium. 

As first in the table hosted second, just after halfway through the season, this matchup was always going to be a mouth-watering affair.  

The Seagulls looked to secure their 19th win of the season and strengthen their lead at the top of the non-league premier, while their visitors from Truro looked to inflict the seagulls first defeat since November.  

A cagey first 25 minutes saw some crunching challenges, pushes and shoves as both teams were eager to start the afternoon with dominance. Despite this, there were no clear chances for either side. With both sides having so much at stake, it was apparent early on that we were in for a fiery and passionate top of the table showdown.  

The game sprung into life around the half hour mark when Truro number 7 Adam Porter swung in a delightful ball which met striker Tyler Harvey’s head. Luckily for the Weston back line, the striker’s headed effort was pushed behind by Weston keeper Luke Purnell for a Truro City corner. Defence was quickly turned into attack when James Dodd moved the ball out to player – assistant manager Scott Laird who fired wide.  

The deadlock was eventually broken after 42 minutes when Truro’s Jason Pope slid the ball into Tyler Harvey in space who delivered it on a plate for Andrew Neal to nod home from close range in a ‘smash and grab’ goal. Celebrations from Harvey seemed to aggravate the Weston fans behind the goal who were rightly frustrated to see their team be opened just before the break. This was the last action of an interesting first 45 at the Optima.

When the second half kicked off, Weston looked sloppy. A few misplaced passes including one meant for Dodd resulted in a booking, after a shirt pull on Adam Porter just outside the area.  

Minutes later the referee was welcomed with a sarcastic cheer and round of applause from the home fans after awarding a free kick to Weston 30 yards out. Defender Lloyd Humphries stood over the free kick eyeing up an equalising goal. A powerful strike was parried out for a corner by Truro keeper James Hamon who was surely concerned by the effort. The corner unfortunately amounted to nothing as the Cornish visitors were let off the hook once again. Surely a leveller wasn’t far away for the boys in white.  

Shortly after, the hosts were given a golden chance to do just that when Reid was brought down inside the penalty area. Up stepped captain Dale Grubb to square it up for his side from 12 yards out. To his despair, Hamon guessed the right way to deny the Weston skipper and keep his side in front, much to the delight of the few Truro fans who made the trip up from Cornwall.  

Frustration was building for Super-Mare as they just couldn’t find a way through the spirited Truro defence. Weston still had 20 minutes left to salvage something and take points off their league rivals. Jay Murray, Son of Bristol city legend Scott Murray was subbed on alongside Noah Coppin by manager Scott Bartlett. Murray was hoping to ignite Weston’s front line on his first appearance since agreeing a new deal with the seagulls to keep him there until at least the end of next season.  

In the very latter stages of the match, Weston pushed and pushed for an equaliser, urgency was demanded by the extremely frustrated home fans. But things went from bad to worse for Weston in the final 10 minutes after Lloyd Humphries was shown a questionable second yellow card by referee Phillip Eddie following a challenge on the Truro captain Connor Riley-Lowe, much to the outrage of the Weston fans that were close to the incident.  

Weston threw everything they had at Truro in the last 5 minutes but with just 10 men they couldn’t get the better of an impressive Truro side, who for much of the game were dominated and had to soak up the Weston pressure, which they did fantastically. The away side managed to hang on for a hugely important 3 points away at the league leaders to reduce Weston’s lead at the top to just one point.