AFC Stoneham 4 Weymouth 3
By Mark Stupple
August 12th 2017
We opened the season with a tough encounter against a strong Weymouth team which will live in the memory for a very long time!
Weymouth had already played 2 league games and this showed in their speed, sharpness and excellent start which incredibly saw them take a 3-0 lead within 22 minutes with a hat trick from the excellent Conor Jevan. Our situation was compounded when centre half Liam Hall was dismissed on 25 minutes.
With Matt Stupple moving to central defence and Scott Hills switching from left wing to right back our 10 men showed a spirit that kept out the 4th goal with some great defending . Strangely we then started to create chances mainly from the excellent runs of winger Tommy Hogan whose crosses could not be converted.However on 42 minutes Sergio Caballero controlled a poor goalkeeper clearance and somehow converted from 35 yards by almost "passing" the ball around the stranded keeper.
With nothing to lose and an apparent complacency taking hold of Weymouths key players up front their defence came under more pressure from the 10 men who displayed an unbelievable determination and sprit rewarded with a 2nd goal from Tommy Hogan who curled a finish into the bottom left hand corner. A great comeback was potentially on the cards as Weymouths dominance was diminishing rapidly and a cross from Merl Anteney-Wright was flicked on by Will Harris to elude everyone and settle in the corner of the net.
The re-shaped defence of Hills,Stupple,Beckerley and Anteney-Wright had stood firm for an hour at this point as they won every header and tackle whilst flinging their bodies in front of every shot ably supported by another solid goalkeeping performance from Scott Williams.
Whilst most teams would have been happy to settle for an amazing comeback to level the scores The Purples continued to play excellent football and were richly rewarded when Caballero scored his second on 72 minutes to give us a 4-3 lead.
With 20 minutes or so remaining Weymouth did decide to wake up however our "new" defence were resolute throughout whilst handling both Jevan and Sanchez who are both very good players at this level of football.Special mention to captain,Alex Welch, who also led by example and played an excellent captains role.
Full credit must go to Tim,James and all the players for a fantastic performance in a game which is unlikely to be equalled for excitement this season at the HP Arena.
Team: Williams, Stupple,Anteney-Wright,Welch,Hall,Beckerley,Hogan,Harris,Caballero,Brady and Hills
Subs used : Khazadi and Clark.
Scorers : Caballero(2), Harris,Hogan
Attendance: not enough