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Missed chances
Missed chances

A Comedy of Errors

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 09/04/2022

THEY named a stadium after Bob Lucas. It's where Weymouth play, and I made the trip to this very nice part of the world to see Town play and hopefully pick up three points.

As I recall our home game against Weymouth was tight, but since then they've struggled and are almost certain to be relegated.

Following our magnificent victory at Chesterfield, we on the other hand maintain the dream of making the play-offs and the tough prospect of three further victories to propel us out of this league in the right direction.

Town, today pleasingly in traditional black and white kit, lined up with Crocombe - Cropper, Waterfall, Smith, Amos - Maguire-Drew, Jones, Holohan, Clifton - McAtee - Taylor. Weymouth look like Burnley in their claret strip. As a place, Weymouth is a lovely seaside resort like Cleethorpes with the Jurassic coast attractions of Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door nearby. Bob Lucas would no doubt be proud of his stadium, which is very neat and tidy with rolling hills and electricity pylons in the background. 1228 spectators were here today, many of them supporting Town.

Weymouth's Ash had the first chance with a header but not much happened. Town played the ball around. Still not much happened. 15 minutes had passed and the ambiance was that of a public library, save a devoted little band of Weymouth supporters who chanted drunkenly. After a Weymouth corner on 16 minutes, Town attacked. The ball was crossed from the right. Maguire-Drew was presented with a golden opportunity from 5 yards which he managed to miss. Then Crocombe completely missed a Shields corner. Smith saved the day by heading clear. Town's defence seemed to be suffering from comms issues. The rest of the team seemed to be on a go-slow. But it was Weymouth who provided the comedy when Bearish and Buse fell over each other when going for a clear chance in the Town box. Come to think of it, Bearwish and Buse sounds like a music hall comedy duo. To heighten the developing mediocrity, Amos started a pedestrian move and finished it by clearing everyone with his cross. Town attacked. McAtee picked up the ball and found Cropper. The ball was switched to Smith whose shot struck a defender's legs. 30 minutes had passed. McAtee crossed to Clifton who couldn't convert from 3 yards out. Good work from Clifton found McAtee who managed to make contact with a defender's outstretched leg. The only other incident of the half happened at the Town end when a free-kick from Greenwood struck the post with Crocombe beaten. This was a scare for Town in a lacklustre half. Town passed the ball about at times but were unable to convert chances. Town's defence looked unusually shaky.

A terrible clearance by Crocombe built on the lack of quality shown in the first period. Weymouth were in but the shot was as terrible as the clearance. Dishonours even. Then. Holohan played a decent ball wide to McAtee but in a replica of the first half the ball came in, the defence knew where the ball was and no Town players were near it. Crocombe followed this up by dropping a cross and causing another scare. On 51 minutes, a nice move set Clifton free on the left but the defender did well to block the shot. Maguire-Drew's cross from the left following this found Waterfall's head but the ball dropped agonisingly wide. The game was scrappy with fouls following fouls. A neat Maguire-Drew flick found Cropper who won a throw - perfect fodder for Cropper. So amazed was the referee that he pulled up with a muscle strain. The throw came in after the stoppage. A kerfuffle in the box meant that Weymouth got a free-kick. On 65 minutes a nice move out of defence led to McAtee finding space but the result was a familiar scuffed shot. McAtee did better moments later with a cross but it evaded everyone. Frustration levels were rising at the Bob Lucas. The only animation came from the Weymouth supporter's ensemble who continued their unabated disharmony. Town won the odd throw and corner but nothing was materialising. 70 minutes is Hurst Time, and Scannell duly replaced Cropper with Clifton going to right back. Nothing happened between then and 75 minutes when Dieseruvwe's name was mangled by the Weymouth announcer as Taylor was replaced. The response was a terrible ball from Maguire-Drew, earning proportionately terrible abuse from Town fans, one of whom supplemented this motivation by advising “Keep your heads up”. Maguire-Drew then sent in a cross from the right which the Weymouth keeper Fitzsimons dropped. Dieseruvwe, clearly not expecting this turn of events, managed to hit the goalkeeper from 3 yards out. Holohan followed up by blasting the ball over the stand from 20 yards. Town attacked again, and this time Maguire-Drew sent in an excellent curled shot, but Fitzsimons was up to it and tipped the shot round the post. The corner came in. Smith struck. Mnoga cleared the ball off the line. In the meantime, Waterfall and Cordner had been clashing heads and the bloodied Cordner came back looking like Terry Butcher with his bandage. This might have been a stimulus to inspire Weymouth but this game was beyond inspiration. Good work by Dieseruvwe found Clifton whose sliced shot was reminiscent of a bad golfer. It was then Town's turn for slapstick misunderstanding as McAtee and Clifton fell over each other while trying to shoot from inside the box. But there was no cause for alarm as Goodship then excelled in the ineptitude department as he missed with a clear header from close range with just Crocombe to beat. Any opportunity that Town might have had was wasted as Clifton decided that accurate passing was not an option. 90 minutes were up but 6 minutes were added. Taylor was replaced by Abrahams, whose performance-enhancing gloves caused apoplexy in the Town fan in front of me and great amusement to the rest of us. There was plenty to be frustrated about here. Abrahams had an opportunity on the right from a tight angle but in spite of Town winning two corners, the game inevitably ended: Weymouth 0, Town 0.

I can only imagine that the highlights video of this game will show criminal misses, goalkeeping errors and clashed heads. Quality was a forgotten value here. Both sides were guilty of glaring misses, and whilst Town passed the ball in patches, it never seemed likely to lead to much. The highlights were the response to Abrahams wearing gloves, and the glorious misunderstanding between comedy twins Buse and Bearwish, replicated by McAtee and Clifton in the second half. This game did not have the slightest odour of play-offs. What it did was to have Town fans reaching for their phones, checking their phones and hoping that teams around us did worse.

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