ODUBADE SENDS TERRAS INTO PLAY-OFF FINAL WITH LAST-MINUTE WINNING GOAL


Veteran substitute Yemi Odubade was Weymouth’s hero as his injury-time goal sealed an incredible 3-2 National League South play-off win over Dorking Wanderers, writes Gareth Davies.
The reward for Weymouth’s win, which they made hard work of, sets up a play-off final showdown against Dartford on Saturday at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Despite 133 days passing between Weymouth’s last regular National League South match – a 2-0 home win over Slough Town – and this huge play-off clash, Terras chief Mark Molesley only made one change to his starting line-up. Tom Whelan, on loan from local cross-county rivals Yeovil Town, dropped down to the bench and he was replaced by Andreas Robinson.
Dorking came into the clash full of confidence after defeating Jerry Gill’s Bath City six days ago with a 2-1 victory at Twerton Park. Meanwhile, Weymouth were afforded the luxury of sitting with their feet up for an extra week, as a reward for finishing third in the table, as places decided by an unweighted points-per-game basis when the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Although not all regular league fixtures were completed before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Weymouth did face Dorking twice with each side claiming a victory a piece. At Dorking’s Meadowbank base in early December, Jimmy Muitt’s seventh minute strike was the difference between the two teams. The Terras gained revenge back in Dorset two months later when Dorking, who finished a feisty encounter with nine-men, were defeated 2-1 as Abdulai Baggie, who has since joined Eastleigh, netting a 95th minute winner.
For many neutrals, yesterday’s clash was too close to call, but Wanderers boss Marc White felt his side were clear favourites.
The often-outspoken manager was made to eat those words right from kick-off as Weymouth made the perfect start with less than 90 seconds on referee Dan Lamport’s watch.
The man in black pointing to the spot after Calvin Brooks was pulled back in the area. Up stepped home captain Josh McQuoid and the former Northern Ireland international duly found the mark from 12 yards.
If that was considered a perfect start for the Terras, Molesley and his side were in dreamland on ten minutes when Bournemouth loanee Jaidon Anthony finished with aplomb past visiting gloveman Sam Howes after a long-ball wasn’t dealt with by the Wanderers rear guard.
With Weymouth sitting on a 2-0 lead, they were content to sit deep and protect their advantage with Dorking huffing and puffing in search of a leveller.
Late in the first half, Wanderers had a glorious chance to half the deficit with their only real foray into the Terras danger-zone. Finding space out wide, Nicky Wheeler delivered a superb pin-point cross which found visiting talisman Jason Prior. However, the Portsmouth born striker, who previously gained Football League experience at AFC Wimbledon, headed into the Bob Lucas Stadium turf and the ball bounced over Calum Ward’s crossbar.
Into the second period and McQuoid was forced off within five minutes of the restart which seemed to upset the hosts’ rhythm.
Dorking pressed for a way back into proceedings and an unforced error from home gloveman Ward presented James McShane with half a chance, but he failed to take advantage of nerves that appeared to be creeping in.
With just under 20 minutes to play, McShane made amends for his earlier miss and volleyed home past Ward to set up a grandstand finish. But straight from the restart, Anthony should have bagged his second when he lifted the ball over when he looked easier to score.
That miss seemed destined to prove costly as the game approached its final stages as Dorking found the net again through substitute Elliott Buchanan.
However, there was one final twist in the tail when, in eight minutes of injury time, the ball hit veteran Odubade’s thigh in the six-yard box and crept into the net past Howe to send Weymouth through.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.