Weston Bears bounce back after horror start to edge out Valentine 1-0

WINNER: Jackson Burston hit the winner after coming on as a replacement midway through the second half.
WINNER: Jackson Burston hit the winner after coming on as a replacement midway through the second half.

After a 7-1 demolition by Lambton Jaffas in their opening match, Weston Bears were looking to bounce back at home against Valentine on Saturday and they did so, picking up a well deserved 1-0 win.

Second half replacement Jackson Burston, who is returning from a long injury lay-off - he also scored in reserve grade last week - hit the winner with his left foot in the 77th minute after his initial right footed shot had been saved.

On the balance of play, it was nothing less than the home team deserved.

The opening stanza was contested largely in midfield and it was obvious Leo Bertos' Weston outfit had tightened their defence substantially from the previous week.

A brief fade in the eight minute very nearly proved costly, new Valentine signing Joel Wood ultimately fluffing his lines one on one with the goal at his mercy. Scott Carter, back between the sticks for Weston after playing understudy to new signing Stuart Plant last week, did just enough to force the mistake.

A 15th minute Chris Hurley corner from virtually the first foray into the attacking third by the home side was swung in beautifully to find the head of Marcus Duncan, whose effort crashed against the crossbar. Nathan Morris's free kick in the 27th minute found the free head of Hurley in prime real estate, but the angle proved tricky and his attempt sailed high.

The Bears showed a moment of enterprise in the 40th minute as they came close to opening their account, Aaron Niyonkuru squirming cleverly into a bit of space and rifling a low drive just wide from 25 yards, while a promising Valentine attack in the 42nd minute culminated in the strike finding only the side netting.

Bertos' half time talk would no doubt have had a very different flavour to the previous weekend, his charges having demonstrated much greater structure and positional discipline.

Four minutes into the second half they very nearly opened the scoring, Connor Heydon's lofted attempt sailing over the bar with the keeper off his line.

The Valentine keeper had some work to do in the 54th minute when he tapped a Heydon tracer bullet over the bar that was bound for the top right corner with a fabulous dive.

The 61st minute saw the introduction of Burston, replacing Liam Wilson who is also coming back from injury.

Bertos introduced youngster Jackson Eckford in the 72nd minute for Heydon, a decision that would prove inspired. A surging 77th minute run down the right from Eckford saw him cut the ball inside for Burston 12 yards out who scored to break the deadlock.

The result - and the clean sheet - is pleasing for Weston after last week's terrible start. They have another home game on Saturday against Adamstown Rosebud side who have struggled in their opening two fixtures, shipping eight goals.