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Report: Weymouth 1-0 Bristol City U21

Bristol City Under-21 began their pre-season campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Weymouth at Bob Lucas Stadium.

Terras substitute Billy Lowes proved the late match-winner, volleying home in the 85th minute. 

Jamie McAllister fielded summer recruits Jack Challis, Diego De Girolamo and Jonny Smith in his starting line-up alongside two trialists who occupied positions in goal and at right-back. 

The latter of the three arrivals proved a handful in the opening exchanges with direct running and pure pace, leading to George Dowling striking low at keeper Dan Thomas with the game’s first attempt. 

At the other end Ben Thomson was denied when City's trialist keeper came rushing out to his feet, and then Chris Shephard fired wildly over when well positioned. 

The development squad held their own in the match, going toe-to-toe physically with their elder opponents, and their high press almost saw Arnold Garita get on the scoresheet. 

The Cameroonian striker nicked a bouncing ball away from goalkeeper Thomas, but couldn’t find his composure and volleyed over. 

Some of City’s interchanges were that of an experienced side. They weren’t afraid to have a go at their Southern League Premier Division hosts and Dowling was keen to saunter towards goal at any given opportunity. 

His latest surge saw him unselfishly tee up Connor Lemonheigh-Evans to register a shot on target, before De Girolamo neatly fed Smith inside the area only for the Liverpudlian to drag his shot wide. 

As McAllister’s young charges attacked, Weymouth were happy to soak up the pressure and attempt to counter-attack. 

The Terras made a cutting move down the right on the half-hour mark and Dan Smith threw a warning sign at the Under-21s by stinging the palms of the trialist keeper. 

The home side thought they had taken the lead just before the break as Charlie Davis tapped into an unguarded net but the midfielder was adjudged offside. 

It was Weymouth who began the second half on the front foot and if not for a brilliant last-ditch tackle from half-time substitute Shabazz Omofe, Shephard would have scored. 

The midfielder darted unopposed into the area and was set to fire home before Omofe’s long stretch intervened and cleared the ball to safety. 

The challenge seemed to spur City back into the contest and a beautiful around-the-corner pass from Smith sent Garita through one-on-one only for Thomas to stay big and save with his legs. 

Back at the other end, City's trialist stopper had to be at his best first to deny Shephard with an excellent diving stop to his left and then to tip Davis’ free kick over the bar. 

Former Weymouth loanee Jojo Wollacott entered the fray on the hour and was called into action immediately. Davis controlled the ball 25 yards from goal, took a touch out of his feet and unleashed a venomous strike which the keeper tipped on to the crossbar. 

Weymouth added further chances on target through Stewart Yetton and Smith before Lowes grabbed the winner. 

The substitute watched as the ball came down from a good height and stroked a sweet volley past the despairing dive of Wollacott to condemn City to a late defeat. 

City Under-21: Trialist (Wollacott 61), Trialist (Harper 46), Vyner (Lyons-Foster 61), Challis (Baldwin 46), Kelly (Pring 61), Morrell (Omofe 46), Dowling (Harris 61), Evans (McNulty 46 (Trialist 78)), De Girolamo (Andrews 57), Smith (McCoulsky 57), Garita (Difford 61). 

Attendance: 187