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Dorchester earn point against 10-man Stratford Town

BY: Josh Donaldson Dorset Echo Sport

DORCHESTER TOWN 2 STRATFORD TOWN 2

DORCHESTER Town rued their missed opportunities as they were unable to put away a 10-man Stratford Town that sneaked away from the Avenue with a 2-2 draw.

Mark Jermyn took the lead for the hosts with a fluky cross that lobbed Niall Cooper before Edwin Ahenkorah levelled after a mistake from Nathan Walker a minute later.

The away side then took a shock lead against the run of play through Jamie Sheldon in the 29th minute before Dior Angus was sent off for a kick-out.

Chris Dillon equalised from close range in the 47th minute, but even though the county town side piled on the pressure in the second half, they were unable to find a winner.

The Magpies made just one change from the side that lost 3-0 in the FA Cup against Banbury United last weekend with Dory Yates dropping out of the squad with David Jerrard took his place.

New signing Lewis Morgan, who put pen to paper on Thursday night, was at the Avenue warming up, but wasn’t named as part of the match day squad.

The clash started quickly with both sides flying into tackles, looking to make their mark. None did so as much as Matt Oldring.

He was booked early on for a high tackle on William Grocott. The Stratford player didn’t react kindly to the challenge, but the referee cooled the frosty situation before cautioning the defender.

The home side were in control of the ball after the fiery start and took the lead in the 15th minute. Mario Mateus did brilliantly to find his player-manager Jermyn with a delicious back-heel.

In space, Jermyn looked to pick out Walker, who was lurking at the back post having stayed up from an earlier corner.

Instead the cross floated over Cooper and found the away side’s net after cannoning off the post.

The celebration from the boss had an element of relief about it after what has been a testing period for him.

However the good mood around the ground lasted all of a minute. A mistake from Walker allowed Ahenkorah to sweep up the ball and slide his effort over Shane Murphy to level for the visitors.

It got worse for the Magpies soon after.

From a half-cleared free-kick, Sheldon rifled home a half-volley from the edge of the box to shock the stadium as the away side took a 2-1 lead against the run of play.

After the goal, the Magpies settled playing some nice, sweeping football, but they struggled to find an opening ­– Mateus and Jermyn both had shots, but their efforts were tame and didn’t trouble Cooper.

But their task to get back into the game got easier as the away side were reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute.

Angus appeared to kick out on Jermyn, which the referee saw and gave the striker his marching orders.

From then on, it was the Magpies that were in control, but they couldn’t make the visitors pay before the break.

However, it only took them two minutes of the second half to find the equaliser.

Mateus, who consistently beat his marker throughout the game with some lovely, inventive football, found a cross that fell to Tony Lee. His shot was blocked, but it fell to Dillon, who fired home from five yards.

But, Stratford fought back. Soon after the leveller, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd – formerly of Redditch – was inches from connecting with a free-kick before Daniel Summerfield hit the bar.

Those chances were a huge let-off for the hosts as they continued to press for the pivotal third goal.

As the game progressed, the atmosphere became tense, with the Magpies – although in control of the ball – struggled to create many chances.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Dorchester had their best chance of the half.

A passing move – orchestrated by Nick Swann – eventually found Neil Martin with shooting room at the edge of the box.

He unleashed a vicious shot that seemed destined for the top corner but Cooper pulled of the best save of the game to deny him.

Time was against the Magpies as they kept searching for the winner. The opposition were happy to settle for a point and that is what they got.

The Magpies’ last home win came at the end of February and the wait continues – they won’t get a better chance than this clash.

Magpies: Murphy, Oldring, Smeeton, Jermyn, Walker, Dillon, Jerrard (Swann 74), Martin, Lee (Ayunga 81), Mateus, Wood (Sayers 65)

Subs not used: Nicolson, Crittenden

Stratford: Cooper, Tulloch, Westwood (Fitzharris 48), Fry, Clark, Cullinane-Liburd, Sheldon, Summerfield, Angus, Ahenkorah (Mbunga 81), Grocott

Subs not used: Gregory, Brooks, Brathwaite

Referee: Ryan Hilliar-Smith

Bookings: Magpies ­– Oldring, Jermyn, Walker

Stratford – none

Red Card: Stratford – Angus

Attendance: 294