BASINGSTOKE TOWN 1 DORCHESTER TOWN 1
STUART Heath described the Magpies’ point at Basingstoke as “outstanding” given the loss of personnel at the club over the last week.
First-team coach Heath took interim charge of the county town side, who had lost former manager Mark Jermyn, assistant Nick Crittenden, skipper Jake Smeeton and star loanee Ollie Bassett from the side that drew with Weymouth last time out.
Heath’s options were also limited when Chris Dillon pulled out on the morning of the fixture through Illness.
Despite that, Tom Blair’s early strike earned the Magpies an admirable 1-1 draw, meaning they are now six games unbeaten when new boss Craig Laird takes over against Banbury on Saturday.
Giving his reaction after the game, Heath told Echosport: “I think it was a very good point considering the circumstances, with players leaving last week and loanees leaving – Chris Dillon also had to pull out through illness on the morning of the game.
“You have to trust these young players when we don’t have a massive squad. Those players are there for a reason and you have to use them.”
Blair opened the scoring for the visitors after just two minutes when he raced on to neat through ball from Sol Ayunga, who Heath had handed a start up front, and finished well to put the Magpies in front.
Shane Murphy in the visitors’ goal then pulled off a super stop to keep it at 1-0 and, soon after, Neil Martin hit a post with a free-kick.
But Basingstoke eventually got their equaliser on 57 minutes when Sam Deadfield popped up to make it 1-1.
Keeper Murphy then continued his heroics between the sticks as the Magpies dug in to seal a valuable point, much to the delight of interim boss Heath.
He added: “The players on duty I thought were a credit to themselves and the club. It’s not an easy place to go with them being a full-time team, to get a point was an outstanding effort.
“The young boys worked hard, kept their shape and discipline well. We rode our luck a little bit but I thought Shane Murphy gave one of the best goalkeeping performances I have seen for a long time.”
Magpies: Murphy, Brookes, Martin, Morgan, Walker, Oldring, Wood, Clarke, Ayunga, Jerrard, Blair. Subs: Mitchell, Mullis, Nicolson, Ross
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