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Dorchester Town play out drab draw with the Linnets

BY: Phil Spencer – Dorset Echo Sport

DORCHESTER TOWN 1 KING’S LYNN TOWN 1

DORCHESTER Town played out a drab 1-1 draw against King’s Lynn Town on a typical end of season clash at the Avenue. The Magpies went into game knowing that a victory could see them mathematically safe from the threat of relegation if the game between Cirencester Town and Cambridge City went their way.

After fighting back from 2-0 down to secure a draw against Hitchin Town last week, the home side were feeling confident of getting a positive result.

The Linnets find themselves comfortably sitting in mid-table in the league, but having suffered three-straight defeats before today, they will have been looking for a reaction as the season begins to draw to a close.

Craig Laird made just one change to his side from the draw with Hitchin, reintroducing Jake Mawford in place of Jordan Williams who drops to the substitutes bench.

It was a bright start for the Magpies, as Jake Mawford’s flicked effort was cleared off the line by defender Conor Marshall after keeper Alexander Street misjudged the ball through.

The visitor’s keeper looked shaky once again as Tom Blair’s cross from the right was spilled by Street, with the onrushing Mawford unable to pounce on the loose ball.

King’s Lynn were dominating large spells of possession, but creating little in terms of clear cut chances, with Ryan Harnwell going closest as he drove forward and dragged an effort wide from 20 yards.

Dorchester went very close after this, as Kyle Egan kept the ball in play brilliantly, before Blair’s cross was met by the thigh of target-man Phil Ormrod who guided the ball just over.

Ormrod had another chance minutes later as his header from a Neil Martin free-kick went harmlessly over the bar.

The game fell flat during the rest of the first period, with the only chance of note coming from the Linnets who broke with Samuel Warburton down the right who put a ball in for Harnwell who hit his effort wide of Shane Murphy’s post.

Despite the game having a typical end of season feel, the Magpies went close immediately in the second half as Mawford cut the ball back to Blair in the box who fired his left-foot effort wide of the mark.

Goal-scoring opportunities were at a real premium on a sunny afternoon at the Avenue, with very little being created in terms of clear-cut chances.

The Magpies, while regularly getting the ball in the opposition’s half, struggled to make an impact, with crosses often coming from deep and being easily cleared up by the opposition defence.

Egan was a constant threat down the right-flank for Dorchester, using his pace and crossing ability to get the ball into the box as he looked to make the number two jersey his own.

Nathan Walker had an opportunity for the Magpies after 69 minutes, as a floated cross from Blair found the head of the captain who unfortunately couldn’t keep the ball down as his effort went over the bar.

With just 20 minutes remaining, their was a lengthy stoppage in play as Blair received treatment after picking up a knock.

Blair, fresh from signing a one-year contract extension this week, is one player in particular who the Magpies could hardly afford to do without, and was replaced by Williams.

The breakthrough came on 76 minutes when Mawford escaped and offside trap and managed to loft the ball over the goalkeeper from the corner of the penalty area to give the Magpies the lead.

It was a moment of quality that the game appeared to be missing, and Mawford, who manager Craig Laird tips for a bright future at the club, will be delighted with the effort.

The joy didn’t last long though, as a foul from Toby Down gave the visitors a penalty and saw the young defender sent off. The Linnets captain Michael Clunan converted with ease the make the score level.

Walker had an opportunity in the closing stages to get the three points as he headed over from a Jon Vance free-kick, but it wasn’t to be as both sides appeared to cancel each other out an a game which will not last long in the memory of either sets of fans.

Magpies: Murphy, Egan, Martin, Bowles, Walker, Down, Griggs, Vance, Ormrod, Mawford, Blair (Williams 75). Subs not used: Davis, Ayunga, Williams, Mitchell, Brookes

King’s Lynn Town: Street, Shipp, Mcleish, Marshall, Ward, Zielonka, Clunan, Everington, Lennon (McQuaid 62), Harnwell, Warburton. Subs not used: Hilliard, Congreve, Gaughran