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Dorchester Town draw with the Dragons to set up tense final weekend

BY: Phil Spencer – Dorset Echo Sport

DORCHESTER TOWN 1 BASINGSTOKE TOWN 1

DORCHESTER Town battled to secure a 1-1 draw against Basingstoke Town in their final home game of the season.

The draw sees the Magpies enter into a tense final day of the season against Stratford Town, knowing that their Southern Premier Division status remains in the balance.

The Dragons came to the Avenue sitting comfortably in twelfth position, and with little more to play for than competitive pride, the home side would be hoping to capitalise.

Craig Laird made three changes to Saturday’s defeat against Cambridge City, with Jason Brookes, Oliver Davis and Billy Mitchell replacing Kyle Egan, Jordan Williams and the injured Jon Vance.

The match started in a lively fashion, with Dorchester dominating possession with a positive looking 4-4-2 system.

It was Basingstoke who had the first chance of the game, with Nana Owusu hitting his effort just wide of the mark after a great ball in from the left.

The Magpies didn’t take long to have their first effort courtesy of two of the three introduced players, as Brookes’ cross was met by the head of Davis, only to be denied by the keeper.

As the game started, to settle, the Dragons dominated play, leading to an Owusu free-kick which hit the Magpies’ wall.

The visitors showed pace and power which caused problems for the home side, as Nathan Walker chopped down the Basingstoke forward before Owusu squeezed another stinging free-kick narrowly wide of the post.

Laird reshuffled the pack, putting Tom Blair just behind Phil Ormrod which nearly paid off immediately as Blair fizzed an effort just wide of the mark from 30 yards.

The system looked a natural fit, with Davis and Mitchell using their pace and delivery to cause problems down the flanks.

Basingstoke took the lead from the penalty spot, as an effort was blocked by the hand of Brookes, leading to danger-man Owusu converting with ease.

Mitchell nearly got an immediate reply after latching on the end of an Ormrod flick, but his effort went over the bar.

The Magpies were struggling to create clear cut chances, which was shown as Jake Mawford floated a free-kick into the box from a dangerous angle, only for it to evade everyone in the box.

Frustrations were starting to boil over for the Magpies, with Blair picking up a daft booking for a petulant foul, for which the Magpies captain had to have stern words to calm him down.

Dorchester didn’t look like a side who were in desperate need of points, and with other results going against them at the break, the message was clear that they needed a goal in the second half.

The Avenue had a nervy edge as the second period got going, and Shane Murphy was called into action with an excellent flying save to deny the Dragons a second goal.

Dorchester started to build momentum, first with Mawford having his effort blocked, before Blair hit a volley from 30 yards which was excellently tipped over by the Basingstoke stopper.

Blair was clearly starting to channel his frustrations by taking the game of the scruff of the neck, picking up possession and starting to dictate play with some dangerous crosses.

Striker Ormrod found himself through on goal, but couldn’t beat the keeper.

As the pressure began to build, the Magpies forced a penalty as Ormrod was bundled over in the area, with captain Walker stepping up to confidently stroke the ball home.

Dorchester looked the more likely to get a winner, and should have done better when Ormrod charged down the ball which fell to Mawford who hit his effort harmlessly over.

As the clock ticked down, Basingstoke went close again as Owusu hit an effort over the bar, as a tiring Magpies side looked to be running out of steam.

Sam Deadfield hit a 20-yard free-kick over the bar with minutes to play, before Blair hit an effort into the stand, meaning a spirited second-half display from the Magpies would only end with a draw.

The Magpies will now go into next weekend’s match against Stratford Town in competition with Cambridge City and Kings Langley to try and avoid the final relegation position.

Dorchester Town: Murphy, Brookes (Jerrard 85), Martin, Griggs, Walker, Bowles, Davis, Mawford, Ormrod, Mitchell (Williams 46), Blair (Ayunga 90)
Subs not used: Nicolson.

Basingstoke Town: Tokarczyk, Johnson-Shuster, Bennett, Partridge (Van Cootten 61), Ray, R.Atkinson, Deadfield, Collier, Jarvis (Redford 63), Artwell, Owusu.
Subs not used: Greene, M.Atkinson.

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: 477

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