Dorchester held to derby stalemate by Dolphins

Report by David Williams, Dorset Echo.

Poole Town 0 Dorchester Town 0

Honours were shared as the Dorset derby between Poole Town and Dorchester ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Two days after Dolphins had celebrated their 125th anniversary, the visit of their county rivals had promised much. But on a night when chances were at a premium and both keepers were in solid form, the fixture delivered little in the way of entertainment.

Poole boss Tom Killick made two changes to his starting XI with Lewis Tallack brought in for knee injury victim Will Spetch, while the fit-again Richard Gillespie replaced Luke Holmes. Midfielder Steve Devlin, who had been a doubt due to sickness, was handed a spot on the bench.

Dorchester fielded an unchanged side with Nathan Walker – the brother of Dolphins’ defender Michael Walker – among those in the Magpies starting line-up.

The visitors made a lively start and imposing frontman Jonah Ayunga fashioned a half-chance after three minutes, only to find keeper Nick Hutchings alert from a tight angle. Referee Ben James brandished the first yellow card in the ninth minute following Lewis Tallack’s misjudged challenge on ex-Poole man Neil Martin, while Dorchester stopper Shane Murphy was fortunate to see his attempted clearance bobble to safety off Marvin Brooks.

Magpies were a clear threat going forward and with 15 minutes gone, Ayunga contrived to head weakly at Hutchings after Lewis Morgan had delivered a pinpoint cross from the right flank. But with Poole beginning to work their way into the game, former Dorchester ace Jamie Gleeson was taken off due to injury, with Devlin his replacement.

Midway through the half, Luke Roberts’s low effort brought a full-length save from Murphy in the Dorchester goal. And the home side came even closer 10 minutes before the break when, following a slick one-two with Brooks, Roberts’s glorious curler from range smacked against the crossbar.

Murphy later gobbled up the ball on his own line in a packed penalty area while at the other end, Charlie Davis swept wide a free-kick and Bradley Tarbuck slammed over a presentable chance.

Following the resumption, Gillespie’s driving run resulted in a toothless effort from Roberts and Poole had Hutchings to thank after the stopper made a vital block from Ben Watson. Ayunga produced a moment of magic to create an opening but his deflected drive, which had appeared off-target, was palmed to safety by Hutchings.

On came Holmes and back came the hosts. A vicious wallop from Roberts was diverted behind by Murphy, the Poole man’s reaction suggesting he felt he had connected crisply enough to score. Devlin attempted a corker from way out that fizzed a few yards off-target and Tarbuck’s flimsy swipe was easily scooped up by Hutchings.

There was still time for a late twist when Roberts’ cross was pawed against the bar by Murphy before skipper Jake Smeeton smashed the loose ball away from danger.

But it was a rare moment of drama in an otherwise uninspiring 90 minutes.

Poole: Hutchings, Tallack, Lindsay, M Walker, Whisken, Pettefer, Burbidge, Gleeson, Gillespie, Brooks, Roberts. Subs: Connell, Collins, Devlin, L Holmes, Davidson

Magpies: Murphy, Hanger, Smeeton, Martin, Oldring, N Walker, Davis, Morgan, Ayunga, Watson, Tarbuck. Subs: Jermyn, Walker-Harris, Crittenden, Brookes, Dillon.

Attendance: 509