Back-to-back league losses for Dorchester

BY David Williams: Dorset Echo Sport


A solitary Tom Meechan strike condemned Dorchester to a second successive league defeat this afternoon.

There was a welcome boost for the Magpies before the game as Jake Smeeton, who had been out with a fractured finger, returned to the starting line-up to captain the side.

He was one of six changes to the team that kicked off the Red Insure Cup defeat by Poole in midweek.

Out went Alan Walker-Harris, Nick Crittenden and Jason Brookes, who all dropped to the bench, Mark Irvine, Ashley Nicholls and suspended player-manager Mark Jermyn.

As well as Smeeton, in came Shane Murphy, Chris Dillon, Charlie Davis, Ben Watson and Lewis Morgan.

Watching from the sidelines, Jermyn would have been pleased with the start his charges made, though they couldn’t create anything of note in front of goal.

For the hosts, Josh Beech headed over at a corner and then Isaac Galliford should have done better when he missed target from the edge of the box with just Murphy to beat.

Dorchester hit back and had three chances in the space of a few minutes to take the lead.

Bradley Tarbuck found the side netting with the first one, after which Saints keeper Andy Wilton required treatment for an injury in the build up.

Then, following a rapid counter-attack from the visitors, Wilton produced an excellent double save to deny the county town outfit.

The Magpies were able to beat Wilton with a deflected effort but the crossbar came to the keeper’s rescue and the ball went out for a corner.

Just before the break the Saints players were appealing for a penalty after Murphy challenged Meechan.

However, Wellingborough referee Mark Wardell was having none of it and he waved away their pleas.

Like the first half, the second period was slow to get going.

The crowd had to wait some 20 minutes for a clear-cut opportunity to fall to either side.

A St Neots corner dropped to Meechan 10 yards from the Dorchester goal and his right-foot shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Murphy.

But not long after Meechan was celebrating, the striker making it 1-0 on 70 minutes after a nice piece of play from Galliford.

Smeeton then became the first player to have his name to go into the referee’s notebook, on this occasion it was a foul on Ryan Hawkins that earned the visiting captain a yellow card.

Dorchester decided a change in personnel was needed as they looked to draw level, Crittenden coming on for Davis, while Brookes would also replace Morgan later on.

In between those substitutions there were a couple of chances for Meechan to put the game to bed.

The first emanated from a Dorchester corner as the Saints broke away and Meechan’s shot was blocked.

The goalscorer then tried to lob Murphy but was off target with his attempt – and that was about the last real opportunity either team had.

St Neots: Wilton, Anton, Wilkinson, Beech, Blackett, Ward, Galliford, Longden, Clarke, Hawkins, Meechan. Subs not used: Tann, Horne, Vieira, Hobbs, Mailancol.

Magpies: Murphy, Hanger, Smeeton, Martin, Walker, Dillon, Davis (Crittenden), Morgan (Brookes), Ayunga, Watson, Tarbuck. Subs not used: Walker-Harris, Taylor, Pashen.

Bookings: St Neots – None

Magpies – Smeeton (foul)