Dorchester hit Rovers for six

BY David Williams: Dorset Echo Sport


An inspired performance from Ben Watson saw Dorchester Town blow away winless Paulton Rovers at the Avenue tonight and end a run of four straight league defeats.

Watson set up the Magpies’ first two goals for Charlie Davis and Jonah Ayunga before bagging a hat-trick himself in the space of 17 second-half minutes.

The striker was also involved in Bradley Tarbuck’s sixth late on, the midfielder putting the seal on a resounding victory.

And an emphatic win was just what the doctor ordered for the Magpies following successive Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division losses against Slough, St Neots, Poole and Redditch.

Watson had come back into the side for Oakley Hanger in the only change to the county town team that started the match at Redditch last Saturday.

Hanger dropped to the bench where he was joined by the returning Lewis Morgan, Jason Brookes and Sam Old.

Paulton caretaker player-manager Aaron Brown, in charge of the visitors following the resignations of Richard Fey and Nathan Rudge, named himself on the bench after serving a suspension.

Dorchester needed an early goal to settle any nerves and that was exactly what they got just five minutes in.

Watson won possession just outside the Paulton penalty area, squared the ball to Davis as he surged forward, and the midfielder found the back of the net despite the best efforts of keeper Ben John.

The hosts continued to dominate the early stages and they might have added a second on three occasions before the game was 10 minutes old.

The first came courtesy of Watson, the striker cutting in from the left and unleashing a powerful effort which John pushed out for a corner.

Tarbuck then struck the crossbar with a cross from the right, although it was unlikely he was going for goal.

And, seconds later, Davis slid a pass through to Chris Dillon but John was equal to the defender’s shot and the gloveman turned the ball behind.

Rovers were well and truly on the back foot at this stage and their cause wasn’t helped when left-back Jack Allward had to leave the field injured.

It only seemed a matter of time before the home side would double their advantage as they stroked the ball around with a great deal more confidence than a week earlier against Poole.

Tarbuck beat his man for pace down the right and swept over a cross that just eluded Watson in the middle, and then Watson squared the ball back to skipper Jake Smeeton whose attempt was punched clear by John.

There were slim pickings for the visitors in the first half, mainly due to the solidity of the Dorchester back four, with Nathan Walker in particular a big presence.

Another big presence in the Dorchester ranks was Ayunga, and he picked the perfect moment to double his side’s advantage.

With Cheltenham referee Dale Wootton about to blow for half time, player-manager Mark Jermyn and Watson linked up on the left and the latter again provided the assist as Ayunga crashed a left-foot shot past John.

And after setting up the Magpies’ first two strikes, Watson deservedly got on the scoresheet twice in the opening five minutes of the second period.

John had to pick the ball out of his net for a third time when Watson’s shot from just outside the box went in with the aid of a deflection.

Then, three minutes later, Tarbuck crossed from the right, Ayunga’s shot was brilliantly kept out by the keeper, but Watson was on hand to dispatch the rebound.

And the night got even better for Watson in the 64th minute when he completed his hat-trick.

Defender Craig Allan’s header lacked the power it needed to reach his keeper and Watson duly lobbed the ball over John.

Tarbuck almost got in on the act too but John produced a superb fingertip save to turn his curling side-footer onto the post – John then got up to deny Watson a fourth.

Rovers’ substitute Peter Trego went close to getting a consolation for his side at one end, but Tarbuck did make it 6-0 in the 88th minute, blasting a shot past the luckless keeper.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Oldring, Smeeton, Jermyn (Morgan 55), Walker, Dillon, Davis (Brookes 76), Martin, Ayunga (Hanger 67), Watson, Tarbuck. Subs not used: Murphy, Old

Paulton: John, Williams, Allward (Grimshaw 18), Harris, Allan, Ford, Bament, Mullings, Knighton, Morgan-Williams (Ricketts 51), Tooze (Trego 51). Subs not used: O’Hare, Brown

Bookings: Magpies – None

Paulton – None

Referee: Dale Wootton (Cheltenham).

Attendance: 271