Davis is spot on as Dorchester overcome Bedworth fightback

BY David Williams: Dorset Echo Sport


Charlie Davis’ sixth league goal of the season sealed another three points for Dorchester at the Avenue – but the hosts certainly made hard work of seeing off struggling Bedworth.

Bradley Tarbuck and Ben Watson scored twice in the space of five first half minutes to put the Magpies firmly in control of their Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division battle with the Greenbacks.

But Justin Marsden and substitute Lewis Chester replied for the visitors early in the second period to stun the county town outfit.

However, Dorchester were awarded a penalty with 20 minutes left and Davis stepped up to blast home from the spot.

The win was the Magpies’ third in a row in all competitions and one which strengthens their push for a play-off place.

There were two changes to the Dorchester side from that which started the dramatic FA Trophy victory over Chippenham a week earlier.

Player-manager Mark Jermyn dropped himself to the bench and Matt Oldring was suspended.

In came Oakley Hanger and Lewis Morgan after substitute appearances last time out.

On a very soft pitch due to the heavy rain of the previous 24 hours, the visitors, without an away win in the league this season, nearly took the lead inside three minutes.

Magpies’ keeper Alan Walker-Harris and defender Chris Dillon made a real hash of dealing with a long ball over the top by Daniel Creaney.

That mix up left Jordan Archer with an open goal to aim at from a narrow angle but his shot grazed the join of post and crossbar.

Dorchester found it difficult to get their passing game going on a bobbly surface in the opening 20 minutes.

But after a few poor touches and inaccurate passes, the hosts took the lead through former Portsmouth youngster Tarbuck.

Morgan slid the ball through to Watson, he cut in from the left and shaped as if to shoot from just outside the Bedworth box.

However, spotting Tarbuck galloping forward on the right, Watson laid a perfectly weighted pass off to his team-mate and he did the rest with a cool side-footed effort.

And it wasn’t long before the Magpies were 2-0 up.

On 26 minutes, Davis fed Neil Martin as the latter overlapped on the left, and his cross to the far post was nodded in by Watson from a few yards out.

To compound Bedworth’s woes midfielder James Jepson had to leave the field through injury on 34 minutes and was replaced by Marlon Walters.

Archer, who might have made things very different had he converted that early chance, then picked up the first booking of the afternoon for kicking the ball away.

A well-worked training ground move almost paid dividends for the home side five minutes before the break.

Davis’ clever pass from a free-kick found Watson who rounded keeper Denham Hinds.

He crossed to Jonah Ayunga but the centre forward couldn’t turn the ball towards goal, instead scooping it into the hands of Hinds.

And Watson went so close to netting his second of the day on the stroke of half-time.

A Davis corner was met by Ayunga on the edge of the box and Watson hit the bar with a flicked header from close range.

Facing an uphill task in the second half, the visitors would have loved an early goal to get themselves back in the game – and that’s exactly what happened.

Marsden wasn’t picked up at a throw-in and the Bedworth man strode forward before unleashing a left-foot shot past Alan Walker-Harris.

But not only did the Greenbacks pull one back, they then proceeded to get another to make it 2-2.

This time substitute Chester showed his skill and pace to breeze through the heart of the Magpies’ defence and produce an assured finish to haul his side level.

In between those two strikes, Tarbuck, following a nice touch by Nathan Walker, fired straight at Hinds.

Bedworth’s fightback prompted Jermyn to bring himself off the bench for skipper Jake Smeeton and 10 minutes later the hosts were back in front.

The goal stemmed from a free-kick awarded against Bedworth substitute Walters for a challenge on Ayunga that the youngster made a meal of.

However, when Davis swung over the set-piece United’s Richard Bryan was adjudged to have hauled Walker to the ground and Eastleigh official Aaron Moody pointed to the spot.

It was left to Davis to smash the penalty in off the underside of the crossbar in emphatic fashion.

An opportunity to secure the three points then fell Tarbuck’s way but after playing a give and go with Watson the former’s flick was smothered by Hinds.

Late replacement Jason Brookes then had a wonderful chance to make absolutely sure in injury time, however, Bedworth captain Chris Tullin blocked his goal-bound shot on the line.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Hanger, Smeeton (Jermyn 59), Martin, Walker, Dillon, Davis, Morgan, Ayunga, Watson (Brookes 88), Tarbuck. Subs not used: Murphy, Old, Crittenden.

Bedworth: Hinds, Tullin, Rowe, Westwood, Creaney, Bryan, Marsden (McGarrity 85), Jepson (Walters 34), Wint (Chester 46), Archer, Kelly.

Bookings: Magpies – Hanger (foul, 40), Walker (foul, 80), Dillon (deliberate handball 85)

Bedworth – Archer (kicking ball away, 36), Walters (foul, 69), Westwood (foul, 78)