Sandell’s late spot-kick means Magpies are left to settle for a point against Chippenham

BY Dan Rose: Dorset Echo Sport


A late penalty from Andy Sandell meant Mark Jermyn’s troops had to settle for a share of the spoils in what was a dramatic climax at the Avenue.

Sandell calmly slotted home after fellow replacement Ollie Taylor had been felled in the area, to cancel out Charlie Davis’ spot-kick for the home side earlier in the second period.

The Magpies of course went into the contest without former Portsmouth man Bradley Tarbuck, who is set for a lengthy absence after a suspected rupture of his medial cruciate ligament.

Despite picking up November’s player of the month award on the day, he was obviously out of the squad along with Ashley Nicholls. Liam Sayers, who extended his loan deal with the club until the end of the season, dropped to the bench.

The meant that Neil Martin, Nathan Walker and Jermyn himself were all brought back into the starting XI.

Visitors Chippenham, the nearest challengers to league leaders Poole Town prior to kick-off had made an adjustment in their squad going into the contest, announcing earlier in the week that Ashan Holgate had been released from his contract with the club. The Bluebirds also named England futsal star Luke Ballinger in their ranks in defence.

The returning Walker started up front alongside Jonah Ayunga for the home team, and almost helped his strike partner find the opening goal on three minutes.

Walker’s looping ball forward drifted on the breeze and Ayunga put Chippenham keeper Kent Kauppinen under real pressure. He spilled the ball but the covering Greg Tindle was tasked with hacking it away for the Bluebirds.

Winger Alex Ferguson then lifted his head up for the away side and found Harry Grant for their first opportunity. He beat Davis inside the area and hit a stinging effort from inside the box which was well saved by Walker-Harris in the home goal.

And Walker-Harris was almost tested soon after as the Magpies gave the ball away in a dangerous area, which allowed James Guthrie to let fly with a strike which flew just over from 20 yards out.

As Chippenham probed, Ferguson then came within inches of breaking the deadlock as he skipped away from two Dorchester defenders and hit a low effort just past the far post.

Ayunga continued cause the Bluebirds backline some problems at the other end, and he worked Kauppinen once more on 34 minutes.

After his first touch from a ball forward slightly got away from him, the youngster almost managed to lift the ball over the gloveman and put the hosts ahead, only to be denied.

A flashpoint then ensued as Ballinger, booked earlier in the half for a foul, went in strongly on Neil Martin. Despite the Magpies’ protests, Weymouth-based official Robert Dabbs believed the challenge was not worthy of a second caution.

Continuing to be a threat, Ferguson then almost made it 1-0 as he flashed a header just over from a Guthrie delivery and, moments later, Guthrie hit almost a carbon copy of his previous left-foot effort just over. Oakley Hanger and Chippenham’s Tindle were then both cautioned for some handbags just short of the interval.

With just two minutes gone in the second period, Dorchester should have been a goal behind. Chippenham’s Chris Allen found space to roll the ball into the path of Matt Smith, who should have done better from 10 yards out but could only blaze over.

And on the hour, the Magpies almost put themselves in the box seat.

Martin burst down the left and crossed for Walker at the back post, his header was palmed away by Kauppinen and Davis’ acrobatic effort in the follow-up was narrowly off target.

But that didn’t stop the former Poole Town man from opening the scoring on 68 minutes.

Walker’s neat turn allowed him to play the ball into the path of Davis, who surged forward and was felled by replacement Matt Jones, who was dismissed by referee Dabbs to add insult to injury. Up stepped Davis to confidently convert and break the deadlock.

With the visitors now a man light, Dorchester went for the kill and showed good work-rate with a high press which seemed to fox the visitors, who had brought on experienced hitman Sandell for Smith.

But it was Sandell who was to have the last laugh as he levelled things up just a minute from time from the spot after Hanger, who was on a caution, brought down substitute Ollie Taylor, leaving the Magpies to settle for a point.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Hanger, Smeeton, Jermyn, Oldring, Dillon, Davis, Holmes (Sayers 74), J Ayunga (S Ayunga 85), Walker, Martin. Subs not used: Crittenden, Old, Brookes.

Chippenham: Kauppinen, Ballinger (Taylor 71), Bevan (Jones 46), Allen, Tindle, Preece, Ferguson, Smith (Sandell 76), Griffin, Guthrie. Subs not used: Norman, Diouf

Bookings: Magpies – Hanger, Martin Chippenham – Ballinger, Tindle, Smith

Sent off: Magpies –None

Chippenham – Jones

Attendance 369