Magic Magpies hit Merthyr for four

BY: Terry Spracklen For Dorset Echo Sport


Dorchester found that the 3G pitch at the Miller Argent Community Stadium suited their style of play despite heavy rain and strong winds making conditions difficult for both sides.

Player-manager Mark Jermyn included himself in the starting line-up replacing Neil Martin who had tweaked a hamstring in training while Bradley Tarbuck marked the next stage of his recovery from injury as an unused substitute.

After a shot from Merthyr skipper Ashley Evans had been blocked, it was Magpies’ keeper Shane Murphy who produced the first save of the game pushing away a drive from Corey Jenkins.

A dangerous cross from the lively Ian Traylor was cut out by Chris Dillon but Adam Davies was able to pump over another centre for Kayne McLaggon whose spectacular bicycle kick flew wide.

With their first meaningful attack, in the eighth minute, the visitors took the lead.

Jake Smeeton broke from defence before exchanging passes with Luke Holmes and delivering the perfect centre for Nathan Walker to head home from six yards.

The game then entered a quiet spell until Franklin Clarke fired wide from 25 yards in the 25th minute following a long throw from Dillon.

The Martyrs went close on the half hour when Traylor found McLaggon who sent a firm 25- yard strike inches over the crossbar.

The Magpies responded instantly and carved out their second goal with a long-range strike from Luke Holmes who spotted Merthyr keeper, Glynn Garner slightly off his line and produced a superb effort which looped over the keeper and into the net.

The Dorchester advantage was immediately halved when a speculative low shot from Traylor somehow rolled under Murphy as he dived to his right.

Jarred Wright then unleashed a 20-yard drive wide before Charlie Davis did likewise at the other end.

Keyon Refell did well to beat Dillon and deliver a centre which Jermyn cut out before Traylor could take advantage.

In first-half stoppage time, McLaggon headed over from a Traylor corner while from a cleared Chris Hugh corner, Dorchester broke but Ben Watson could only shoot wide after being sent clear by Smeeton.

Early in the second half, McLaggon met a cross from Jenkins but fired wide of Murphy’s near post while Clarke found Luke Holmes who also fired wide for Dorchester.

Davis then sent one free-kick off target and had another saved by Garner.

Play swung from end to end and after Wright sent a fierce drive wide for Merthyr, Davis spotted Garner out of position and tried a shot from the halfway line which also missed the target.

The last 10 minutes of the game brought another flurry of goals.

A long pass from his own penalty area by Matt Oldring was chased by substitute Toby Holmes who opened his goalscoring account for the Magpies with a low shot past the keeper after Garner had partially blocked his first effort on the edge of the area.

There were then strong protests from the home fans as McLaggon appeared to go down in the penalty area under the challenge of Murphy but Portishead referee, Mark Russell waved play on.

Gethin Jones blasted over and Martyrs’ substitute Jon Brown fired wide as Merthyr fought hard to again reduce the arrears.

And temporarily, the Magpies saw their advantage halved when Rhys Baggridge met a centre from Traylor to head powerfully past Murphy in the first minute of stoppage time but barely a minute later, Toby Holmes broke swiftly then turned provider for fellow substitute, Liam Sayers to sidefoot past Garner and seal victory.

A caution for Jermyn, who showed his dissent to the referee in the sixth minute of injury time following an off-the-ball incident, was the only negative feature of a very positive Dorchester performance.

Merthyr: Garner, Davies, Hugh (Prosser 56), Evans, (Brown 79), Jones, Baggeridge, Jenkins (Bowen 88), Wright, McLaggon, Reffell, Traylor. Subs not used: Tancock, Bloom

Magpies: Murphy, Hanger, Smeeton Jermyn, Oldring, Dillon, Davis (Brookes 90+3), Clarke, Walker, Watson (Toby Holmes 75), Luke Holmes (Sayers 85). Subs not used: Tarbuck, Walker-Harris

Bookings — Merthyr: None

Dorchester: Jermyn (dissent 90 +6)  

Referee: Mark Russell (Portishead)

Attendance: 362