Canaries prove just too much for Dorchester

BY: Colin Ridgway – Dorset Echo Sport


Dorchester boss Mark Jermyn was left frustrated as his side lost a thrilling encounter at Hitchin.

The Canaries extended the gap between themselves and the Magpies to nine points thanks to a late Jonny McNamara header following a corner.

The Magpies came into the game with eight of the starting line-up that had beaten St Neots last Saturday while introducing new signings Henry Lander and Gary Bowles, who has returned to the club, and included assistant-boss Nick Crittenden in a rejigged defence.

The Magpies forced an early save as Bradley Tarbuck set up Luke Holmes, although the effort was straight at home keeper Charlie Horlock.

Hitchin conjured a response as Alasan Ann put McNamara through on the left flank but his shot curled just round the far post.

Visiting striker Toby Holmes presented a constant threat to the Hitchin defence and outpaced Lewis Rolfe before firing over on 16 minutes.

While the hosts had the greater possession, Dorchester continued to threaten on the attack and they took the lead on 25 minutes through Toby Holmes, who converted at the near post.

The lead was short-lived as the Canaries showed their determination to hang on to their play-off slot.

A long ball found Brett Donnelly with only Murphy to beat and the forward slotted home to level the scores on 27 minutes.

Tarbuck forced Horlock to come out and save after a deflected ball had fallen nicely for the forward. At the other end, a surging run by Kane Smith – who had played in Ipswich Town’s development squad during the week — produced a teasing cross which Callum Donnelly was unable to convert under the crossbar, allowing the Magpies’ defence to scramble the ball to safety.

On 61 minutes, Hitchin took the lead for the first time in the game as a deep cross was nodded back by McNamara for Ann to slide in.

It was Dorchester’s turn to show resilience as they clawed their way back into the game 10 minutes later.

A loose Hitchin pass was pounced upon and skipper Jake Smeeton powered down the left flank. His cross was met by a perfect header from Ben Watson, which gave Horlock no chance.

The decisive goal came on 79 minutes. From a corner Lucas Kirkpatrick’s ball beat the onrushing attackers to find McNamara at the far post. The winger was in the right place to deflect the ball home from close range.

Hitchin were able to see out the remainder of the game and might even have snatched a fourth after good build-up by Burns and Mason Spence saw a teasing ball just evade the onrushing Kirk- patrick.

Hitchin: Horlock, Smith, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly (Burns 77), Spence, Kirkpatrick. Subs not used: Pearson, Leavers, Bickerstaff, Palmiero,

Magpies: Murphy, Crittenden, Smeeton, Bowles, Walker, Lander, Clarke, L Holmes, T Holmes (Sayers 65), Watson (Ayunga 89), Tarbuck. Subs not used: Walker-Harris, Brookes, Proffitt

Bookings: Hitchin – Brett Donnelly

Bookings: Dorchester – Shane Murphy, Jake Smeeton, Franklyn Clarke, Ben Watson.

ATT: 366