Dorchester rocked by lowly Robins

BY: Dan Rose – Dorset Echo Sport


IT WAS Avenue agony for Dorchester as they suffered a massive blow in their chances of making the play-offs after a shock defeat to lowly Bideford.

Robins’ full-back and ex-Terra Stephen Reed delivered the hammer blow, slotting home a free-kick just short of the hour mark in what was an uninspiring second-half showing from the hosts.

The Magpies knew a win against the Robins on the night would have moved them back into the top 10 of the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.

After facing the double setback of both a three-match ban and an ankle injury, midfielder Charlie Davis was recalled into the starting XI on his return to the county town squad.

He came in to replace player-assistant Nick Crittenden, who dropped to the bench after starting against Hitchin Town last time out.

There was also a place among the substitutes for defender Chris Dillon on his return. New recruits Gary Bowles and Henry Lander kept their respective spots after making their debuts last time out.

The Robins went into the encounter bottom of the league pile with only one away win to their name in the league prior to kick-off.

They did however, fashion the first half-chance of the game as Kevin Squire tested Shane Murphy in the Magpies’ goal. Lander introduced himself to the home fans minutes later with a firm but fair challenge in front of the main stand.

The first real chance fell to the visitors as Ian Sampson looked to pull the trigger when the ball was cut back to him just inside the area but he made contact with nothing but fresh air.

But with the home side’s first attack of the night, they raced into the lead on 10 minutes.

A free-kick to the back post was hooked into a dangerous area by Toby Holmes and Nathan Walker rose highest under the challenge of the Bideford defence to nod home.

In search of a second, some neat work down the left from the home side allowed Franklyn Clarke to let fly with a curling effort, which was well held by Bideford keeper Kyle Moore.

At the other end, a loose ball from Clarke then left the midfielder with a nervy moment to watch but another strong challenge from Lander spared his blushes.

With the visitors forced into an early change, Murphy then got down well to his left to thwart Bideford’s Angus Wilson, who looked to steer the ball in at the near post – that came after a swing and a miss from defender Chris McGrath.

McGrath was to have his impact however, as set-piece struggles came back to haunt the

Avenue outfit once again on 28 minutes.

A dangerous ball was whipped in and not dealt with by the home side and McGrath, who had been a handful after pressuring the home defence, eventually put the ball home to level things up.

Two minutes before the interval, Mark Jermyn’s men almost regained the advantage. A free-kick from deep was headed on by Walker into the path of Ben Watson, who beat the keeper but saw his effort scrambled away.

Davis was then replaced by Dillon as the Magpies mixed it up at the interval.

After a tame start to the second half, the best chance came directly from a corner for the Magpies. Smeeton’s delivery was beaten away on the line by Moore.

But it was the away side that got themselves ahead on the hour mark with what proved to be the winnner.

Following a foul on the edge of the home side’s area, up stepped former Weymouth man Stephen Reed to bend the ball past Murphy into the corner and give the visitors a shock 2-1 lead.

Straight after that, Crittenden and Liam Sayers were introduced in place of Toby Holmes and Ben Watson.

Goalscorer Walker was also pushed up front from centre-half but the Magpies were struggling to create anything clear cut.

Moore was booked for time-wasting and there was the odd flare in tempers between the sides during the final 20 minutes.

But, in truth, a terrible second period came to an end leaving the Avenue outfit with nothing to show for their efforts and remaining nine points adrift of the top five.

Magpies: Murphy, Tarbuck, Smeeton, Bowles, Walker, Lander, Davis (Dillon 46), Clarke, T Holmes (Crittenden 60), Watson (Sayers 60), L Holmes. Subs not used: Walker-Harris, S Ayunga

Bideford: Moore, Milton, Reed, Sampson, McGrath, Harison, Bye, Groves (Tucker 21), Squire, Wilson, Wood (Chamberlain 63). Subs not used: Odufin, J Barker, N Barker

Bookings: Magpies – Clarke