Dorchester Town survive late scare to beat Stratford

BY: Josh Donaldson Dorset Echo Sport


THE Magpies survived a late scare to beat Stratford Town at the DCS Stadium 2-1 in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division last night.

Charlie Davis opened the scoring midway through the first half for the visitors and Toby Holmes doubled their lead in the 36th minute.

Stratford had chances of their own in the second half, Richard Gregory coming closest for the hosts as his strike struck the crossbar 10 minutes into the second half.

There was a late scare for the away side as Gregory hooked a shot into the net with two minutes to go but the Magpies held firm to win their first game in four attempts.

Boss Jermyn wanted a strong finish to the season from his charges and a positive result to end their poor run of form would have been the perfect remedy.

He made one change to the side that lost 1-0 at Bedworth United on Saturday, bringing himself into the starting line-up in place of Franklyn Clarke.

The visitors showed their intentions from the outset – attacking with gusto. Bradley Tarbuck was in the action early on but his shot was saved by Andy Kemp in the Stratford goal.

The keeper was nearly called upon once again for the hosts but Holmes’ shot went over after a neat piece of footwork, but they didn’t have to wait long for their opener.

Davis turned nicely inside the box, wrong footed Kemp to find the top corner and give his side the lead in the 21st minute.

Stratford nearly hit back through Mark Magee. His free-kick stung the palms of Alan Walker-Harris before Liam Francis went close for Stratford.

But it was the county town side who kept the pressure on and reaped their rewards nine minutes before half-time.

Kemp and Marcel Simpson had a breakdown in communication at the back for the home side and Holmes capitalised, tapping in to double the Magpies’ lead.

The home side, who like Dorchester had little to play for, did not sit back.

Richard Gregory smashed a vicious strike on goal from range, but Walker-Harris got behind the ball to make a comfortable save as the visitors took their two-goal lead into half-time.

Stratford came out fast after the interval as Jack Roberts slipped in Luke Sheldon but his shot was well saved by Walker-Harris.

They continued to press forward and Gregory unleashed another stinging drive from 25 yards. This time he did beat Walker-Harris only to see it cannon off the underside of the crossbar.

Dorchester were living dangerously as the hosts had much more purpose about their play, but Jermyn nearly added a third for the away side.

His shot from inside the area was cleared off the line by Simeon Tulloch, who had been brought on as a first-half substitute after Keiren Westwood has suffered an ankle injury in the opening exchanges.

Undeterred by the scare, Stratford pressed on looking for a way back into the game. Sheldon’s cross found Magee but his glancing header cleared Walker-Harris’ bar.

The Magpies looked too sure up their defence with 20 minutes to go as Oakley Hanger was brought on for the booked Luke Holmes.

However with just two minutes remaining the hosts got their lifeline through the ever-threatening Gregory.

His left-footed hook came off a Magpies’ defender and deflected past Walker-Harris to give the away side a scare.

With the wind in their sails, Stratford pressed for the equaliser. Michael McGrath got hold of a sweet volley from 25 yards but Walker-Harris made a good save.

The Magpies survived the late onslaught to record a well-deserved victory.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, B Walker, Martin, Jermyn, Lander, Dillon, Davis, L Holmes (Hanger, 69), N Walker, T Holmes (Proffitt 76), Tarbuck

Subs not used: Murphy, Crittenden, Brookes

Stratford: Kemp, Stringfellow, Westwood (Tulloch, 17), Simpson, Francis, Roberts, Moses-Garvey, McGrath, Magee, Gregory, Sheldon

Subs not used: Fagan, Angus, Faulkner

Bookings: Magpies: L Holmes

Stratford: None

Attendance: 196