Saints sin as Walker heads Dorchester to narrow win

BY: Josh Donaldson Dorset Echo Sport


NATHAN Walker scored the only goal of the game as Dorchester Town beat 10-man St Neots Town 1-0 to secure their first home win in the league in seven months.

Their opponents were the last side to be defeated at the Avenue back in February, and Walker made sure they went home empty handed once again with a headed winner just after half-time.

The Saints went down just 15 minutes to the game as James Hall was given his marching orders after two bookings in the space of 20 seconds.

Dorchester had much of the play in the second half, but couldn’t find a second goal to wrap the game up, but they saw it out for a deserved win.

The hosts named an unchanged side from the team that beat Frome Town 4-0 10 days ago. The only change came on the bench as Nick Crittenden was replaced by Nick Swann, who scored a deft chip from 20 yards in midweek for the reserves.

The opening play was scrappy with the only bright spark coming from Mario Mateus, who was beating man after man on the right wing.

Tom Wood picked up an early booking after fouling the diminutive winger before the Magpies’ Lewis Morgan followed him into it soon after.

The cards were flowing from the referee’s pocket and it wasn’t long before the game saw its first red card.

Hall picked up a booking for dissent and then 20 seconds later he was given his marching orders.

He fouled Jake Smeeton before shoving a Dorchester player and the referee had no hesitation in sending him off.

After the dismissal, the Magpies dominated possession, but struggled to break down the away side as they sat deep looking to frustrate the hosts.

Dory Yates had a great opportunity to break the deadlock but he saw his 30-yard effort cannon off the bar.

The away side’s only threat was from set-pieces but despite some good deliveries from Declan Rogers, the hosts were defending stoutly.

Mateus was causing real problems down the right flank. He again beat his man before finding Walker unmarked at the back post.

The striker was just two yards out, but he could only blaze his effort over the bar. The linesman did have his flag up for offside, but that wasn’t much consolation for Walker.

He had another decent chance just before the break. Matt Oldring picked the target man out but his header was well saved by Alex Archer.

The Magpies made two changes at the break. Lewis Morgan, who was booked in the first half, came off for Swann whilst Ollie Bassett replaced Ben Wood.

It didn’t take long for the county town side to take the lead. A free-kick in the 48th minute eventually fell to Mark Jermyn and he found Walker who made no mistake from close range.

Before the goal there were concerns for Shane Murphy after he collided with Rogers. The keeper needed some treatment, but with no substitute stopper on the bench, he played on in some discomfort.

The visitors were unable to exploit this but they did have a strong penalty appeal turned down. Ryan Hawkins broke past Smeeton on the hour mark and instead of pointing to the spot, the referee booked the St Neots man for diving.

The hosts looked in control of the game and they had a chance to wrap the game up midway through the second half. After pressure from Bassett, Tom Ward’s poor back-pass was collected by Walker. He may have been clean through but his shot was straight at the keeper.

The game was now very open and the Magpies looked potent on the break. They kept creating chances but none of them found the back of the net. Mateus had the pick of the bunch as his shot from 12 yards cannoned off the upright.

Despite all their efforts, including a spectacular volleyed attempt from Bassett, the Magpies nearly let their lead slip, needing Swann to clear off his own line from a corner before Murphy pulled off an unorthodox save with his head to keep out Rogers’ bicycle kick from close range.

But, the hosts dealt with the late pressure to secure their first home win the league since February and the all-important three points.

Magpies: Murphy, Jermyn, Smeeton, Martin, Oldring, Dillon, Yates (Jerrard 69), Morgan (Swann 45), Walker, Mateus, Wood (Bassett 45)

Subs not used: Sayers, Ayunga

St Neots: Archer, Smith, Jo Hall (Mason 45), McGeorge, T Ward (Patrick 45), C Ward, Hawkins (Spark 84), Clark, Ja Hall, Wood, Rogers

Subs not used: Hyem, Hobes

Referee: Philip Staynings (Swindon)

Bookings: Magpies – Morgan, Yates, Martin, Smeeton

St Neots – Wood, Hall, Hawkins, Rogers

Sent off: St Neots – Hall

Attendance: 318