Dorchester Town defeated by Merthyr Town despite fighting performance

BY: Phil Spencer – Dorset Echo Sport


Dorchester Town suffered a 2-1 defeat in a fiery match with high-flying Merthyr Town at the Avenue.

The Magpies went into the game on a run of seven matches without a win, and with the club sitting just seven points from the drop zone, the pressure was building to get some points on the board.

In stark contrast, community-owned Merthyr Town found themselves second in the league, just one point behind last week’s Dorchester conquerors, Chippenham Town, and knowing that even a point this afternoon could be enough to take them top due to their superior goal difference.

It always looked like it was going to be a tough test for Laird’s men, as they face the side with the league’s second best attacking record, and the second best defensive record.

This week heard honest conversations with Matt Oldring, Jason Brookes and Nathan Walker, with the latter calling for every member of the team to be “a leader” in order to reach a position of safety, and with a difficult run of games against the league’s top sides on the horizon, the Magpies will need every ounce of leadership they can get.

Walker leads Dorchester Town’s scoring charts with a tally of ten goals this season, but with the Magpies holding the sixth lowest goal scoring record in the league, it is vital that his teammates start to contribute if they are to start picking up some points.

Last week’s demolition at the hands of Chippenham left a frustrated Craig Laird rueing the individual errors within his said, claiming “you can’t paper over the cracks” and hinting that he would have to make changes to his squad.

It came late in the week, but Friday saw the loan additions of defender Jordan Williams from Weston-Super-Mare, and the return of former youngster Ollie Bassett from Yeovil Town.

The addition of Bassett is a welcome one. In a team lacking in creative flair, the Northern Ireland youth international was described by Laird as “a lovely player” and “someone who can win you games” which is something the Magpies certainly need.

Craig Laird will be pleased with the business he has done, but as the squad begins to take shape, the expectation of picking up results will almost certainly grow.

The Dorchester Town manager will be thankful for the success he has had in the transfer market, and with more new arrivals a distinct possibility, it was inevitable that several players were be playing for their futures this afternoon.

For the home side, two changes were made with Jason Brookes dropping to the bench while Lewis Powell missed out due to illness. They were replaced by debutant Jordan Williams while Ollie Bassett started on his eagerly awaiting return for the Magpies.

Merthyr made just one change to their team with Ryan Prosser replacing Corey Jenkins.

The game got off to an electric start when after just 15 seconds Ben Wood dispossessed the defender to slide the ball effortlessly past Oliver Davies in the Merthyr goal.

It was an electric atmosphere with the away fans travelling in force, and they were rewarded just five minutes later when Ryan Prosser rose unchallenged to head in Scott Barrow’s corner at the far post to draw the game level.

What followed was a frantic first half with both sides creating numerous openings but it was the away side who took the ascendency.

From a Magpies corner, David Jerrard had his stabbed effort cleared off the line, only for the Merthyr Town to catch Dorchester on the break, culminating in Eliot Richards rounding Shane Murphy in goal to tap into an empty net.

It was a fiery encounter much like last season’s clash, which came to a head when Nathan Walker and Richards clashed after the Merthyr forward was booked for a dive. The players appeared to clash with Richards pushing the Magpies captain to the floor.

The second half wasn’t quite as lively as the first with Merthyr creating a couple of half chances, including a volley from Jarrad Wright which went just past the post.

Laird introduced Tom Blair, Ollie Griggs and Billy Mitchell from the bench who injected some life into a tired looking Magpies’ side, with Blair fizzing a left footed effort just over the bar from just inside the area.

But it was not to be for the Magpies made it seven games without a win despite an altogether much-improved performance.

Magpies: Murphy, Oldring, Martin, Vance, Walker (C), Dillon, Jerrard, Clarke, Wood, Bassett, Williams

Subs: Blair, Griggs, Mitchell, Brookes, Ayunga