Griggs header tames Dragons

BY: Neil Walton – Dorset Echo Sport (@EchosportNeil)


A SUPERB flicked header from Ollie Griggs gave Dorchester Town their first Evo-Stik Southern League Premier win of the season.

The Magpies had struggled to create chances up to that point, with a David Jerrard free-kick smartly saved by Basingstoke goalkeeper Colm McCadden in the first-half.

Jerrard turned provider for Griggs after the hour mark, when his delightful cross was headed home to hand Craig Laird’s men their first points of the campaign.

Dorchester made four changes for the match, bringing in Jamie Beasley, who made his first league appearance of the season, Griggs, Callum Laird and Dom Panesar-Dower in place of Chris Clarke, Max Buckler, Sam Lanahan and Kyle Egan.

The Magpies began with a 5-4-1 formation in defence, which turned into three at the back when Dorchester moved forwards, with Neil Martin and Laird in wing-back positions.

Early on, Basingstoke winger Sam Smart was quick to exploit the space in behind the wing-backs, using his pace to hare down the left and set up Ben Wright, who saw his header deflected behind.

Basingstoke had two bites of the cherry from the corner, but could not muster a decent chance and Dorchester cleared.

With 15 minutes played, Dorchester had their first and only shot on target of the opening half, courtesy of a Jerrard free-kick.

Griggs was caught from behind 30 yards out and Jerrard bent his free-kick around the left of the wall, forcing McCaddem into a scrambling save low to his left.

From the resulting corner, Ross Carmichael saw a header deflected for another corner, where Jordan Storey nodded well wide.

Smart was proving a constant menace and was at the heart of good play again when he popped up on the right and found Marcus Johnson-Schuster 12 yards out, but the Dragons’ captain could only blaze over when unchallenged.

On 38 minutes, it was the Magpies’ talisman Jerrard’s turn to provide some much needed creativity when he spotted McCaddem off his line and sent a 30-yard lob just wide.

Moments later, Wright wriggled past two Dorchester defenders and hit a deflected strike into the arms of Chris Weale as the sides went into the break level.

Dorchester began the second half much more brightly than the first, displaying the sort of crisp passing that manager Laird’s philosophy is based on.

But on 58 minutes the Magpies received a major let off when Arron Jarvis beat Weale to a lofted through ball and squared for Smart, who could only blaze over with an unattended goal at his mercy.

Carmichael then saved Dorchester with a crucial sliding intervention after a slick low cross stemmed from excellent play down the Basingstoke left from George Bennett.

Carmichael’s good work was rewarded 60 seconds later when Dorchester took the lead on 61 minutes.

Beasley showed neat footwork deep in the Basingstoke half and offloaded to Jerrard, whose perfect cross found the unmarked Griggs to guide a header past McCaddem.

Griggs was then immediately substituted for Buckler as Laird set the Magpies to break on the counter in the face of expected Basingstoke pressure.

And the Magpies should have doubled their lead soon afterwards when Panesar-Dower raided down the right and picked out the free Jerrard, but his turn and shot was tame and allowed McCaddem to safely collect the ball.

There was a blow for Dorchester on 73 minutes when Jerrard limped off with a leg injury, with Egan replacing him.

Basingstoke began to throw men forward desperately in search of an equaliser, but saw a Wright volley deflected wide and a Bennett free-kick expertly dealt with by Weale as Dorchester held on to collect their first three points of the season.

Magpies: Weale, Bowles, Martin, Storey, Carmichael, Lowes, Griggs (Buckler 62), Laird, Beasley (Blair 68), Jerrard (Egan 73), Panesar-Dower

Subs not used: Lanahan, Clarke

Basingstoke: McCaddem, Johnson-Schuster, Bennett (Goater 90), Bayliss, Hollamby, Collier, Atkinson, Kennedy, Jarvis (Davis 72), Wright, Smart

Subs not used: McCann

Attendance: 469

Referee: Daniel Flynn