Dorchester stunned by late Portchester finish

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

DORCHESTER were dumped out of the FA Cup first qualifying round by AFC Portchester as a late Robbie Evans

goal condemned the Magpies to a 1-0 defeat in Hampshire.

Interim manager Trevor Senior’s men had dominated for large spells and created numerous chances, but their lack of a specialist striker was brutally exposed.

Tom Blair wasted the majority of the visitors’ opportunities, before Evans punished the away side on 85 minutes, lashing home after a deflected header.

An ignominious defeat rounds off a sorry week for Dorchester, who saw ex-boss Craig Laird resign 24 hours after a 3-0 derby loss to Weymouth.

Dorchester have failed to score in four matches, conceding 10 goals in the process, and their winless run extends to mid-August when an Ollie Griggs header earned them a 1-0 win over Basingstoke Town.

The Magpies had been dealt an early favour before the game even started as teenage winger Blair won an appeal against the red card shown to him for a supposed stamp on Weymouth’s Ashley Wells in the Ridgeway derby.

That decision enabled Blair to start in the Magpies’ first game without former manager Laird.

Blair was heavily involved throughout the opening half and, after the wide man was felled early on, Jamie Beasley saw a free-kick saved by the Portchester goalkeeper.

Billy Lowes then found Blair, again playing in an advanced role, with a neat threaded ball but his route to goal was blocked by a determined home defence.

Then, after good work from Dom Panesar-Dower to free Kyle Egan on the right, Blair shot over when well-placed to score.

In what was becoming a frustrating half for the youngster, he failed to apply the finishing touch to a fine run and cross by Luke Winsper, with Winsper heading the resultant corner straight at the home keeper.

Dorchester went into the break in the ascendancy but still couldn’t find a breakthrough despite Winsper earning a free-kick in a good position as the Magpies saw it cleared without any harm.

After the break, Senior make an attacking change which saw Panesar-Dower replaced by Ed Bastick. The Pacey winger was involved straight away as Dorchester pressed for a goal.

Both Bastick and Winsper failed to dart into the box given opportunities to do so, before Bastick robbed a Portchester player of the ball and got a shot away, only to see it turned behind for a corner.

Beasley saw another free-kick saved moments later, but the tall winger was booked for a late tackle, gifting

Portchester a free-kick in a dangerous position. Luckily for Beasley, the Magpies were able to clear safely.

Blair and Beasley were seeing most of the chances fall their way, but both men had seemingly left their shooting boots behind in Dorset, Blair once more firing over before Beasley shot high after an exchange with Bastick.

Dorchester were putting intense pressure on the Portchester goal and created a succession of chances midway through the second half.

Three more chances then fell to Blair, who was proving to have a highly profligate day in front of goal. He shot over harmlessly twice in five minutes before wasting a one-on-one situation by dithering over his shot.

Senior threw on David Jerrard in the hope of scoring a late winner, but with five minutes remaining it was the hosts who achieved that feat.

Goalkeeper Chris Weale uncharacteristically saw a cross evade his grasp and a deflected header saw Evans presented with a chance that he buried from close range.

Dorchester pressed for an equaliser with little time remaining, but their only chance of note was a Jerrard curler that drifted over the bar as Portchester held on for victory.

The win earns the Royals £3,000 in prize money as they go into the hat for the second qualifying round, while Dorchester must lick their wounds and return for an away clash at St Neots Town on Saturday.

Magpies: Weale, Egan, Clarke, Bowles, Storey, Martin, Panesar-Dower (Bastick 46), Winsper, Blair, Lowes, Beasley (Jerrard 77).

Subs not used: Griggs, Corbridge, Brookes, Ross