Magpies fall to narrow defeat against high-flying Hereford

By: Dan Davis – For | @dan_davis20

Dorchester Town lost 1-0 to title-chasing Hereford at the Avenue Stadium, as Lance Smith’s header was enough to claim all three points for Peter Beadle’s side. After a first half dominated by the visitors, Dorchester improved after the interval but squandered good chances through Edward Bastick and Sam Lanahan.

The Bulls finally made the breakthrough on the hour mark, when Smith nodded home at the back post to hand Hereford a deserved victory.

Magpies boss Steve Thompson made two changes to the side that were defeated 2-0 by Slough.

Tom Blair and David Jerrard returned to the starting line-up, whilst loanee Cameron Ebbutt dropped to the bench.

Archie Collins retained his place in the team, after renewing his loan spell at the Avenue for another month. The Exeter City loanee impressed on his first home start for Dorchester, when his long-range effort secured three points against Redditch United a week ago.

Midfielder Luke Winsper wasn’t included in the matchday squad after picking up an injury at Arbour Park, but Ollie Griggs was named among the substitutes.

Hereford were forced into four changes, with a sickness bug depleting Peter Beadle’s squad.

Jimmy Oates, Ryan Green and Jack Deaman were all absent for the trip to the south coast, meaning Calvin Dinsley and new signing Jordan Liburd were named in a makeshift centre-half partnership.

Youngsters Dan Pugh and George Hayes made the Bulls’ bench at the Avenue.

It was the visitors who carved out the best of the early opportunities. Smith was played through into the penalty area, but his low shot was comfortably saved by the experienced Chris Weale.

Hereford continued to pile on the pressure, and should have found the back of the net after nine minutes.

A mix-up between Weale and Ross Carmichael forced the Magpies centre-half to nervously stab behind for a corner-kick. Pablo Haysham whipped in the set-piece, which was worked back out by Garyn Preen.

The delivery back into the box was met by the head of Dinsley, whose effort was cleared off the line by Kyle Egan.

Dorchester finally forayed into the Hereford half after 15 minutes, and Rob Purdie nearly found the back of his own net following a teasing ball onto the penalty spot.

Haysham then deflected a cross from Preen well wide at the back post, with claims of handball from the home side being waved away by referee Phillip Eddie.

Hereford’s strike partnership continued to cause the Magpies’ backline problems, and a superb knockdown from Smith found John Mills who could only fire over the crossbar on the turn.

The visitors missed another guilt-edged opportunity just before the half-hour mark.

A cross into the box was cleared as far as Jamie Bird, who cracked a venomous effort against the base of the upright. From the rebound, Smith guided a diving header narrowly over the target.

Minutes later, Hereford created another clear-cut chance.

Weale looked to have comfortably collected a ball into the box, but spilt it under pressure from Mills. The Bulls hitman turned and fired towards goal, and only a sliding block from Carmichael prevented the visitors from breaking the deadlock.

Mills was presented with another chance before half-time, but rifled over following a sharp turn 12 yards out.

Steve Thompson made two changes at the break, with loanee Ebbutt and Bastick replacing the ineffectual Jerrard and Blair.

But Hereford picked up where they left off early in the second half. Haysham’s corner was headed away by Rose as far as Billy Murphy, who blazed well over into the stand.

A shade before the hour mark, Dorchester finally had their first sight of goal.

Substitute Bastick picked up the ball just inside the Magpies’ half following Ebbutt’s intelligent flick-on, and drove forward at the makeshift Bulls’ back line.

But as the target opened up, the forward’s low shot was smothered down low by Martin Horsell and scrambled away.

Hereford continued to flood forward, and made the breakthrough soon after.

Mills crossed from the near side, and Smith rose highest at the back post to nod into the ground and past Weale for the opener.
The setback seemed to spur the Magpies forward, and the home side should have equalised immediately.

Skipper Gary Bowles chipped a delightful pass over the top of the Hereford defence, which Sam Lanahan latched onto. But as the midfielder got his shot away, Horsell had rushed out to narrow the angle and saved with his legs.

The Bulls could have doubled their lead just two minutes later.

Mills was slotted through on goal, and smashed a shot towards the top corner which Weale tipped round the post spectacularly.

Dorchester looked to find the leveller on the break, and a deep, inswinging delivery into the six-yard box was punched clear by Horsell, who collided with Lanahan as he leapt forward. The Magpies’ number 10 received treatment and had to be replaced by Dom Panesar-Dower, Steve Thompson’s final roll of the dice.

With the final change made, the home side looked to press forward.

Tempers flared ten minutes from time, when Mills appeared to go down easily under a challenge on the half-way line. Haysham and Carmichael came together, and both players were shown a yellow card by the referee.

Bird then picked up the ball 25 yards out but curled his effort well wide of Weale’s far upright, before Peter Beadle threw on Mike Symons in his first change.

Collins had one last chance to cause danger with a cross, but horribly miscued on the muddy surface and watched as his delivery drifted harmlessly wide.

The Bulls rode out the three additional minutes comfortably to earn a crucial victory.

Dorchester, meanwhile, see their four match streak of home victories end disappointingly, and will look ahead to a trip to Gosport Borough in a week’s time.

Dorchester: Weale, Egan, Martin, Rose, Carmichael, Bowles, Jerrard (Bastick, 46), Lowes, Blair (Ebbutt, 46), Lanahan (Panesar-Dower, 74), Collins

Subs not used: Griggs, Brookes

Hereford: Horsell, Purdie, Pring, Murphy, Dinsley, Liburd, Preen, Bird (Symons, 84), Mills, Haysham, Smith

Subs not used: Cuss, Pugh, Hayes, Puddy

Attendance: 909

Referee: Phillip Eddie

Manager Steve Thompson speaking with the media including BBC Radio Solent’s Cliff Pledge and’s Dan Davis following our 0-1 defeat against Hereford at The Avenue.