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Dorchester Town concede late leveller at Chesham

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

CHESHAM UNITED 2 DORCHESTER TOWN 2

TEN-MAN Dorchester Town were pegged back by Chesham United for a 2-2 draw in a dramatic finale to their Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division encounter at The Meadow. Chesham defender Benji Crilley had given the hosts a first-half lead after goalkeeper Chris Weale failed to deal with a corner.

New signing Ashley Pope then levelled on his first Magpies appearance six minutes after the restart from an incisive Gary Bowles pass.

Dorchester thought they had scored a winner when Sam Lanahan volleyed home a Kyle Egan cross in the latter stage but a Ravi Shamsi corner led to difficulty in the Magpies’ area as the ball sailed straight into the net.

There was still time in the closing stages for Dorchester defender Callum Rose to be sent off for a second bookable offence as the visitors nervously held on for a rare away point.

Magpies’ boss Steve Thompson makes two changes to the side that started the 1-0 win over Kings Langley last Saturday, with Luke Winsper making his return from injury and new signing Pope coming in to replace Billy Lowes and Archie Collins, who both drop to the bench.

Pope, along with Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, was one of two signings made by the Magpies in the run-up to the match, although there was no place on the bench for the latter, with Lowes and Collins joined by Cameron Ebbutt, Ollie Griggs and Sol Ayunga in the dugout.

Chesham, meanwhile, were able to field ex-Terra Jefferson Louis in their line-up, with the veteran striker already having scored twice against the Magpies this season for previous club Banbury.

With Chesham having won four of their last five league home games, it was no perhaps no surprise that the Generals mustered the first shot at goal, but Weale’s goal was not threatened.

Pope, who joined the Magpies from Bournemouth on a work experience loan, was then involved in two moments of promise for the away side.

Firstly, the striker showed good strength to hold the ball up and create a chance for Winsper, who dragged his shot wide, before the Cherries’ loanee saw a shot deflected wide for a corner, from which Rose aimed an attempt off target.

As Dorchester continued to enjoy the better of play, skipper Bowles worked his way past a Chesham defender before pulling a shot wide of goal.

After a 15-minute spell up to the half hour mark that saw little created, Chesham had to be alert to clear a dangerous David Jerrard cross after the Magpies produced good link-up play on the right.

But Chesham hit back with the game’s opening goal shortly before half-time. After seeing a deflected shot go wide of goal, Chesham won another corner that Weale failed to claim, allowing Crilley to steal in and poke a shot into the net from close range.

Rose and Bowles were then booked in quick succession for the Magpies as the Generals took a one-goal advantage into the break.

Upon the resumption, Chesham continued their attacking play and Weale did well to thwart the first major chance of the second half, which proved crucial for his side as the visitors deservedly levelled soon afterwards.

Bowles was the creator, slipping in Pope from his holding midfield role to enable the debutant to plant a finish under advancing goalkeeper Harry Isted.

After conceding the equaliser, Chesham responded strongly when Louis deftly brought the ball under his control in the area, allowing him to unleash a shot that drew a brilliant save from Weale.

Dorchester continued to press for a winner and a move that started with Weale distributing the ball to Jerrard ended with Tom Blair blazing over after Chesham could only partially clear a Neil Martin cross.

Chesham made all three allotted substitutions as they pressed for a another goal, but it was Dorchester who took the lead when Egan’s cross found Lanahan, who slammed home a volley.

But the Magpies’ lead was short-lived as Shamsi’s corner caused mayhem in the Dorchester area, with Weale beaten by the windswept flight of the ball.

A shaky ending to the game worsened for Dorchester as Rose, who has enjoyed excellent form since his loan move to the club from Plymouth Argyle, was given his marching orders for a what the officials deemed to be a late tackle, but the Magpies held on for a point that arguably might have been three.

Chesham: Isted, Crilley, Dhillon, Bevans (Hutton 68), Murphy, Locke (Smaldone 78), Shamsi, Watkins, Louis (Swales 73), Toomey, Green. Subs not used: McGleish, Bates

Magpies: Weale, Egan, Martin, Rose, Carmichael, Bowles, Blair (Griggs 89), Winsper, Pope, Lanahan (Lowes 82), Jerrard (Collins 78). Subs not used: Ebbutt, Ayunga.

Attendance: 234