Magpies fall to narrow Merthyr defeat after Traylor double

By: Dan Davis – For | @dan_davis20

Dorchester Town were beaten 2-1 by Merthyr Town at the Avenue Stadium, as Ian Traylor’s brace fired the Welsh side to victory in the Southern Premier League.

Traylor, who possesses an impressive goal scoring record for the visitors, ruthlessly fired Merthyr into a two goal lead. Neil Martin’s poorly weighted back pass was punished by the frontman, before Traylor punished another mistake from the full back moments after the interval.

The deficit was spectacularly halved by Luke Winsper’s strike around the hour mark, but Dorchester couldn’t capitalise on a late flurry of chances, extending their winless streak to four games.

Magpies boss Steve Thompson made two changes to the side that were held to a 1-1 draw against Dunstable Town a fortnight ago.

Kyle Egan came back into the starting XI in place of Tom Blair, with Archie Collins moving back into a favoured forward role. Sam Lanahan also dropped out, replaced by Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist for his first start.

David Jerrard departed the club before last week’s postponed fixture at Kettering Town, with the Magpies re-signing Aaron Rodriguez from local rivals Weymouth after a successful loan spell earlier this season.

The wide-man netted four times in 11 appearances for Dorchester before his return to the Terras in December, and was named among the substitutes.

Magpies, who are without a win in the last three games, started off slowly and Merthyr almost opened the scoring within four minutes.

A rash tackle from skipper Gary Bowles was penalised in the middle of the park, and the resulting set-piece was delicately lofted over the Dorchester backline by Ian Traylor. Henry Franklyn latched onto the pass, but could only stab narrowly wide of the target from close range.

In the 11th minute, the Magpies fashioned the clearest opening of the early exchanges. Collins played through Bournemouth loanee Ashley Pope, who raced clear but could only blaze high over the crossbar from 12 yards as Merthyr shot stopper Ed Hewitson rushed out to narrow the angle.

Collins almost created the opener again moments later with an arching delivery from a corner, but Leigh-Gilchrist nodded tamely towards goal and the visitors scrambled clear.

A minute later, and Merthyr punished the Magpies. Martin and Carmichael were hounded by Owain Jones and Traylor, forcing the experienced full back to roll an under-hit pass backwards. Traylor raced onto the loose ball and calmly swept an effort past Weale, his 19th of the season.

The visitors’ forward line continued to harry Dorchester’s centre-halves, allowing Jones to be slotted through on goal. But as the striker looked to pull the trigger, Carmichael slid in brilliantly and cleared the danger.

Ashley Evans then rose above Martin at the back post, but could only steer Cory Jenkins’ delivery narrowly over the top.

A moment of parity for Dorchester arrived in the 26th minute, when Leigh-Gilchrist expertly controlled a dropping ball on the edge of the area. But as the Bristol Rovers loanee let loose an effort he slipped, and the shot sliced narrowly wide of the far post.

A shade after the half hour mark, and Traylor continued to demonstrate his attacking prowess for the visitors. The in-form hitman lashed a volley towards goal from 12 yards, but was denied by a superb acrobatic stop from Weale who tipped over the top.

Dorchester’s veteran goalkeeper was called into action again just before half-time with a sharp stop to deny Jones, before palming away another venomous effort at the front post.

Steve Thompson made one switch at the interval, replacing the struggling Bowles with Billy Lowes.

But just as Dorchester looked for a leveller, the visitors dealt an early hammer blow. Franklyn slotted through Traylor, who brushed off the attentions of Martin before coolly firing home at Weale’s near post.

The Welsh side’s rapid start to the second period continued in the 48th minute, as Jones raced onto a blocked clearance and was only denied the visitors’ third by the onrushing Weale.

A combination of Weale and Callum Rose then denied Traylor his hat-trick, as the Merthyr frontman looked set to pull the trigger from close range.

But Dorchester continued to fight to halve the deficit. Firstly, Collins smacked a long-range effort which thundered off the crossbar and dropped narrowly in front of the goal line. Then, as the Magpies continued to pump crosses into the penalty area, a clear handball claim was waved away by referee Ciaran Barlow.

Finally, on the hour mark, the Magpies pulled one goal back. Bastick blocked Hewitson’s attempted clearance, and the ball spun off the Avenue surface for a corner kick. From the resultant set-piece, substitute Ryan Prosser inadvertently struck the frame of the goal with a header and the visitors looked to scramble away.

But the Magpies were quick to seize possession back, and as space opened up Winsper drove home a spectacular strike into the top corner.

The midfielder’s 25-yard strike seemed to breathe new life into Dorchester, who immediately pressed for a leveller. Collins’ strike deflected into the air and fell kindly for Pope, who could only volley over the target.

The Magpies then made their final two changes, with Martin and Pope replaced by Lanahan and the returning Rodriguez.

But it was Merthyr who should have found the back of the net next. Kerry Morgan raced onto a through ball after clearing the Magpies’ backline, but was betrayed by a heavy touch and allowed Weale to gather.

Into the final stages, Dorchester looked to send the ball forward quickly, with the two substitutes Lanahan and Rodriguez attempting to combine for an opening. On the 90-minute mark a chance did arrive, but centre-half Rose drove a strike across the face of goal.

There was still time for Lanahan to come inches away from connecting with a last-gasp centre, before the referee called time on another disappointing home result for Dorchester.

Dorchester: Weale, Egan, Martin (Lanahan), Rose, Carmichael, Bowles (Lowes), Bastick, Winsper, Pope (Rodriguez), Leigh-Gilchrist, Collins

Unused substitutes: Ayunga, Brookes

Merthyr: Hewitson, Davies, Tancock, Evans, Patten, Harris, Jenkins (Prosser), Wright, Jones (Morgan), Franklyn (Reddy), Traylor

Unused substitutes: John, Price

Attendance: 409