Dorchester fight off Crows for victory

BY: Dorset Echo Sport


DORCHESTER gained a hard-fought victory over play-off chasing Royston Town thanks to a great strike from Aaron Rodriguez in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.

The Magpies worked hard to prise three points from play-off hopefuls, Royston Town, on a heavy Avenue Stadium playing surface.

Newly re-signed Antonio Diaz replaced Ed Bastick in the starting line-up while Billy Lowes and Tom Blair were recalled replacing Gary Bowles and the departed Lewis Leigh-Gilchist.

Newcomers Alex Stafie and Aaron Rodriguez were given places on the bench alongside Bastick, Dom Panesar-Dower and Sol Ayunga. And it was the combination of Stafie and Rodriguez that proved key to unlocking the stubborn Royston defence after 79 minutes.

Stafie set up Rodriguez who outpaced defender Dan Brathwaite before cutting inside then drilling an unstoppable shot past Josh Tibbetts in the visitors goal.

Stafie then went close to doubling the tally with a 25-yard effort which just cleared the Royston crossbar.

The Magpies started the match well and after two minutes they carved out their first opportunity when Kyle Egan’s clever back heel to Collins was intercepted and cleared by Romelle Alomenu.

Next Diaz broke down the right wing before laying the ball off to Egan who returned the pass to Diaz whose ultimate shot lacked the strength to trouble the alert Tibbetts.

At the other end, Rohdell Gordon cut past Neil Martin but could only send a low shot wide from 18-yards.

After a patient build-up Adam Marriott was next to try his luck with a low shot which was scooped up by Chris Weale, who was named skipper in the absence of Bowles.

Next a shot from Gordon was cut out by Martin on the edge of the penalty area while the follow up effort from Gus Scott-Morris was blocked by Collins.

Royston kept up their pressure and skipper Scott Bridges cleared the crossbar from eight-yards following a Scott-Morris corner.

Back on the attack, Dorchester came close to taking the lead when Tibbetts was forced out of his area to head away enabling Collins the chance to shoot but Ed Asafu-Adjaye was perfectly positioned to clear off the goal line.

A defensive error then let in the Magpies but both Ashley Pope and Collins were thwarted by a fine double save from Tibbetts who was then forced to race out again to prevent Blair latching on to a through ball.

Back game the Crows and a pinpoint long pass from Scott-Morris picked out Adam Murray who headed straight into Weale’s arms.

Play swung to the other end where Diaz won then took a right wing corner which was met at the far post by Callum Rose who volleyed over.

A corner from Scott-Morris was then met by Brathwaite whose header was saved by Weale.

Another impressive break by Diaz fizzled out when the loan winger over ran the ball with just Tibbetts to beat.

A free-kick from Scott-Morris was met by Bridges whose glanced header was scooped over the bar by Asafu-Adjaye at the far post.

A clever attempt with outside of the foot by Bridges dipped just over while Egan cleared at the near post as Royston ended the first half strongly.

Neither side made a change at the break and two minutes into the second half Collins registered the next goal attempt with a 20-yard drive over.

A looping header from Murray at the other end was tipped over by Weale while opposite number Tibbetts did just enough to foil a move created by Diaz and developed by Collins whose shot lost power with the keeper’s intervention enabling Scott Thomas to clear off the Royston line.

Ross Carmichael was shown a yellow card for a foul on Gordon resulting in a free-kick which Scott-Morris delivered to the far post where Asafu-Adjaye drove straight at teammate Murray with the ball deflecting harmlessly away from goal.

Rose also entered the referee’s notebook with a foul on Sam Corcoran but this time the free kick from Marriott struck the Dorchester wall.

Marriott went closer shortly after but his low 18-yard strike flew just wide.

Corcoran then unsuccessfully tested Weale and had another effort blocked.

The turning point came with the 73rd minute introduction of Stafie who replaced Pope and six minutes later, Magpies fans were celebrating the winning goal.

Stafie then chested the ball down to Collins who set up Diaz to charge past Asafu-Adjaye but his centre was again cut out by Tibbetts.

There were eight minutes left on the clock when Diaz burst through again but there was the Crows keeper to block.

Bridges sent a 22-yard free-kick awarded for a foul by Carmichael over the crossbar before Stafie and Egan combined to create a chance for Collins whose effort was hacked off the line.

Royston kept pressing and a long ball was chased by substitute Josh Castaglione but Martin just managed to prod the ball back to Weale.

Dorchester could have added a second goal but after Stafie cleared the crossbar, Rodriguez’s lay off found Collins whose shot was turned aside by Tibbetts.

The Magpies are next in action when they face a trip to Kettering Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Magpies: Weale, Egan, Martin, Rose, Carmichael, Winsper, Diaz (Bastick 90+1), Lowes, Pope (Stafie 73), Collins, Blair (Rodriguez 63) Subs not used: Panesar-Dower, Ayunga

Royston Town: Tibbetts, Scott-Morris, Alomenu (Gaughran 65), Bridges, Murray, Brathwaite, Asafu-Adjaye, Corcoran, Marriott (Frendo 72), Thomas, Gordon (Castiglione 86) Subs not used: Hankins, Powell.

Referee: Lee Rutter

Attendance: 397