Dorchester Town cruelly robbed by Kettering late show

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


DORCHESTER Town succumbed to an Aaron O’Connor hat-trick as the Magpies were cruelly robbed of a point in a barnstorming Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division clash at Latimer Park.

Ash Pope had given the Magpies an early lead before Ross Carmichael earned two bookings and Kettering’s Brett Solkhon and O’Connor made it 2-1 at half-time.

Dorchester bravely replied to make it 3-2 through Kyle Egan and Billy Lowes before O’Connor completed his hat-trick with two late goals to steal a vital win for the play-off chasing Poppies.

Dorchester boss Steve Thompson made just one change to the starting XI as Saturday’s match-winner Aaron Rodriguez replaced the unavailable Antonio Diaz in midfield.

Ollie Griggs returned from his one-month loan spell at Winchester to make the bench alongside Ed Bastick, Alex Stafie and Dom Panesar-Dower.

Dorchester got the match underway and took less than two minutes to score against a Poppies defence that had previously only conceded eight league goals at home all season.

Winger Rodriguez was the creator, surging past Ben Toseland on the Magpies’ right before offloading to Pope, who cut inside and produced a devastating finish past home keeper Paul White from a tight angle.

Kettering were clearly dazed by the Magpies’ start and it took a further 10 minutes for the hosts to fashion a chance courtesy of Matthew Stevens, whose superb control allowed him to fire just over from 20 yards.

With that chance behind them, Kettering were denied by goalkeeper Chris Weale’s magnificent block from Rhys Hoenes in a one-on-one situation, before the veteran stopper gathered the rebound.

Both sides traded overhit crosses from promising positions – Toseland and Pope the respective culprits – before a pair of goalmouth scrambles, one at each end, ensued.

Kettering’s was self-induced, Gary Mulligan’s weak header not reaching White and inviting pressure from Dorchester before the hosts’ defence cleared.

The Northamptonshire side then created a panic in the Magpies’ defence, which was also cleared, before Carmichael and Stevens earned a booking for their part in a minor fracas.

Dorchester nearly extended their lead when Tom Blair raced down the wing and crossed beyond the waiting Pope, but their excellent half was to quickly turn pear-shaped as Carmichael received a second booking in three minutes after bringing down Hoenes.

On 44 minutes, the hosts equalised through Solkhon after he controlled and fired home from Lindon Meikle’s cross.

And, to complete a rapid first-half capitulation, Dorchester went behind in the first minute of stoppage time when dangerman Hoenes beautifully played O’Connor clean through, the forward coolly slotting past Weale for a barely-deserved 2-1 half-time lead.

Kettering avoided the mistake of beginning the second half as slowly as the first, creating two chances for Stevens.

Firstly, the striker narrowly missed a Michael Richens cross along the six-yard line, before an acrobatic attempt from close range evaded the target after Mulligan recycled a clearance from a corner.

Down to 10 men and in danger of conceding a fourth, Dorchester summoned a stirring revival in fortunes as they retook the lead with two clinical finishes in the space of five minutes.

Egan got the leveller, beating the hapless Toseland after a throw-in and cutting inside before lashing home a finish.

It was then left to Lowes to calmly convert a one-on-one chance past White after racing onto an incisive through ball on 62 minutes.

Kettering then made all three subs with Solkhon, Stevens and Hoenes replaced by Ben Milnes, Wilson Carvalho and Rene Howe respectively.

Dorchester made two of their own, Griggs and Bastick replacing Luke Winsper and Rodriguez, but on 75 minutes Kettering were level for a second time.

The hit-and-miss Toseland delivered a pinpoint cross for Howe to shoot at goal but, after Weale could only parry his effort out, O’Connor was on hand to snatch his second goal.

Richens then tested the on-form Weale with a low shot before Kettering stole a cruel winner deep into normal time when Carvalho finished off a strong run with an accurate ball to O’Connor who swept home to claim a match-winning treble.

Kettering: White, Thomas, Toseland, Solkhon (Milnes 63), Mulligan, Pendley, Meikle, Richens, Hoenes (Carvalho 71), Stevens (Howe 71), O’Connor. Subs not used: Stohrer, Bateman

Magpies: Weale, Egan, Martin, Rose, Carmichael, Winsper (Griggs 72), Rodriguez (Bastick 72), Lowes, Pope (Stafie 82), Collins, Blair. Sub not used: Panesar-Dower

Referee: Matthew Law

Attendance: 502