Metropolitan Police give Dorchester Town the blues

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


DORCHESTER Town fell to a dull 1-0 defeat to Metropolitan Police in their Evo-Stik Southern Premier South curtain-raiser at the Avenue Stadium.

Jack Mazzone’s opportunistic strike in the sixth minute proved decisive, while the physical striker also rattled a post as Dorchester struggled for creativity and chances throughout.

Left-back Neil Martin and sub Dom Panesar-Dower came closest to scoring, but Police stopper Luke Williams was never seriously troubled.

Dorchester handed competitive debuts to goalkeeper Kingsley Latham, midfielder Sean Stewart and forward Cameron Allen, while fellow new signings Callum Thompson and Cameron Murray were stationed on the bench.

Ross Carmichael (back) and Tom Blair (shin) were passed fit to start following assessments at training on Thursday, but Harry Kite (concussion) missed out.

Dorchester began last season with a 5-1 defeat at Banbury United and Magpies’ fans may have been fearing a repeat of that scoreline when Blues’ striker Mazzone reacted quickest for the opening goal.

A cross into the Dorchester area was allowed to bounce, and the stray ball was pounced upon by the eager Mazzone, who showed more desire to earn possession and fire a first-time left-footed shot past the static Latham into the bottom-right corner.

Dorchester tested away gloveman and captain Williams courtesy of the busy Allen, whose dipping left-footed effort brought a secure stop from the Met keeper.

Aside from a Blair free-kick that was easily cleared, the Blues dominated the middle portion of the half, with Jack Beadle unable to control a shot on the rise, seeing the ball loop out of play beyond the back-pedalling Latham.

Mazzone then saw a a free-kick deflected narrowly wide after Alex Fisher was felled, while Latham half-punched a Met corner clear in a jittery moment for the Magpies’ stopper.

In consistent light rain, ideal for Dorchester’s usual passing game, there were a series of long balls pumped upfield as Dorchester lacked any sort of fluency going forward, while frequently losing possession.

Both sides earned dangerous-looking set-pieces late in the half, firstly Dorchester who saw a Blair corner nodded clear by Jeremy Arthur, before Billy Lowes headed a Beadle free-kick out for a corner which Latham punched away.

Referee Colin Hubbard had to deal with a minor short-pulling incident between Allen and Mekhail McLaughlin as the Dorchester striker’s temper flared amid a lack of service.

It took just five seconds after the resumption for Mazzone to test Latham, but his shot was timid and posed no threat to the on-loan Southampton keeper.

Dorchester began the second half brightly and Ash Pope nearly set Luke Winsper clean through but the midfielder did not have the pace to reach the ball on the skiddy artificial surface.

The Magpies continued their improved display with a gorgeous Blair cross to Pope at the back post, which drew a brilliant flicked header from Nesta Guiness-Walker to intervene for a corner that the Met cleared easily.

Good hold-up play from Pope then allowed skipper Martin to cut across a shot from 20 yards, but Williams caught easily.

Dorchester brought on Panesar-Dower and Callum Thompson for the ineffective Stewart and Pope but it was the Met who conjured the next big chances.

Alex Fisher’s pinpoint free-kick was met by Max Blackmore, whose firm header forced Latham into a catch, before the lively Mazzone struck the far post with a powerful curling effort that had a flying Latham beaten.

Panesar-Dower made a significant impact when coming on, joining midfield and attack up nicely, and the midfielder tested Williams with a firm shot that produced a fumble, but no Dorchester player could follow in to intercept the parry.

The Blues tired late in the half but should have found a second goal when Beadle escaped down the byline and crossed for Louis Birch, who somehow slid wide from 10 yards.

Dorchester pressed late on, winning three corners, only to see Kyle Egan curl the first two out of play in a spell that summed up a dismal day for the hosts.

Magpies: Latham, Egan, Martin, Rose, Carmichael, Stewart (Panesar-Dower 61), Winsper, Lowes, Allen, Pope (C Thompson 61), Blair (Stafie 73). Subs not used: Edgar, Murray

Metropolitan Police: T Williams, S Williams, Guiness-Walker, McLaughlin, Arthur, Birch, Fisher, Nyama, Mazzone, Blackmore (Gilbert 77), Beadle. Subs not used: Myers, Knight, Mitchell, Frith

Referee: Colin Hubbard (Wimborne)

Attendance: 375