Ashley Pope strike lands Dorchester Town all three points

BY: Terry Spracklen – Dorset Echo Sport

DORCHESTER Town overcame a tough start coming from behind to finally record their first victory on the 3G pitch at the Clayson Stadium in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier South.

The signs did not look too promising for Steve Thompson’s side when Claudio Herbert nodded the Row into a second minute lead nor when Kyle Egan conceded a 19th minute penalty.

A smart save from Dorchester gloveman Kingsley Latham proved inspirational to his teammates who equalised through a sweet strike from Harry Kite then grabbed victory a minute before the break when Dom Panesar-Dower picked out the run of Ashley Pope who fired low past advancing visiting keeper Stuart Norman.

Thompson made four changes to his starting line-up with new loan arrival from Weymouth, Tiago Sa, making an impressive debut replacing the unavailable Neil Martin, Callum Thompson and Panesar-Dower replacing the injured Tom Blair and Ross Carmichael and Pope replacing Allen leading the attack. Luke Winsper took Carmichael’s usual position at the heart of defence.

The reshuffled Magpies side were aiming to shake off the misery of their heavy bank holiday defeat at Weymouth but soon found themselves a goal down when a long throw from Steven Noakes on the left wing deflected off Callum Rose to Herbert whose header from six-yards eluded Latham.

The visitors swept back to attack and a ball from Herbert found his skipper, Nic Ciardini whose low shot was saved by Latham with his legs. Another long throw from Noakes bounced off the Dorchester stopper who quickly grabbed the ball at the second attempt.

Dorchester’s first chance came in the sixth minute when Panesar-Dower’s free kick was glanced just wide by Rose. Latham was soon in action again as a strong run down the right wing by Michael Campbell culminated in a low cross which he snuffed out at at his near post. Sa then showed great endeavour to carve out a chance but Panesar-Dower could only fire over.

The game could have been put out of Dorchester’s reach when Egan was adjudged to have pushed Campbell who elected to take the resultant spot-kick himself.

Latham sprung to his right to spectacularly claw aside Campbell’s effort and effectively launch a Dorchester fight back.

Eight minutes later, Dorchester levelled the scores when after a good spell of possession and a patient build up, Billy Lowes fed Kite who unleashed a superb drive to the bottom left corner from 25-yards out.

Thompson then found Egan who fired against the visitor’s crossbar while from Cameron Murray’s corner, a header from Rose was pushed round the post. Murray then fired an effort. straight at Norman.

At the other end, Winsper’s blushes were spared when Rose pulled off a superb tackle after the former’s miskick gave Campbell a free run on goal. Back came Dorchester and Kite drew a near post save from the Hartley Wintney stopper.

Pope sent an angled drive wide for Dorchester but was soon set clear following an incisive pass from Panesar-Dower and kept his cool to drive low past the advancing Norman for what proved to be the winning goal.

In first half stoppage time Jack French sent a low 30-yard effort wide for the visitors who then started the second half on the front foot with Webb having an early shot blocked.

Sa’s clearance reached Panesar-Dower whose shot was saved by Norman while shots from Pope and Panesar-Dower both deflected for corners. A clever lob attempt from Egan was foiled by Norman while good work by Thompson,
who beat three players to find Murray, brought no reward as Murray was denied by Norman.

Dorchester tired in the latter stages with Latham forced to save from Nathan Smart and Rose virtually clearing off the line to frustrate French.

The fresh legs of substitute Cameron Allen posed a threat to Hartley Wintney and a surging 77th minute run from Allen culminated in a shot which Norman pushed aside. From the resultant corner, a header from Rose was saved by Norman.

The visitors then applied strong pressure and their last chance came as the final whistle was about to be blown but substitute, Liam Eagle could only head over from six-yards.

Dorchester travel to Wimborne Town in the first round of qualifying for the FA Cup on Saturday (3pm).

Magpies: Latham, Egan, Sa, Rose, Winsper, Kite, Murray (Stafie 86), Lowes, Pope (Allen 72), Panesar-Dower, Thompson (Rodriguez 75) Subs not used: Carmichael, Edgar

Hartley Wintney: Norman, Paget (Smith 56), Hutchings, Ball, Noakes (Eagle 68), Webb, Smart, French, Campbell, Ciardini, Herbert Subs not used: Kpohomouh, Englefield

Attendance: 306