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Dorchester promise cut as Taunton win

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

DORCHESTER TOWN 1 TAUNTON TOWN 2 DORCHESTER Town fell to an ultimately disappointing 2-1 defeat to high-flying Taunton Town in their Evo-Stik Southern Premier South clash at the Clayson Stadium.

An opening half crammed with promising attacking play was scuppered when Taunton’s Craig Veal headed home on 19 minutes.

The Magpies responded with several aesthetically-pleasing forays forward and deservedly drew level when Luke Winsper clipped home a delightful Aaron Rodriguez pass to score.

Taunton regained the lead through Andrew Neal with Alhaji Sesay stranded, before a toothless display in the second half provided a polar opposite to the exciting football Dorchester had played in the first as they slipped to a third home loss of season.

Dorchester made one change to the starting XI that kicked off the 1-1 draw with Walton Casuals on Saturday, right-back Kyle Egan left out for personal reasons.

He was replaced by Josh Bailey, who shifted from centre-back to take the number two shirt upon the return to action of Callum Rose, who slotted into his familiar centre-half role.

The Magpies were boosted by the selection of striker Ashley Pope in the matchday 16, with the former Bournemouth marksman fit again after a month out with medial knee ligament damage.

Fellow number nine Alex Stafie made way for the teenager on the bench.

Manager Steve Thompson’s possession style of football was clear to see in the opening exchanges as the hosts, buoyed by a wayward shot after 16 seconds from Rodriguez, hit their passing stride.

A lovely move from side to side carved out a corner when Neil Martin’s cross was awkwardly turned behind by Brett Trowbridge. Although Callum Rose nodded the delivery skywards, Taunton could only clear to Harry Kite, who fired just wide despite connecting sweetly with his 20-yard volley.

For all of the Magpies’ excellent passing football, Taunton took the lead on 19 minutes completely against the run of play.

A hopeful ball over the top of the Magpies’ left allowed Neal to outpace Ross Carmichael, check back and plant a delicious cross onto the head of Veal, who guided his header in via a slight nick off the crossbar for the opening goal.

Dorchester looked shaky in the immediate aftermath of conceding and were caught in possession in their own area, only for Veal to waste a presentable chance 12 yards out when scuffing a weak shot.

Undeterred, the Magpies poured forward again and Rodriguez stung the palms of visiting goalkeeper Lloyd Irish with a rasping 20-yard drive before the impressive Josh Bailey crossed invitingly for Billy Lowes, who could not time his volley.

However, Dorchester deservedly drew level with their best attack of the game.

Keeping possession in their own half, Dorchester drew Taunton in and spun the ball to Rodriguez, who wriggled out of a block tackle before releasing Winsper with a gloriously-weighted ball, the midfielder dinking over the onrushing Irish to score.

Taunton responded when Pierce Mitchell headed a Shane White cross against the near post, before retaking the lead.

Magpies’ gloveman Sesay was culpable, racing off his line to attempt a catch he was never likely to make, with Matt Wright nodding across goal for Neal to head home into an empty net on the goalline in first-half injury-time.

Taunton, who had struggled to live with Dorchester’s excellent first-half play, claimed the ascendancy after the break and saw Wright spurn a quick double chance, first shooting at Sesay with the outside of his foot before lashing the rebound well wide.

Martin, who endured a torrid second period, gave the ball away to right-back Mitchell, who picked out Wright at the back post, the towering forward seeming certain to score until he headed downwards at Sesay.

Dorchester, who went off the boil in the second half, did have two minor chances in response, Rose glancing a header wide from a Rodriguez corner before Cameron Murray dragged a 25-yard shot wide.

Dorchester’s laboured attempt to find an equaliser was hampered by three bookings, and long lectures, from referee Sam Littlefair, who was guilty of failing to let the game flow when cautioning Martin, sub Josh Williams and Tom Blair.

Thompson’s side never replicated the stylish football of the first half as Taunton comfortably saw out the remainder of the half to earn a third win from six away league games this season.

Magpies: Sesay, Bailey, Martin, Rose, Carmichael (Pope 78), Kite, Murray, Winsper, Blair, Lowes (Williams 71), Rodriguez (Panesar-Dower 83). Subs not used: Edgar, C Thompson

Taunton: Irish, Mitchell, White, Nelmes, Emmerson, Buse, Chamberlain, Trowbridge (Adelsbury 54), Wright, Veal, Neal. Subs not used: Camilo, Gardner, Villis

Referee: Sam Littlefair (Exeter)

Attendance: 334