Stalemate hands Dorchester Town a point

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


DORCHESTER Town claimed a first clean sheet of the Evo-Stik Southern Premier South season in a largely poor 0-0 draw with 10-man Merthyr Town at the Clayson Stadium.

Goalkeeper Kingsley Latham made two outstanding first-half saves before sub Tom Blair wasted a golden late chance, shooting wide of the far post.

Merthyr skipper Ashley Evans and assistant-manager Dean Clarke were both sent off late on as tempers flared after a frustrating stalemate.

Dorchester made just one change to the starting XI that was fielded for the 2-0 FA Trophy victory over Yate Town on Tuesday, with Aaron Rodriguez coming in for the suspended Luke Winsper, who served a one-game ban after collecting five bookings.

Striker Ash Pope returned to the bench for the Magpies, where he was joined by Blair who remained available before his expected four-match ban kicks in.

Goalkeeper Mike Edgar and winger Josh Williams formed the rest of the four-man dugout, while centre-back Ross Carmichael was unavailable.

Carmichael’s absence did not deter Dorchester from making an assured defensive display in the opening exchanges as both sides struggled to create chances.

Dorchester did look the more impressive in possession, but were guilty of hesitation in and around the Merthyr box, the Welsh side content to soak up the pressure and break on the left or right through Ian Traylor or Tom Meechan respectively.

Merthyr created the first shot on goal when Traylor’s floated free-kick found the head of portly centre-back Jarrad Wright, whose effort cleared goalkeeper Kingsley Latham’s bar.

A sedate first half suddenly sprung into action when Merthyr recycled a free-kick and carved out space for Lee Lucas to curl a stinging shot at Latham, who pushed the ball away to safety amongst a crowded penalty area.

Magpies’ striker Ben Seymour had been completely shut out up to the point where he raced onto an upfield clearance and lobbed away keeper Joe Perry, only to see his attempt sail over the bar.

Latham was then called into action once more as Merthyr broke at pace, a left-sided cross finding Lucas who connected sweetly with a side-footed shot from 15 yards, forcing the tall Southampton loanee into an outstanding low save to his left.

Dorchester ended the half well, spurred on by Latham’s saves, as Seymour earned a free-kick after a rough challenge from behind but Martin fired his shot against the wall before Harry Kite’s cross evaded Antonio Diaz at the far post as the sides went in goalless at half-time.

Upon the resumption. the hosts continued their good work and were unlucky to see Josh Bailey mis-time a header from an Antonio Diaz corner.

Merthyr then outfoxed the Magpies from a corner of their own, Traylor cutting the ball back for Kieran Lewis, whose shot curled over the far post.

Billy Lowes had to be alert to nod away a second Wright header from another Martyrs’ corner, before a controversial moment had the Clayson in uproar.

Seymour sped onto a through ball and tangled with Perry, linesman Murat Kaymaz flagging for a foul but referee Colin Hubbard playing advantage with Seymour claiming possession before swiftly losing it.

Dorchester felt a foul should have been given and Merthyr nearly incensed the home faithful further when another Traylor corner was volleyed over by left-back Connor Young.

Tom Blair and Ash Pope were introduced in two attacking changes and the duo nearly combined to score a winner.

Pope’s controlled hold-up play set Diaz free in midfield and a cute through ball unleashed Blair, who raced through on goal and beat Perry only to see his effort drift past the far post to the disbelief of the home crowd.

Merthyr nearly punishes the Magpies for that miss, Lucas skewing a shot at Latham before Martin was involved in a scuffle with Evans, who was booked for a second time and sent off.

Referee Hubbard also booked assistant-manager Dean Clarke, who protested and was then sent to the stands in an eventful finish.

Both sides seemed unsettled by the late ill discipline and Merthyr nearly scored when Lucas hit the post from an acute angle as Dorchester survived to claim a point and their first league clean sheet of the season.

Magpies: Latham, Egan, Martin, Rose, Bailey, Kite, Murray (Pope 80), Lowes, Seymour, Diaz (J Williams 86), Rodriguez (Blair 71).
Sub not used: Edgar

Merthyr: Perry, A Davies, Young, Evans, Wright, McDonnell, Lucas, Harris, Meechan (Jones 65), Lewis, Traylor (Jenkins 78).

Subs not used: Hunt, Patten, G Williams Referee: Colin Hubbard (Wimborne)

Attendance: 459