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Late Walton own goal hands Dorchester vital victory

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

WALTON CASUALS 2 DORCHESTER TOWN 3

DORCHESTER Town profited from a last-gasp own goal to secure an invaluable 3-2 win at relegation rivals Walton Casuals in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier South.

Callum Brooks’ men twice deservedly took the lead in the first half as Harry Kite’s fierce half-volley and Antonio Diaz’s tap-in overhauled a James Ewington leveller.

Cole Brown’s 45th-minute penalty looked to have shared the points for the hosts who agonisingly directed Kyle Egan’s awkward cross into the net to hand Dorchester a precious three points.

The victory was Brooks’ third in four games since taking over and was earned without leading scorer Ben Seymour, who was ill, but Nathan Walker made his first start since signing for Dorchester on dual terms from Hamworthy United.

Noah Keats started his final game in a one-month loan spell from Truro City while new signing James Granger made the matchday squad and was joined on the bench by returning skipper Neil Martin, who returned quicker than expected from appendix surgery.

For the hosts, Walton Casuals’ goalkeeper Denzel Gerrar started his first game since serving out a suspension and leading goalscorer Ewington came back in after a month-long spell with National League South side St Albans.

With just three points and two places separating the sides before kick-off it was Dorchester who made the more incisive start in a chaotic opening.

Keats released Diaz and, with Gerrar in isolation only had to hit the target to score but crashed his shot against the Stags’ bar.

Diaz’s miss would matter little as on 11 minutes Kite put the visitors into a merited early lead with a peachy strike.

Casuals could only partially clear and Exeter loanee Kite lashed a 22-yard half-volley past Gerrar for his first goal since the 4-1 win at Gosport on December 8.

However, the Magpies’ lead would last only six minutes when Walton’s dangerman Ewington coolly slotted past gloveman Nick Hutchings to convert a scything through ball.

Continuing at a frantic pace, the game got its third goal as Dorchester retook the lead when Diaz netted his 11th goal of the campaign.

Egan was the provider, driving forward and forcing Gerrar into a parry with a rasping shot which allowed Diaz to slot home and atone for his earlier miss.

Unperturbed by Dorchester’s goal, Casuals got themselves level at the break via the spot-kick.

Mahrez Battache was brought down and Brown stepped up to score, despite Hutchings managing to get a strong palm to the penalty.

Understandably, the action relented in the second half as both teams opted for a more circumspect approach after the high-octane nature of the first half.

A 20-minute lull in major chances was abruptly halted when Dorchester again created an opening through the lively Egan.

The right-back had combined to good effect with Diaz before swinging in a trademark cross for Walker who rose highest only to nod wide of Gerrar’s goal.

Casuals responded almost immediately when Ewington teed up Battache, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the Magpies’ woodwork from 10 yards.

Both teams then elected to make a substitution, Casuals bringing on Youssef Bamba for goalscorer Brown and Dorchester replacing the quiet Aaron Rodriguez with Dom Panesar-Dower.

Ewington almost caught a sight of goal as the striker was spotted in space but a heavy first touch allowed Hutchings to advance and gather.

Heading into the last five minutes, all three results were still possible but Walton looked the likelier to score as Hutchings superbly pawed clear a Ewington effort after Battache had played the forward in.

Granger came on for Keats to make his debut but it was the outstanding Egan who helped fashion the latest of late Magpies winners.

With the clock well into the 94th minute, Egan’s direct run and teasing cross forced the Stags’ defence to divert the ball past the stricken Gerrar as Dorchester claimed a dramatic third successive victory.

After respective 3-2 and 1-0 losses for Tiverton and Wimborne, the Magpies rose three places to 12th, eight points clear of the drop zone with just six matches remaining, whereas Casuals sunk two places to 19th where they reside two points above the bottom three.

Walton Casuals: Gerrar, Sheckleford, Brewer, Gasson, Mills, Kelly, Gogonas, Bettache, Brown (Bamba 68), Ewington, Roberts. Subs not used: Farrell, Keetch, Milenge, Tolfrey

Magpies: Hutchings, Egan, Jackson, Carmichael, Walker, Kite, Keats (Granger 90), Lowes, Rose, Diaz, Rodriguez (Panesar-Dower 70). Subs not used: Low, Latham, Martin.

Attendance: 243