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Match report | Winchester City (H)

By: Neil Walton – Dorset Echo Sport | @EchosportNeil

DORCHESTER TOWN 5 (Rose, Davis (x2 [1P]), Strugnell, Blair)
WINCHESTER CITY 3 (Balmer, King, Douglas)

Dorchester Town won an enthralling and controversial final pre-season friendly 5-3 against Winchester City at the Clayson Stadium.

Former Magpies’ Reserves man Olly Balmer put City ahead in the fourth minute before Callum Rose’s powerful header proved too much for away keeper Ryan Pryce to handle.

Dorchester continued to press and River Smith won a penalty, converted by Charlie Davis, before City levelled through Danny King’s volley.

City would take a 3-2 lead into the break as Kieran Douglas’ fine header at the near post crept past the fingertips of home keeper Shane Murphy.

However, controversy abounded early in the second half in a feisty clash involving almost all 22 players on the pitch.

Winchester skipper Jamie Barron tripped Antonio Diaz and the latter reacted furiously to what appeared to be a flailing arm, resulting in an angry brawl in which several punches, from both sides were thrown.

Chief among the boxers was Pryce, who somehow escaped with a yellow despite swinging at Diaz on numerous occasions.

After the aggressive scenes died down, both Diaz and Barron were sent off for their parts.

Five minutes later, Davis scored a deflected second, before Dan Strugnell and Tom Blair added the winning goals late on.

In a remarkable contest designed to provide the Magpies with a stern challenge – mirroring that of competitive league football ­– the hosts were provided with an early jolt.

Winchester swept forward and Balmer fortuitously recovered possession inside the area after seeing a tame shot blocked before slotting past Murphy from 10 yards.

Dorchester responded through bright play from Kyle Egan, the right-back surging forward and finding Diaz whose cross was nodded onto the roof of the net by Sam Lanahan.

Diaz again provided Lanahan with a chance soon afterwards but Winchester swiftly blocked the midfielder’s goalbound effort.

Having settled after the early concession, Dorchester took advantage of their purple patch by equalising through Rose, the former Plymouth man’s header from a Davis corner too strong for Pryce to keep out.

Winchester replied when another ex-Magpie, Ollie Griggs, saw an effort cleared off the line by the tireless Egan after good work on the right from Dan Williamson.

Davis was causing problems with his delivery and striker Tom Bath then looped a header onto the bar before Smith was tripped inside the area near the byline, Davis slamming home down the middle from the spot.

City were behind for just three minutes as Murphy attempted to claim a Griggs cross but found his route to the ball blocked by a crown of bodies, King then rifling home with Murphy stranded.

And Winchester took a lead into the break when Barron’s floated free-kick was deftly headed inside the near post by Douglas on 42 minutes.

Just three minutes into the second half, Barron’s tackle on Diaz provoked the unsightly scuffle and the two red cards opened space up for Davis to drive into, his shot skimming off a challenge and beyond Pryce.

After a flurry of changes from both sides, City sub Max Price curled a beautiful shot against the outside of the post which left Murphy motionless.

Two minutes later, it was Dorchester’s turn to hit the woodwork as Rose’s arcing header bounced on top of the bar with Pryce backpeddling.

A topsy-turvy game took another twist with 10 minutes remaining as Winchester failed to track Strugnell’s run into the box from a Davis corner, the centre-back thumping home a volley to provide Davis with his second assist.

City continued to battle but the pace of sub Blair undid the visitors via a long ball, the winger sprinting onto the pass, holding off two defenders and slotting past Pryce to complete a thrilling victory.

Magpies: 1. S Murphy, 2. K Egan, 3. T Sa, 5. D Strugnell ©, 7. A Diaz, 8. B Lowes (6. L Winsper 63′), 9. T Bath (18. J Brookes 87′), 10. C Davis (16. S Wright 84′), 11. S Lanahan (17. D Panesar-Dower 75′), 14. C Rose (4. N Martin 75′), 15. R Smith (12. T Blair 63′). Sub not used: 13. J Ross

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