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Match report | Salisbury (A)

By: Neil Walton – Dorset Echo Sport | @EchosportNeil

SALISBURY 4 (Holmes x2, Colson x2 [1P])
DORCHESTER TOWN 1 (Bath [P])

Dorchester Town gave big-spending Salisbury a fright before succumbing 4-1 in their BetVictor Southern Premier South clash at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

A poor start by the Magpies was taken advantage of by Salisbury striker Toby Holmes, who bagged two goals in 10 first-half minutes for a 2-0 half-time lead.

Dorchester improved after the break, creating several chances either of Tom Bath’s penalty, but two late George Colson goals – a penalty and a horrid drop over the line from away goalkeeper Shane Murphy – handed Salisbury a flattering scoreline.

Dorchester boss Callum Brooks had spoken of an incisive gameplan after scouting Salisbury and the former Hamworthy boss made two changes to the side that began the 3-0 loss to Truro City on Tuesday night.

Charlie Davis was rested after coming off 30 minutes into the defeat in Cornwall with a tight hamstring.
Luke Winsper came in to replace him, while Sam Lanahan dropped to the bench with Dom Panesar-Dower filling in.

With tactics primed, the Magpies had high hopes of a strong start but those ambitions were soon tempered as Salisbury rapidly came out of the blocks.

A flowing move from the hosts saw Holmes ghost into the area and the former Magpie should have scored inside the opening minute, only to fire wide.

Dorchester’s response to that early chance was a lovely move involving Antonio Diaz, Bath and Kyle Egan, freeing up space for Winsper to fire over from 20 yards.

In a see-saw opening, Ollie Knowles then chipped onto the roof of Murphy’s net before Salisbury got the breakthrough.

Holmes was the scorer, capitalising on a good pass to fire the hosts in front in the 17th minute after Dorchester failed to cut out the striker’s supply.

The former Wimborne man soon grabbed a second when a defence-splitting pass unleashed the rangy forward to latch onto the delivery, control and slot past Murphy 10 minutes later.

Dorchester were struggling at this point in the game and captain Dan Strugnell went into the referee’s notebook.

Salisbury almost added a third when Warren Bentley stealthily managed to shoot at goal from a near-post position and seconds later the former Weymouth man forced Murphy into a solid save as the hosts dominated.

Tom Blair was booked after 39 minutes and Dorchester nearly halved the deficit moments before the break when Bath failed to apply the finishing touch despite rounding Salisbury goalkeeper Thomas Smith.

Seconds after the restart, Blair’s booming shot from the edge of the area tested home gloveman Smith, who was equal to the task.

A much-improved Dorchester stuck to their task well and a switch from Brooks, seeing Blair come off for Sean Wright, nearly paid dividends on 55 minutes.

Former Hamworthy midfielder Wright moved into space and shot at Smith, bringing another solid stop from the Whites’ keeper.

However, Dorchester would be handed a lifeline in the match when the Magpies earned a 58th-minute penalty amid growing pressure on the home goal.

Sure enough, ex-Tiverton striker Bath kept his cool to claim his maiden competitive goal for Dorchester, sending Smith the wrong way.

As the game opened up, Bentley and Bath traded shots, while Holmes had an effort cleared off the line as both sides frantically searched for another goal.

Dorchester had continued to cause Salisbury problems with their chances – so much so that Whites’ manager Steve Claridge was forced into a tactical reshuffle, depriving Holmes of the chance of a hat-trick by hauling the striker off for Dan Fitchett.

And the change seemed to work as Salisbury regained their two-goal buffer after Strugnell, already on a caution, was penalised for a foul inside the box.

Right-back Colson was on hand to fire at goal from the spot but Murphy almost produced a potentially pivotal spot, getting a glove on the penalty only for it to nestle in the back of the net.

If Murphy had been unlucky to concede the third, the Magpies’ stopper was culpable for the fourth as Colson bagged his second goal in three minutes when a seemingly innocuous shot was spilled over the line by the unfortunate goalkeeper.

The error effectively killed the game and Dorchester were sent to their second away defeat at high-calibre opposition in five days.

Brooks’ men next host Blackfield & Langley on Bank Holiday Monday, with scheduled opponents Hayes and Yeading travelling away to AFC Dunstable at the FA Cup Preliminary Round stage.

Salisbury: T Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Benson, Knowles, Holmes (Fitchett 72), Bentley (Mullings 77), Bancroft (Young 63). Subs not used: Wellard, Hippolyte-Patrick.

Magpies: Murphy, Egan, Sa, Strugnell, Winsper (Martin 84), Diaz, B Lowes, Bath, Blair (Wright 52), Rose, Panesar-Dower (R Smith 84). Subs not used: Lanahan, Ross.

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