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Match report | Taunton Town (H)

DORCHESTER TOWN 2

Davis, Bath

TAUNTON TOWN 2

Neal, White

Match Report:

By: Neil Walton – Dorset Echo Sport | @EchosportNeil

Dorchester Town had to settle for a 2-2 draw in a highly entertaining, and controversial, BetVictor Southern Premier South clash with Taunton Town at the Clayson Stadium.

Charlie Davis’ sumptuous free-kick put Dorchester ahead but Andrew Neal levelled with a lethal strike on 31 minutes.

Taunton, who hit the woodwork three times, were given a soft penalty for handball but Neal blazed horribly over.

Tom Bath then popped up to head home on 49 minutes after Zac Smith had struck the bar, while a shocking penalty decision given against Callum Rose saw justice served as Shane Murphy superbly saved from Dan Sullivan.

Late Taunton pressure was rewarded deep into stoppage-time as Shane White hooked home before being sent off for an altercation with Neil Martin.

Dorchester named the same starting XI that began Saturday’s 3-1 win at Hendon, with Callum Rose keeping his place in the side despite a minor neck injury.

Antonio Diaz returned to the matchday squad after unavailability – the only addition to the Magpies’ selection.

Tom Purrington (ankle) and Luke Winsper (foot) were not risked.

Any hopes of fluency the two teams might have wanted from the off were blunted by four stoppages in the first 13 minutes for injuries.

Barely 10 seconds had elapsed before the first pause as Saturday’s hat-trick hero Jack Hoey clattered into Taunton centre-back Ed Palmer.

Dorchester’s Kyle Egan was responsible for the next two, the right-back-turned-winger coming off worse in a block tackle and going off for Diaz in the 10th minute.

Taunton were next to make a change when centre-back Nicholas Grimes pulled up and was replaced by Lewis Hall three minutes later.

Such a punctuated start hindered the flow of the contest but former Magpie Harry Kite nearly sold Peacocks’ keeper short with a backpass, Hoey racing on to it and catching keeper Lloyd Irish, according to referee Adam Baker who brandished a yellow card.

Another weak backpass alarmed the visitors when Blair block tackled Irish after superb pressing from the hosts, but Taunton were relieved to see the ball squirm to safety.

Dorchester were emboldened by that half-opening and duly took the lead in the 27th minute. Billy Lowes danced around several tackles 20 yards out before being tripped and earning a free-kick.

And set-piece specialist Davis stepped up to curl a delicious shot over the wall into the top-right corner for 1-0.

Taunton surged forward in search of an immediate response and were caught on the break when Blair spun out of danger and sped upfield before supplying Tom Bath on the right.

The striker’s curled cross to the back post fell perfectly for Hoey but the forward was closely marshalled by Jamie Short and fluffed his lines.

Short’s intervention proved crucial 60 seconds later as Taunton equalised.

Peacocks’ captain White showed fleet of foot to skip past several tackles before laying off to dangerman Neal, who lashed past gloveman Shane Murphy from 12 yards.

Dorchester survived a flurry of Taunton corners before conceding a controversial penalty when Neal’s shot struck Martin on the arm. Referee Baker showed no card but Neal also showed no composure, lifting a horrid penalty well over the bar in the 45th minute.

After half-time, Taunton surged at the Magpies with Zac Smith rattling the bar and Sullivan seeing a shot blocked on the line by a sprawling home defence.

Dorchester had ridden their luck but their second goal was well-worked moments later as makeshift right-back Dan Strugnell crossed perfectly for Bath to flick a header inside the far post.

Sub Matt Wright, who came on for Kite, then struck the post with a header before Blair steamed forward and forced Irish into a flying stop.

Neal had a shot deflected wide before more good work from Blair, a swinging cross, picked out the unmarked Diaz who volleyed straight at Irish from 10 yards.

Taunton were given a truly shocking penalty, awarded despite a stunning tackle by Rose on Wright to hook the ball away.

Sullivan’s weak effort was duly saved by the outstanding Murphy to his right, the goalkeeper going on to make two brave punches clear in the next 60 seconds to the delight of the home faithful.

But in attempting to protect the win, Dorchester sat ever deeper with Bath playing at centre-back, and Taunton eventually made their persistent attacks count as a goalline clearance fell straight to White who hooked into the net from three yards out.

White and Martin were then involved in a melee, the former earning his marching orders and the latter seeing yellow as referee Baker again struggled to control a match in which Dorchester will feel both lucky and unfortunate to have earned a point.

Magpies: Murphy, Egan (Diaz 10), Sa, Martin, Strugnell, Lowes, Bath, Davis, Hoey (Sangster 71), Blair, Rose. Subs not used: Smith, Wright, Brookes

Taunton: Irish, Short, White, Price, Palmer, Grimes (Hall 13), Chamberlain, Kite (M Wright 57), Sullivan (Brett 90+4), Z Smith, Neal. Subs not used: Mitchell, Adelsbury.

#WeAreDorch ⚫️⚪️

Starting XI:
Shane Murphy
Kyle Egan ⤵️
Tiago Sa
Neil Martin
Dan Strugnell ©
Billy Lowes
Tom Bath
Charlie Davis
Jack Hoey ⤵️
Tom Blair
Callum Rose

Substitutes:
Antonio Diaz ⤴️
River Smith
Sean Wright
Cameron Sangster ⤴️
Jason Brookes

Attendance:
348

Referee:
Adam Baker

Assistants:
Connor Gates
Michael Ballard

BetVictor