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Match report | Merthyr Town (H)

DORCHESTER TOWN 0

MERTHYR TOWN 0

Match Report:

By: Neil Walton – Dorset Echo Sport | @EchosportNeil

Dorchester Town claimed only their second clean sheet of the BetVictor Southern Premier South season as Merthyr Town held the Magpies to a 0-0 draw at the Clayson Stadium.

Tom Bath saw a goalbound effort brilliantly pushed on to the post by Merthyr keeper Alexander Harris in the fifth minute, while Ian Traylor’s second-half free-kick clattered the bar as both sides struggled in attack.

Billy Lowes saw a late effort smothered as Dorchester settled for a point.

Dorchester boss Callum Brooks made two changes to the starting XI that kicked-off Saturday’s nightmare 6-0 defeat at Weston-super-Mare.

Tom Blair returned from suspension, while Luke Winsper was included after gaining sufficient match fitness during his dual registration with Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division side Shaftesbury.

The duo came in at the expense of Antonio Diaz and Cameron Sangster, who dropped to the bench. Jason Brookes and Eder Batista were omitted from the squad completely.

In his programme notes, Brooks had called for a “huge reaction” to the Weston defeat and, while the Magpies’ start was bright, it failed to yield a goal.

Merthyr keeper Harris flirted with danger when dribbling out of his goal, Sean Wright getting a touch on the ball with a tackle before the gloveman cleared.

Harris was in supreme form to deny the Magpies in the fifth minute, however, as Blair ghosted past Ashley Evans on the left and the winger’s perfect low cross found Bath 12 yards out, only for Harris to acrobatically push his effort on to the post before dealing with the loose ball.

Dorchester were putting Merthyr under increasing pressure and Bath saw two shots blocked and Blair another after Harris set the move in motion by spilling Blair’s fizzing cross.

Merthyr could not contain Blair at this stage and the winger was tripped on the right, leading to a free-kick from which Dan Strugnell headed wide Winsper’s delivery.

Murphy saved well with his feet from a Traylor shot across goal before Daniel Summerfield hacked an effort out of the ground.

Dorchester responded with a firm header from a corner by Callum Rose, before Lowes shot wide after deft control by Blair, who was subsequently booked for dissent.

Brooks was growing increasingly agitated by referee Ian Parsons’ decisions and Ashley Wells was the latest Magpie to be penalised for a foul on Eliot Richards in the D, Lee Lucas then firing a low deflected effort at Murphy.

Traylor was beginning to get his pace into the game and, moments after flashing a cross along the six-yard box, he turned Tiago Sa inside out before rifling an attempt at Murphy in first-half stoppage-time.

After the resumption, Dorchester saw two corners cleared before Traylor curled a dipping free-kick against the bar following a soft decision given against Rose.

Wells found a superb clearance to release Blair soon afterwards, the winger drawing a cynical foul from Lucas, who was booked, before Rose flicked Blair’s free-kick well wide.

Merthyr right-back Kieran Lewis and Traylor were the Welsh side’s best outlet and the defender’s ball over the top put the speedy winger clean through but his unselfish square pass to the onrushing Lucas was wastefully fired over by the unmarked midfielder.

In defending another ball into the channel by Lewis, Martin was mugged by Hill near the far touchline before the striker won a corner, which was cleared in another disappointing attack.

Merthyr thought they had grabbed a winner nine minutes from time when sub Ryan Prosser’s knock-down was lobbed over Murphy by Hill, only for the linesman to flag for offside.

In a match bereft of quality and killer touch, Lowes then sprinted through on goal after a cute flick by Bath, only for the midfielder to delay his shot and allow Harris to smother his effort.

Amid three minutes of injury-time, Merthyr emerged as the team likelier to find a winner but the visitors’ crossing was poor in a microcosm of the game’s lack of quality.

Dorchester eventually claimed a point from the uninspiring stalemate, lifting the Magpies out of the relegation zone at the expense of Farnborough ahead of a vital home clash with fellow strugglers Yate on Saturday (3pm).

Magpies: Murphy, Wells, Sa, Martin, Strugnell, Rose, Winsper, B Lowes, Bath, Blair, S Wright (Purrington 61). Subs not used: Diaz, Sangster, Smith, Hutchings.

Merthyr: Harris, Lewis, Summerfield (Prosser 71), Evans, J Wright, Patten, Veale, Lucas, Hill, Richards (Jenkins 84), Traylor. Subs not used: Duncan, Clarke, Williams.

#WeAreDorch ⚫️⚪️

Starting XI:
Shane Murphy
Ashley Wells
Tiago Sa
Neil Martin
Dan Strugnell ©
Luke Winsper
Billy Lowes
Tom Bath
Tom Blair
Callum Rose
Sean Wright ⤵️

Substitutes:
Nick Hutchings
Antonio Diaz
Cam Sangster
River Smith
Tom Purrington ⤴️

Attendance:
297

Referee:
Ian Parsons

Assistants:
Kristian Guyatt
Timothy Bunt

BetVictor