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Magpies dig in to rock Salisbury
DORCHESTER TOWN 2 SALISBURY CITY 1
PHIL Simkin’s warriors put up an incredible fight on the muddy battlefield of the Avenue Stadium on Saturday to pull off a heroic victory over the league leaders.
Full-time Salisbury put the black and white army under severe pressure at times, particularly in the second half, but a herculean defensive performance and two well-taken goals eventually saw Dorchester home.
The Magpies made two changes to the XI that started last Tuesday’s draw with Basingstoke Town with Jake Smeeton and fit-again Nick Crittenden replacing the injured duo of Lewis Morgan and Ashley Nicholls.
Mark Jermyn also missed out due to an ankle problem but Carl Mutch was included on the bench after a postponement at Sherborne Town Reserves relieved him of his Portland United duties.
Steve Walker and Antony Carlile were also named among the substitutes along with Dan Way and Calvin Brooks.
There was also a familiar face in the Salisbury ranks where ex-Magpie Brian Dutton skippered a side that had only lost once in their last 11 in all competitions.
The visitors also included the league’s top-scorer up front in Jamie White, who entered the game having already bagged 17 goals.
The Avenue pitch was once again extremely heavy following early morning rain and it was City that settled first, clearly determined to exert some early pressure on a home defence that had been shipping too many goals of late.
However, Dorchester’s back four stood up to it well and limited the table-toppers to just one hopeful effort in the opening 15 minutes, which saw Rob Matthews fire harmlessly wide from distance.
Smeeton and Jamie Gleeson were certainly covering a lot of ground in front of Nathan Walker and Arran Pugh, who were looking solid at the back, but in terms of an attacking threat the Magpies were showing very little.
That was until the 26th minute when a quick counter-attack saw Clough play a fantastic ball out to Malsom, whose low cross along the six-yard box was fired home at the far post by Smeeton with the aid of a slight deflection.
Dorchester’s game plan to soak up pressure and hit City on the break was working a treat much to the delight of manager Phil Simkin on the sideline.
Salisbury looked short of ideas but towards the end of the half they began to get it together and only a fine intervention from home keeper Jason Matthews thwarted Elliott Frear after a clever flick from White.
Ryan Brett and James Clarke then both sent attempts off target before the Magpies took their lead into the interval to the anguish of a very animated Darrell Clarke on the visiting bench.
The City manager was clearly not happy with his side’s efforts in the opening 45 minutes and it was no surprise to see a reaction after the break.
Once again though, Dorchester showed great heart in defence as City continued to struggle to gain a clear sight on Matthews’ goal.
When they eventually did the Magpies’ stopper remained on his toes, pulling off a sharp save low to his right to deny Frear and a reflex stop to thwart Theo Lewis’ sweet strike through a crowd of players.
Suddenly Salisbury were now looking much more menacing and it took a fine block from Walker to deny White just moments later.
Dorchester’s commitment to def-ending was proving a real pleasure to watch and on 70 minutes they had a great chance to grab a second.
Neil Martin started the breakaway with an incredible tackle and pass which put Ben Watson clean through, but, just as he was about to pull the trigger, Emmanuel Udoji lunged in with a superb last-ditch challenge to keep his side in the game.
However, Watson was not to be denied as he flicked home a knock down from Walker from a free-kick on 75 minutes to put Dorchester in full command.
It looked like it was all going the Magpies’ way but just seconds later, with Walker off the pitch receiving treatment, the visitors pulled one back when White scored at the third attempt following a goalmouth scramble.
The game had quickly turned into a classic but just when it looked like there might be a late twist in the tail, Dorchester once again dug in, with Matthews turning away a shot from substitute Charles Ademeno, and Frear firing wide as the hosts gallantly hung on for the points.
Magpies: Matthews, Bell, Martin, Pugh, N Walker, Gleeson, Crittenden, Smeeton, Watson (S Walker 90+5), Clough, Malsom (Way 84). Subs not used: Brooks, Mutch, Carlile.
Salisbury: Scott, Wilson, Udoji (Ade-meno 75), Dutton, Matthews (R Sinclair 65 (Flitchett 84)), Clarke, Lewis, Brett, White, McPhee, Frear. Subs not used: Clark.