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Late winner gives Magpies victory
BATH CITY 2 MAGPIES 3
ARRAN Pugh's late winner secured back-to-back league victories for the first time since September as the Magpies soared into the top half of the Blue Square Bet South table.
The defender's goal 10 minutes from time came after Dorchester had taken the lead twice in the first half through Ben Watson and Sam Malsom only to be pegged back on both occasions by two Charlie Griffin strikes.
The win was the county town side's second in four days following their defeat of league leaders Salisbury and also marked a successful debut for new Magpies' signing Kieffer Moore.
“We're absolutely delighted with the win,” said Dorchester boss Phil Simkin. “We had to work hard as always but thoroughly deserved the result.
“We had to defend well in the second half after going 1-0 and 2-1 up and all the players worked their socks off.
“A lot of them are carrying knocks and that just shows what sort of lads they are.
“I was especially pleased for Kieffer Moore who had an excellent debut and gave us a different dimension going forward.”
He added: “Every result is crucial and back-to-back wins has taken us up into the top half of the league.
“If we win again on Saturday you're talking about the play-offs because that's how tight this division is.”
Dorchester's preparations had taken a hit in the pre-match warm-up when Nick Crittenden pulled up and had to be replaced by Lewis Morgan, who himself was coming back into the squad following a groin strain.
But powerhouse Moore nearly got his Magpies' career off to an explosive start only for his early shot to be saved by Bath keeper Jason Mellor.
Moore and strike partner Watson were linking up nicely and on 20 minutes it was the latter that opened the scoring, turning Mark Preece on the edge of the Bath area before firing past Mellor.
The visitors only managed to keep the lead for seven minutes when the experienced Griffin fired in a free-kick from just outside the box.
Griffin was denied a second by a linesman's flag then in the 38th-minute Jake Smeeton crossed from the left, Watson prodded the ball on and just when Dan Ball looked to have it covered Malsom robbed him and made it 2-1.
However, almost straight away it was all square when Griffin lobbed Jason Matthews from long range, leaving the Magpies with that sinking feeling yet again.
Crucially, an injury just before the break forced Griffin off early in the second half as the game became tighter and it was left to Pugh, pictured above, to grab the headlines with the all-important third for the visitors courtesy of a bullet header from a corner.
Bath: Mellor, Simpson, Ball, Jones, Preece, Burnell, Allen, Canham, Griffin (Morgan 56), Chamberlain, Keates. Subs not used: Walker, Connolly, Norris
Magpies: Matthews, Bell (S Walker 75), Martin, Pugh, Clough, Smeeton, Morgan, Gleeson, Watson, Moore, Malsom. Subs not used: Way, Brooks, Walker-Harris