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MAGPIES: Magpies round off pre-season with defeat to Paulton Rovers
PAULTON ROVERS 1 MAGPIES 0
NICK McCootie’s early strike proved to be good enough for the hosts as the Magpies ended their pre-season fixtures with defeat at the Athletic Ground.
Dorchester enjoyed plenty of possession throughout the 90 minutes but couldn’t find their touch in front of goal against the Calor League Division One South & West outfit.
It was a sixth pre-season success for the home side but one which hadn’t got off to the best of starts when captain Dan Cleverley hobbled away from a crunching challenge.
However, he found his feet again in time to see his side take the lead in the fourth minute.
Rovers’ keeper Lewis Pierre found McCootie on halfway, he played a give and go with Brandon Barnes, and then raced forward to fire past Alan Walker-Harris.
The goal scorer may have doubled his tally only for Walker-Harris to smother his shot and then Ben Lacey found the target twice but couldn’t beat the keeper.
The Magpies’ superior fitness was always going to be on their side and Nick Crittenden was prominent down the right. Three efforts from the midfielder were comfortably held by Pierre.
Barnes struck a free-kick over the bar on the stroke of half-time following a foul by Walker-Harris on McCootie, but after the interval it was the visitors’ turn to put their hosts under pressure.
Goal machine Ben Watson just failed with a chip over replacement Rovers’ keeper Joe Perry and then missed the target when it looked easier to score.
There were more chances for Jamie Beasley, Elliot Ward and Crittenden but Phil Simkin’s men just couldn’t find an equaliser.
A saving tackle from Charlie Clough prevented McCootie scoring again at the other end before a Barnes piledriver cleared the bar by a few inches.
Tim Sandercombe, on for Walker-Harris at the break, was called into action to save from Rovers substitutes Joe Vyner and James Billing and, despite more late pressure from the Magpies, Rovers held on.
“We passed them to death but couldn’t score,” said Simkin. “We made six or seven clear-cut chances and missed them all.
“It was a bit frustrating but a good exercise and we played some decent football without scoring.
“We’ve lost our last two games but I’m really pleased with how pre-season has gone.
“I’ve got a very fit bunch of lads and there is some good competition in the squad.”
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Green, Smeeton, Pugh, Clough, Morgan, Crittenden, Gleeson, Watson, Ward, Martin. Subs: Walker, Tennant, Beasley, Blackmore, Ramaday, Sandercombe
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