MAGPIES: Late equaliser denies Dorchester (updated with video)

Dorset Echo: TWO GOALS: Josh Wakefield TWO GOALS: Josh Wakefield

Video courtesy of Dorchester Town FC


A CONTROVERSIAL equaliser in added-time stopped the Magpies from claiming all three points at the Avenue Stadium on Saturday.

Josh Wakefield’s double looked like it had secured Dorchester back-to-back victories for the first time this season until a foul on home defender Steve Walker appeared to go unpunished, allowing Concord Rangers to level in the 91st minute.

Phil Simkin made one change to the starting XI that began the 2-1 victory over Tonbridge last Tues-day with Wakefield returning to the side and replacing Dan Way, who dropped to the bench.

Having lost just 1-0 at Concord earlier in the season, the Magpies felt confident this was a game they could win but it did not stop them making a nervy start.

A needless foul in the opening minute handed Sam Collins the chance to let fly from a free-kick and when Alan Walker-Harris spilled the effort, Sam Higgins could only blaze wide on the rebound.

Dorchester looked extremely edgy and just two minutes later they were thanking their lucky stars again.

This time, Higgins tried his luck from distance with a fantastic curler from 25 yards but unfor-tunately for Concord the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.

The hosts looked stunned but they slowly began to settle and on 12 minutes went close themselves when Wakefield sent an effort just wide of the far post from 18 yards.

The AFC Bournemouth loanee then fired a dangerous ball flying across the face of the box before Concord had an effort cleared off the line just moments later.

A poorly struck corner found its way past several legs at the near post for Kiernan Hughes-Mason to strike towards the target, but Nick Crittenden was on hand to make a fine clearance.

Once again the Magpies were showing plenty of commitment but it was the visitors that continued to carry the greater threat.

It was Walker-Harris’ turn to be the saviour on 39 minutes with a fine block at point-blank range to deny that man Higgins once again.

The Rangers forward looked certain to score when Walker completely misjudged the flight of a long throw into the box, but the home stopper was alert to the danger.

In terms of chances, the Magpies were fortunate to still be on level terms at the break but they had not been outplayed either and were certainly making life tough for their opponents.

The home side’s tremendous work ethic continued in the second half as the game began to develop into a war of attrition with both sides looking short of ideas in attack.

However, just after the hour mark, the game then suddenly sprung to life with three goals in the space of nine minutes.

Jack Powell began the mayhem when his free-kick was pushed clear by Walker-Harris.

From the resulting break, the Magpies then attacked down the right and cut Concord open for the first time in the game.

Crittenden broke into the box superbly and when his cross was pushed away by visiting keeper Jamie Butler, the ball ricocheted back off Wakefield’s leg and just crept over the line.

Butler thought he had scrambled back and done enough to keep it out but the assistant referee flagged to confirm the goal and the Magpies were off and celebrating.

Concord responded by sending on Steve Cawley but the county town outfit could smell blood and went for the jugular.

Brandon Goodship saw a deflected effort fly agonisingly wide before Walker got his head on the resulting corner, only to see Butler pull off a top-class save.

Gaps were now opening up all over the field and moments after another substitute, Reece Harris, had overrun the ball at the other end when clean through, Cawley equalised on 68 minutes.

The lively forward was given too much space and he made no mistake with a delicate chip over Walker-Harris, who was caught off his line. Suddenly it was now the visitors that appeared to have the momentum but just 60 seconds later they were left bewildered when Wakefield curled home a stunner from 30 yards.

The young midfielder’s sublime strike flew across Butler and into the far corner of the net, and it sent the home fans wild.

However, Rangers were not dead and buried yet with Harris and Cawley both continuing to cause problems.

Harris broke into the box and forced Walker-Harris into a save before Cawley headed agonisingly wide at the far post with just eight minutes remaining.

Concord were now throwing everything at the Magpies but some last-ditch defending fought them off before the home side almost grabbed a third.

Crittenden broke away and fed Goodship but his stinging effort was kept out by Butler’s strong palms.

It appeared the county town outfit had done enough but, in the first minute of added-time, the visitors broke the Dorchester fans’ hearts.

Powell swung over a free-kick from the right and, with Walker being manhandled in the box, there was James White to force the ball in at the far post with his studs.

Concord then nearly went on to win it but somehow Walker-Harris produced a superb block to deny Powell from close range following Cawley’s excellent break.

It was a frantic finish and it eventually ended with honours even.

The Magpies were clearly disappointed at the final whistle but having rode their luck at times, a point apiece was probably the fairest outcome.

Magpies: Walker-Harris 7, Case 6, Smeeton 7, Jermyn 7, Walker 6, Lanahan 7, Crittenden 8, Gleeson 7, Goodship 7, Tennant 6, Wakefield 8. Subs not used: Way, Carlile, Rolls, Michie, Munday.

Concord: Butler, Lampe, Glozier, Powell, King, Goodacre, Hughes-Mason (Harris 60), White, Higgins, Collins, Ogilvie (Cawley 64). Subs not used: Bowles, Easterford, Hamilton.

Bookings – Magpies: Crittenden (foul 90+3) Concord: Glozier (foul 38), Cawley (foul 70), King (foul 82) Referee: A Quelch (Christchurch) Attendance: 356


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