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MAGPIES: Dorchester Town come up short against Eastleigh
Strevens 21, Reason 48
THE Magpies gave promotion contenders Eastleigh a real fright but couldn’t quite manage to salvage a point at the Avenue.
Goals from Ben Strevens and Jai Reason appeared to put the Spitfires in total control of the Skrill South encounter before Josh Wakefield struck on the hour to give Dorchester hope.
And, despite trying everything they could to find an equaliser, the hosts were left with nothing to show for all their hard work and commitment at the final whistle.
Jake Smeeton partnered Steve Walker at the centre of the Magpies’ defence and captained the home team in the absence of regular skipper Mark Jermyn through suspension.
On-loan Southampton defender Fraser Colmer made his Dorchester debut at left-back, while Jack Twyford returned to the starting line-up after serving a ban.
New signing Clive Makoni started on the bench alongside Calvin Brooks, who was back in the squad following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.
Eastleigh showed their intent from the kick-off and had a decent chance inside 30 seconds when Yemi Odubade surged forward only to pull a shot wide.
All of the early pressure came from the visitors and the prolific Stuart Fleetwood found the side netting of Alan Walker-Harris’ goal on eight minutes.
The Spitfires then had two great chances in quick succession. First, Odubade’s close-range effort was deflected wide and from the resulting corner Chris Todd’s header was just off target.
Then in the 21st minute the visitors did take the lead when a long ball forward was flicked on by captain Craig McAllister and Strevens fired past Walker-Harris.
You couldn’t fault Dorchester for their effort and stand-in skipper Smeeton led by example, but Eastleigh really were showing why they are one of the top teams in Skrill South.
However, Sam Lanahan could have equalised just before the half hour mark when he guided an attempt the wrong side of the post following good work from Wakefield.
Back at the other end and Eastleigh should have doubled their advantage only for Reason to slice horribly wide from only 10 yards out.
The Magpies’ goal really was living a charmed life and only a timely block by Ryan Case stopped Glen Southam adding to Strevens’ opener.
Hoping for a change in fortunes after the interval was Dorchester’s main aim but their dreams were shattered three minutes in, Reason converting Dan Spence’s cross to make it 2-0.
It seemed that Dorchester’s best opportunities were falling to midfielder Lanahan and he did everything but get on the end of Colmer’s left wing cross which flashed inches wide.
And while the hosts rode their luck a few times, they certainly stepped up their game in the second half and got a goal back when Wakefield curled a superb shot into Ross Flitney’s top corner.
Sensing a point was there for the taking, Phil Simkin introduced Makoni with a just under 20 minutes left.
Makoni’s pace seemed to unsettle the visitors, particularly keeper Flitney, who charged out of his area on more than one occasion to intercept long balls over the top of his back four.
At the other end, a save by Walker-Harris and block from Colmer rescued the Magpies on two separate occasions, giving the hosts every opportunity to stay in with a fighting chance of salvaging a draw in the closing stages.
Alex Godfrey and Dan Munday came on for Lanahan and Colmer in a last-ditch attempt by Simkin to get something tangible from the game.
But, try as they might, the Magpies couldn’t create that one clear cut chance they needed to grab an equaliser.
Magpies: Walker-Harris 7, Case 5 (Makoni 72, 5), Colmer 6 (Munday 88, 4), Smeeton 8, Walker 7, Lanahan 6 (Godfrey 83, 5), Crittenden 7, Gleeson 7, Tennant 6, Wakefield 7, Twyford 6. Subs not used: Rolls, Brooks
Eastleigh: Flitney, Batt (Green 65), Spence, Strevens, Evans, Todd, Odubade, Southam, McAllister (Dillon 48), Reason (Beckwith 88), Fleetwood. Subs not used: Smith, Davey
Yellow cards: Magpies – None
Eastleigh – Fleetwood (persistent infringing, 83)
Referee: Richard Hulme (Radstock)
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