MAGPIES: Late goal sees Magpies held to draw

Dorset Echo: SO CLOSE: Dorchester just missed out on victory SO CLOSE: Dorchester just missed out on victory

BISHOP’S STORTFORD 1

Richens 87

MAGPIES 1

N Walker 49

THE Magpies were forced to settle for a point at the ProKit UK Stadium as a late Michael Richens strike cancelled out Nathan Walker’s opener.

Walker finished off a set-piece to give the county town side the lead early in the second-half, and the visitors seemed on course for a precious Skrill South away win in Hertfordshire.

But the hosts, who had gone close on a number of occasions throughout, dealt Dorchester a cruel blow when Richens equalised in the 87th minute.

Every point is crucial to the Magpies’ hopes of escaping relegation this term, but getting so close to taking all three and then being denied was a real kick in the teeth.

Jamie Gleeson and Warren Byerley were fit to start as Magpies’ boss Phil Simkin made one change to the side that started the 4-1 defeat to Boreham Wood on Saturday.

That was at right-back where Sam Lanahan came in for Jake McCarthy who dropped to the bench, while Ryan Case earned a recall to the squad and was among the substitutes with Dan Way missing out.

In fact, the only Dorchester players involved in last night’s game who were also involved when the sides met in September were skipper Mark Jermyn, Nick Crittenden, Steve Walker and Jack Twyford.

For the hosts, manager Rod Stringer brought in Callum McNaughton and Liam Enver-Marum for Jake Hall and Cliff Akurang.

There wasn’t much in the way of goalmouth action in the first-half with the Magpies’ defence standing strong and not allowing a repeat of what happened against Boreham Wood.

The hosts had arguably the better of the chances with Brian Woodall letting fly from range before captain Reece Prestedge blasted over his follow up attempt.

Dorchester were given a scare just before the break when Anthony Church’s shot brushed the visitors’ crossbar.

Then, some four minutes into the second period, the Magpies took the lead as centre-back Walker got on the end of a free-kick.

Shortly after the goal, Stortford chief Stringer decided it was time to make a triple substitution, throwing on Akurang, who had scored at Tonbridge a few days previously, Harry Baker and Josh Fagbohun.

Woodall, Enver-Marum and McNaughton were the men to make way and the changes nearly had an instant impact when Baker saw a volley go just wide.

The replacement striker was involved again, but his appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee John O’Brien, then Alan Walker-Harris saved well from Church.

In a bid to keep things tight at the back the visitors introduced McCarthy for Ashley Yeoman, but three minutes from time disaster struck.

A free-kick swung over by Matt Johnson found defender Richens and the defender volleyed home.

Dorchester will now try to put this result behind them and focus on their next fixture, an away game at Bath City on Saturday.

*Dorchester Town Reserves go to Wimborne Town in the Wyvern Premier League on Wednesday night (7.45pm).

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Lanahan, Smeeton, Jermyn, N Walker, Craig, Crittenden, Gleeson, Yeoman (McCarthy), Byerley, Losasso. Subs not used: Twyford, Makoni, S Walker, Case.

Stortford: Lumley, Richens, Miller, Allen, Francis, McNaughton (Fagbohun), Johnson, Church, Woodall (Akurang), Enver-Marum (Baker), Prestedge. Subs not used: Hall, Brown.

Referee: John O’Brien

Attendance: 257

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