DORCHESTER Town will have to put the disappointment of Saturday’s single-goal defeat to Bath City behind them as quickly as possible with tonight’s trip to Essex their next big challenge.

The Magpies face Chelmsford City (7.45pm) at Melbourne Stadium this evening, starting the game three points adrift at the bottom of the Skrill South table.

A 1-0 loss at Bath on the weekend, coupled with wins for the likes of Gosport, Tonbridge and Hayes & Yeading, dealt Phil Simkin’s men a massive blow in their attempts to stay up.

Missed chances early on ultimately proved costly for Dorchester at Mayday Trust Park as the hosts took the lead just after the interval and were rarely threatened in the rest of the game – Nick Crittenden was also sent off for two bookable offences to hinder the visitors’ cause even further.

“We played really well in the first half and should have been clear at half-time,” said Simkin. “But we gave away a goal early in the second half and we more or less fell apart.

“They scored two or three minutes into the second half which got their tails up, they pinned us back and we couldn’t make much ground going forward.

“We played really well and took the game to them, but when they scored they began to ooze with confidence out of them and it was hard to get back into the game.

“We couldn’t get our noses in front when we had the chance and they did – I think that’s what the difference was. Once they got in front they dominated the game.”

Looking ahead to tonight’s key clash, Simkin added: “It’s never easy at Chelmsford and if you’ve been there you’ll know why.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do and will have to get a side together with players missing.”

Steve Walker, Clive Makoni and Dan Munday are all unavailable to take on Mark Hawkes’ side, who sit 16th following a 4-2 reverse at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.

The Clarets, then managed by former Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth, were beaten 2-0 by the Magpies at the Avenue last September.

Goals from Danny way and Crittenden saw Dorchester claim their first win of the season at the eighth attempt.

Since then there have been mixed fortunes for the Essex outfit, with heavy defeats to Boreham Wood, Bromley and Dover countered by victories over Bishop’s Stortford, Concord and Bromley in the reverse fixture.

However, they have lost five of their last seven and the Magpies will know nothing less than a point is needed tonight.