MAGPIES: Gulls swoop as fitness is key

DEBUT: Striker Dan Cann

DEBUT: Striker Dan Cann

First published in Sport
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Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

THE result may not have been to his liking but Dorchester Town manager Phil Simkin definitely felt there were positives to take from his side’s first pre-season outing against Torquay on Saturday.

However, Simkin admitted that there is still plenty for the Magpies to work on, particularly in the fitness department.

The hosts were solid in a quiet first-half at the Avenue before Torquay’s full-time status showed with three unanswered goals after the interval.

Aaron Downes, Louis Briscoe and Courtney Baker-Richardson found the net for the Gulls, now in the Football Conference, and they could have added more had they finished off their chances.

Dorchester came closest to scoring through two free-kicks that struck the crossbar, the first from new signing Dan Smith, the second from Jake Smeeton.

“They were fitter and stronger than us,” said Simkin. “They brought on loads of fresh legs in the second half and we had to use that game to try and get ourselves fit as well.

“We threatened at times and put some nice passing movements together but it became obvious as the game went on that we weren’t fit enough.

“I wasn’t altogether disappointed because there were some good things to come out of the game.

“I thought Dan Smith looked sharp, the two centre-halves did well, and it was a good workout – you’ve got to start somewhere.

“Friendlies can be difficult and I had to bring people on to look at them and give them a chance.”

He continued: “We’ve got to be realistic, Torquay are two leagues above us, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go back up to the Football League next season.

“People forget that a few months ago they were a Football League side and are full-time pros in the Conference Premier.

“I just don’t see the point in playing easy friendlies.”

As well as giving starts to new arrivals Smith, Dan Cann and Ben Joyce, Simkin had a look at three players currently on trial with the club.

Jason Brookes, who played for Bashley last season, started at right-back, while Willand Rovers winger Luke Alden and Kieran Parrett, previously with Poole Town, came on during the second period.

There was also some game time for young keeper Shane Murphy who replaced Alan Walker-Harris just after the hour mark and made one stunning save to tip the ball against the woodwork.

Simkin added: “Luke has done very well in the Western Premier League and has definitely got some ability.

“Kieran showed some nice touches and Jason played at right-back, though that's not his best position.

“Nathan Peprah-Annan has been training with us would have been involved but he was getting married.”

Unused trialists Scott Walters and Ryan Murray are likely to feature for the Magpies when they host Gosport Borough tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Dorchester: Walker-Harris (Murphy 66), Brookes (Alden 46), Smeeton, S Walker, N Walker, Gleeson, Crittenden (Twyford 75), Lanahan, Cann, Joyce (Parrett 75), Smith (Munday 75). Subs not used: Walters, Murray

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