NATHAN Walker faces his first real test as Dorchester Town captain tonight when he tries to lift his team-mates after Saturday’s nightmare against Bournemouth.
Magpies’ skipper Walker will do his best to rouse the squad before their pre-season clash with Bridport at St Mary’s Field (7.45pm), as the visitors attempt to put that 11-0 humbling by the Cherries behind them.
Speaking to Echosport about his side’s thrashing at the Avenue three days ago, Walker said it was a result he would never forget, but one that Dorchester and their fans must put into context.
He also admitted it was a defeat that they must learn from and a Bournemouth display they should be trying to replicate if they want a successful Southern League campaign.
“I’ve never been on the end of a result like that before,” he said. “The worst defeat I’ve had was at Weymouth last season when we lost 7-0 to Stourbridge.
“It’s frustrating because we are not a bad side and to come off the pitch having lost 11-0 was demoralising really.
“The lads were gobsmacked in the dressing room after the game, we couldn’t believe it, and it’s a result I’ll never forget.
“It hurts so much and I hope it doesn’t affect the lads going into the season.
“It will be a big test for us at Bridport because people will be looking to see how we react.
“What Bournemouth did to us we need to try and do to Bridport, and try and get some confidence back.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of the players already and I’ll speak to everyone before the game.
“I’ll probably get the lads together for a discussion and see where we go from.
“It will be hard trying to get their heads back up but if we want to do anything this season we’ve got to do what Bournemouth did to us and continually press the ball when we haven’t got it.”
He continued: “I hope the fans stick with us and realise it was a Championship side we lost to.
“Bournemouth were professional in everything they did from start to finish, we couldn’t get the ball off them.
“I can’t remember any of their players having more than two or three touches of the ball before it was moved on to the next man.
“Even when goal six, seven and eight were going in they were still hounding us in packs to get the ball back.”
When asked if Dorchester should play sides like the Cherries in future pre-seasons, he added: “I love playing against big clubs and you are never going to turn down sides like Bournemouth.
“But realistically they are that much better than us it would have been nice to play them if they had played more youngsters, not their full strength squad.
“It’s good for the club because they got people through the gate, but when we played Gosport it was more realistic because we are at a similar level as them.
“Maybe we should be playing more teams like that.”
Magpies’ boss Phil Simkin is set to include trialist and former Yeovil midfielder Will Agbo in his squad tonight.