ARLESEY TOWN 1 DORCHESTER TOWN 0
PHIL Simkin’s side made a disappointing start to life in the Southern League Premier League at the Armadillo Stadium.
New loan signing Mason Walsh was helped off the pitch after just 12 minutes with an ankle injury while keeper Alan Walker-Harris dropped a 77th minute cross, which enabled Dean Mason to tuck away the only a goal of the game.
The Magpies did enjoy a large amount of possession and played some neat build-up football but all too often there was little at the end to trouble Arlesey’s impressive former Stevenage keeper, Nick Thompson.
Dan Cann was the first to try with an opening minute effort from 20 yards but Thompson was well-placed to make the save.
Ben Joyce then set up Dan Smith but his shot flew wide.
The first threat from Rufus Brevett's side came in the 11th minute when Hallelujah Basmel charged down the left flank but could only fire wide of the near post.
Basmel then set up Christian Tavernier who hoisted his shot from 20 yards over the Magpies’ crossbar.
The ankle injury to Walsh forced an early substitution for Simkin, with Sam Lanahan replacing the Cherries’ loanee.
Only the woodwork then saved Dorchester when the lively Kelvin Bossman broke through the centre and struck the far post.
Will Agbo and Cann combined to set up Nick Crittenden, whose shot lacked power affording Thompson a comfortable save.
A foul on Oakley Hangar produced a booking for Basmel and a free-kick for Dorchester which Smith delivered into the six-yard box where Jake Smeeton blazed over the crossbar.
A through ball from Hangar looked promising but Thompson darted off his line to clear the danger before Lanahan could capitalise.
A Crittenden shot was then cleared by Mitch Gough but almost immediately at the other end, a cross from Andre Maltay was met by Bossman who powered a header against the Magpies’ bar.
Lanahan sent an angled drive wide while Smeeton curled another set-piece at Thompson whose long clearance was well claimed by his opposite number.
Thompson was quickly back in action to save a near post effort from Smith while Walker-Harris pushed aside a fierce attempt from Basmel.
Early in the second half, Harrison Carr fired inches wide for Arlesey while again Cann failed to test Thompson when well placed.
A goal looked certain when Basmel surged past Smeeton and Steve Walker but the tall former St Neots striker pulled his shot wide of the far post.
Another set-piece opportunity yielded the same result for Dorchester as Thompson was well-placed to cut out Smeeton's 25-yard free kick, awarded for a foul on Smith.
Walker, Joyce and Smith all then had shots charged down while the latter was awarded a yellow card when the referee decided that he had dived in the box rather than being tripped, with the Magpies’ fans behind the goal screaming for a penalty.
Smith and Joyce both fired over before the deadlock was broken in the 77th minute when a harmless looking looping cross from substitute Liam McGovern deceived Walker-Harris who could only get a slight touch to the ball which fell invitingly for Mason to tap into an unguarded net.
There was no way back for a deflated Dorchester side. The only remaining threat came from Lanahan, whose late shot took a deflection for a corner which Smith delivered.
And as he had done so confidently all afternoon, Thompson rose to comfortably claim to the ball.
Arlesey: Thompson, Maltay, Willett, Carr (McGovern 69), Gough, Gallagher, Mason, Tavernier, Bossman, Seanla (English 69), Basmel (Foster 78) Subs not used: Boot, Shariffu
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Hangar, Buckley (Godfrey 78), Smeeton, S Walker, Agbo, Walsh (Lanahan 12),Crittenden, Cann, Joyce, Smith Subs not used: Woodford, Brookes, Murphy
Bookings – Arlesey: Tavernier (foul, 53), Basmel (foul, 16)
Magpies – Hangar (foul, 73), S Walker (foul, 85), Cann (foul, 44), Smith (simulation, 65)
Referee: A Aylott