Magpies: Dan Smith strikes twice in Dorchester victory

TOP PERFORMANCE: Steve Walker

TOP PERFORMANCE: Steve Walker

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

MAGPIES 3

D Smith 23, 82, Cann 57

HEREFORD UNITED 0

A DAN Smith double helped the Magpies to a comfortable win against Southern Premier League crisis club Hereford United.

Former Weymouth wideman Smith struck either side of a Dan Cann goal to give the hosts their second win of the season.

Today’s match at the Avenue could well turn out to be Hereford’s last with their mounting financial problems leaving them on the brink of collapse.

Dorchester boss Phil Simkin decided to stick with the team that breezed to victory at Burnham a winning team for the clash against the Bulls, meaning returning club captain Nathan Walker had to settle for a place on the bench.

The game was only 14 minutes old when Walker was called into action, coming on for the injured Ben Joyce who pulled up clutching his left hamstring.

Walker slotted in at centre-back alongside younger brother Steve, who was outstanding on the day, with stand-in skipper Jake Smeeton moving up into midfield.

The visitors had the first attempt on goal with a Salvador Ramirez shot that was easily gathered by Alan Walker-Harris, but it was the Magpies who took the lead on 23 minutes.

Walker-Harris gathered a Hereford corner and set Nick Crittenden haring off into the visitors’ half.

The veteran midfielder then found Smith in oceans of space on the right and the summer signing drilled a low drive into the far corner of Luke Williams’s goal.

Only a minute later Cann thought he had doubled the hosts’ lead, heading into an unguarded net after Nathan Walker had beaten Williams to a free-kick.

However, Cann’s joy was short-lived as a linesman’s flag denied him his second goal of the season.

Soon after there was a second yellow card of the afternoon for the Bulls, Samuel Akinde following Deqwon Eubanks into the referee’s notebook – the two were cautioned for kicking the ball away and dissent respectively.

Dorchester had a few good chances to score again before the break. Nathan Walker headed straight at Williams and then Smeeton scuffed an effort wide having played a give and go with Will Agbo.

At the other end, Eubanks forced Walker-Harris to push a curling shot away and left-back Callum Buckley produced a crucial block tackle as Akinde was about to let fly from close range.

Cann was booked on the stroke of half-time for dissent but two minutes after the restart the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Akinde was shown a second yellow for needlessly booting the ball away in frustration.

It could have got even worse for the Bulls from the resulting free-kick, though Nathan Walker’s header went just over the bar.

Neat interplay between Agbo and Smith saw the former fire straight at Williams, before Cann made the points safe seconds later with a powerful left-foot finish from 10 yards.

There was so nearly a third for the home side just after the hour mark, however, having originally helped set up the chance from which Cann trickled a shot against the post, Jamie Gleeson couldn’t get to the rebound.

Despite trailing 2-0 and being a man down, Hereford were by no means out of the game completely, and they created a couple of decent half-chances that weren’t too far away from finding the net.

On one such occasion, Walker-Harris needed two bites of the cherry to keep out a fierce effort from United left-back Daniel O’Reilly.

But eight minutes from time, and after racing on to a pass from Gleeson, Smith rattled in his second and Dorchester’s third to complete the hosts’ victory.

The reverse fixture between the teams is scheduled for October, but whether the Bulls will still be in business by then is another thing.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Hanger, Buckley, Smeeton, S Walker, Agbo (Godfrey 72), Crittenden (Brookes 83), Gleeson, Cann, Joyce, D Smith. Subs not used: S Smith, Murphy.

Hereford: Williams, Roberts, O’Reilly, O’Neill, Morrison, Barrientos, Bobes-Gilroy (Knott 80), Yafai (Browne 61), Akinde, Ramirez, Eubanks (Lewars 61). Subs not used: Maredra, Martinez.

Yellow cards: Magpies – Cann (dissent 45) Hereford – Eubanks (kicking ball away 11), Akinde (dissent 25, kicking ball away 47), Barrientos (foul 87) Red cards: Magpies – None Hereford – Akinde (two bookable offences 47) Referee: Mark Lawrence (Bridgewater) Att: 474

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