DORCHESTER TOWN 1
SUPER-SUB Jamie Reid curled home a last-gasp free-kick to see Dorchester Town share the lead at the Blue Square Bet South summit.
The Magpies were hanging on for a point at one stage last night but then Reid came off the bench and dispatched a superb set-piece in added time to maintain the county town side’s 100 per cent record at the Avenue Stadium and leave big-spending Eastleigh feeling considerably short-changed.
Having recorded their fourth win of the new campaign, Phil Simkin’s troops are now level on points with Salisbury City – the latter currently holding first place by virtue of more goals scored.
The Magpies’ boss made two changes, one enforced, for the visit of Eastleigh.
Exeter City loanee Jake Gosling made his Dorchester debut in place of the injured Jamie Symes while Sam Malsom replaced Reid with the hosts opting for a 4-5-1 formation in a bid to match their opponents.
The visitors’ bench included former county town forward Chris Flood.
Having entered the clash in third spot, the Magpies started in a fashion that mirrored their lofty status.
The county town side were bright, tenacious and assured in possession. Unfortunately, their confident opening failed to yield any early opportunities and Spitfires’ stopper Jack Dovey remained largely untroubled.
Eastleigh struggled to find their feet in the early exchanges but did force a couple of nervy moments in the opening half-hour.
First, a long clearance from towering defender Tom Jordan almost found its way past Jason Matthews, who was at first deceived by the bounce, before a jinking run and subsequent cross from Moses Ademola sparked mayhem in the Magpies’ box until the danger was finally extinguished.
Dorchester were so nearly presented with a one-on-one scenario eight minutes before the break.
Jamie Gleeson successfully closed down visiting skipper Daryl McMahon right on the edge of the Spitfires’ area and then played a superb back-heel into the path of Ben Watson, who unfortunately was not quite on the same wavelength.
It was the away side who finished the half the stronger of the two sides and the crossbar had to come to the Magpies’ rescue on the stroke of half-time as McMahon connected with Ademola’s low centre.
Ademola was undoubtedly the main threat for Eastleigh and only a superbly-timed challenge from keeper Matthews, seven minutes into the restart, prevented the lively winger from breaking the deadlock.
Mark Jermyn then produced an equally vital interception to thwart Jai Reason as the Spitfires continued to grow in stature.
Dorchester did respond with their first attempt on target but Malsom’s drive from range was easy meat for Dovey.
The visitors remained the most likely to open the scoring and they would have been ahead in the 72nd minute had it not been for their own wastefulness and the brilliance of the home keeper.
First, Ademola crossed from the left, Craig McAllister saw his downward header kept out by Matthews and substitute Dale Binns somehow fired the loose ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
Then, seconds later, a corner from fellow replacement Damian Scannell was nodded back across goal by Andy Forbes and met by the onrushing McAllister.
The visiting striker was ready to peel away in celebration but Matthews produced a world-class stop with his left hand.
As so often is the case in football, missed chances invariably come back to haunt teams. And so it proved as the Magpies stole the points in injury-time.
Reid was cynically brought down by Adam Everitt 30 yards from goal and the young forward dusted himself down before finding the top-left corner – despite Dovey getting a hand to the curling effort – to settle the game in the home side’s favour.
Dorchester’s superb home record will once again be put to the test this Saturday by Chelmsford City. But on the evidence of the past three weeks, few would bet against Simkin’s band of merry men.
Magpies: Matthews, Jermyn, Martin, Clough, Walker, Gleeson, Gosling, Nicholls, Watson, Morgan (Reid 75), Malsom. Subs not used: Ward, Bell, Brooks, Crittenden.
Spitfires: Dovey, Sankofa, Green, McNish, Jordan, Forbes, Ademola, McMahon (Everitt 67), McAllister, Reason (Scannell 59), Williams (Binns 62). Subs not used: Flood, Elphick.