DORCHESTER TOWN 1 CHELMSFORD CITY 0
JAMIE Reid was once again the hero as Dorchester Town maintained their 100 per cent record on home soil.
The on-loan striker, who curled home a superb 30-yard free-kick in stoppage-time last Tuesday, delivered yet another fine finish just past the hour.
And with chances at either end few and far between, the youngster’s third goal for the county town club was enough to secure a fourth straight victory for the high-flying hosts – and a first ever win in Blue Square Bet South over opponents Chelmsford City.
But with fellow early pacesetters Salisbury City recording a 1-0 victory of their own, at home to Eastbourne, the Magpies remain second in the table by virtue of goals scored.
Manager Phil Simkin was forced to make one change to his starting XI with star striker Ben Watson, struggling with a hamstring injury, replaced by last week’s super-sub Reid.
The Magpies also had to call on two members of the reserve team to help fill the bench with Gary Funnell and Antony Carlile elevated to the senior squad.
The Clarets were stuck in traffic en route to the county town and only arrived at the newly-named Greene King IPA Community Stadium at 2.35pm.
The visiting players were forced to change on the team bus and kick-off was only delayed by five minutes.
Despite the disruption to their pre-match preparations, it was City who came closest to opening the scoring.
Neil Martin failed to clear a fourth-minute cross from Craig Calver and Jamie Slabber eventually laid the ball off to Anthony Church, whose low shot from the edge of the box was too close to Jason Matthews in the Magpies’ goal.
Dorchester registered their first effort at goal on the quarter-hour with Sam Malsom firing wide from distance but it was a half of very few chances as both sides battled for supremacy.
The hosts did suffer a setback towards end of the first period when they lost their skipper, Mark Jermyn, to a groin injury.
His replacement at right-back was Harrison Bell and the former AFC Bournemouth youngster made an early impression as he won the ball on halfway and played it to Ashley Nicholls who burst goalwards.
The midfield maestro then released striker Reid for what appeared to be the home side’s best opening, but the flag was raised and Reid’s strike was saved by Stuart Searle nevertheless.
Dorchester were forced into another switch at the interval with Jamie Gleeson (groin) unable to continue and Nick Crittenden making his return from injury.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first with neither side really getting on top.
However, visiting skipper Kenny Clark almost put the ball into his own net 11 minutes in as he tried to clear from Crittenden’s low centre.
Lifted by that near-miss, the Magpies broke the deadlock just past the hour-mark.
Nicholls won possession in the middle of the park and slipped a precise ball through to Reid.
The Exeter City loanee then showed great composure to fend off his marker and fire high into the net from 18 yards.
Reid could have doubled the home side’s tally moments later after Lewis Morgan poked the ball into his path. However, somewhat off-balance, the county town forward skewed his effort wide of goal.
A David Bridges header failed to trouble Matthews as City responded to going behind. But in truth, the county town outfit’s lead never looked in danger as the Clarets struggled to penetrate.
Led by towering duo Nathan Walker and Charlie Clough, the Magpies’ defence comfortably dealt with everything that was thrown their way and Dorchester were left to reflect on another impressive win.
Magpies: Matthews, Jermyn (Bell 43), Martin, Clough, Walker, Gleeson (Crittenden 46), Gosling, Nicholls, Reid (Carlile 84), Morgan, Malsom. Subs not used: Ward, Funnell.
Clarets: Searle, Miller, Palmer, Haines, Clark, Bridges, Cook, Church (Rainford 89), Slabber, Parker (Ledgister 84), Calver (Welsh 71). Subs not used: Brindley, Whitely.