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Third straight loss on road for Magpies
BILLERICAY TOWN 3
Taylor 19, Lechmere 60, Poole 64
DORCHESTER TOWN 1
Dorchester Town fell to a third straight defeat on the road and lost their grip on second spot in Blue Square Bet South.
Boss Phil Simkin highlighted the Magpies’ poor form away from the Avenue prior to Saturday’s trip to Essex but there was to be no change in fortune as Billericay Town ran out 3-0 winners.
Debutant Charlie Taylor broke the deadlock 19 minutes in before two goals in the space of four second-half minutes, courtesy of Sam Lechmere and Glenn Poole, secured victory for the Blues.
Ben Watson did grab a late consolation for the visitors but their fate was sealed and they now sit fourth in the table on goal difference.
Simkin said: “We didn’t play well to be fair and we didn’t defend as well as we normally do.
“At 1-0, Ben Watson was one-on-one with the keeper early in the second half and had he scored, it would have changed the face of the game.
“They countered and scored a second soon after. “We had enough of the game in the second half but when we conceded a third it was game over.
“It’s not the end of the world and I’m sure Billericay will beat a lot of sides playing like that.
“There are no easy games in this league but we didn’t play well and we have got to learn to take some of our home form into our away matches.”
The county town chief named the same XI that finished the previous week’s FA Cup triumph over Basing-stoke, which meant Arran Pugh and Jamie Symes started ahead of Neil Martin and Lewis Morgan while midfield maestro Ashley Nicholls managed to shake off a recent illness to retain his place in the side.
There was a welcome return on the bench for fit-again full-back Jake Smeeton, who was named in the match-day squad for the first time this season.
The hosts, keen to bounce back from their FA Cup exit at the hands of Cambridge City, made the brighter start to proceedings but good work from Charlie Clough and Sam Mal-som, who recovered from an early injury scare, down the left-hand side did force a decent save from Billericay gloveman Alex Bonnard.
However, moments later, the home side got their noses in front at New Lodge.
Joe Anderson’s excellent low centre from the left was met by new signing Taylor and he poked home from close range.
Initially, the Magpies appeared rattled by the opening goal but soon enough they began to exert pressure of their own with Watson going close to equalising and then Jamie Reid seeing a deflected free-kick drop narrowly wide.
Another promising set-piece opportunity, after Nicholls was brought down right on the edge of the home box, was then waved away by the referee.
The Magpies switched to a 4-4-2 formation as they upped the ante but it remained 1-0 heading into the half-time break.
Having made two hugely successfully substitutions in Dorchester’s previous outing, Simkin hoped for a similar outcome as he introduced Nick Crittenden and Jake Gosling for the start of the second period – Malsom and Symes being the men to make way.
And he almost got it as Watson found himself through on goal, but the county town striker slipped at the crucial moment and the chance was gone.
Substitutes Gosling and Crittenden then combined with the former providing the cross and the latter heading the wrong side of the upright.
Watson also nodded just over the top, from Crittenden’s centre, as Dorch-ester remained in the ascendancy.
However, against the run of play, Billericay gave themselves some breathing space in the form of a second goal.
Skipper Mark Jermyn was caught out by a ball over the top, Taylor teed up the over-lapping Lechmere and he fired a first-time effort beyond visiting keeper Jason Matthews.
And the points were sealed just four minutes later as Jermyn was beaten down the flank and the subsequent cross was volleyed home by Poole.
The latter almost made it four late on but Matthews produced a superb point-blank stop.
At the other end, Watson did find the net with a minute to go as Dorchester continued to battle but the points were already in the bag for last season’s Ryman Premier League champions.
Magpies: Matthews, Jermyn, Clough, Pugh, Walker, Gleeson, Symes (Gosling 46), Nicholls, Watson, Reid, Malsom (Crittenden 46). Subs not used: Martin, Smeeton, Garcia.