Dorchester TOWN 3 Malsom 34, Nichols pen 57, pen 88
HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE 6
Ramsey 3, pen 18, 61, Palmer 28, 51
ALAN Walker-Harris endured a torrid time as 10-man Dorchester Town were hit for six by struggling Havant & Waterlooville.
The Magpies’ keeper, who has been one of the county town side’s best performers this season, made two uncharacteristic howlers on a crazy afternoon at the Avenue Stadium.
He also fumbled a long throw from Jon McDonald that led to the Hawks’ second goal and team-mate Rico Wilson being sent off for handling on the goal-line. But in fairness to the 30-year-old, referee Simon Knapp failed to spot a clear foul on the gloveman as he went to gather.
The hosts can therefore feel somewhat aggrieved as the controversial moment came just 17 minutes in.
In the end, Havant made their numerical advantage count with Steve Ramsey helping himself to four goals and Ollie Palmer netting a brace.
Sam Malsom marked his Dorch-ester debut with a goal while Tom Nichols twice converted from the spot to take his tally to five in only four appearances.
Thirty-five days after their last outing in Blue Square Bet South, Dorchester made just a single change to their starting XI.
Malsom was handed his first competitive start, taking the place of the departed Steve Devlin, and the new recruit almost made a dream start to his county town career.
Just 42 seconds had passed when Nick Crittenden raided the right flank and put up a deep cross.
Malsom connected but saw his looping header drop just over the top of Lyall Beasley’s crossbar.
Having entered the game on the back of three straight defeats, the Hawks were in desperate need of a change in fortune.
And they received a huge slice of luck with only three minutes played.
Walker-Harris’ clearance struck the back of Palmer and the loose ball spun kindly into the path of the onrushing Ramsey, who gratefully fired home.
It should have been 2-0 eight minutes later but with the goal at his mercy, after Chris Holland had knocked down McDonald’s long throw, Palmer could only poke harmlessly wide of goal.
The Hawks did not have long to wait to extend their advantage, and again they were extremely fortunate to find the net.
McDonald delivered another long throw, Walker-Harris came to collect but fell under the challenge of a Havant player.
It looked an obvious infringement on the home stopper but play continued and Palmer headed goalwards only to see his effort stopped illegally by Wilson.
The latter was subsequently sent off and Ramsey doubled both his and the Hawks’ tally from the spot – despite Walker-Harris guessing correctly.
The 10-man Magpies looked down and out, and they fell three goals behind prior to the half-hour mark.
Chris Arthur’s low cross evaded everyone in the centre and Palmer nipped in front of Jake Smeeton to steer home.
A cross-cum-shot from Mark Jermyn had to be tipped over by Beasley and the near-miss appeared to breathe new life into the hosts.
First, Ashley Nicholls shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post and then Malsom reduced the deficit.
Crittenden’s corner was headed down by Nathan Walker on the edge of the box and Malsom found the top corner with an arching volley.
Smeeton’s 25-yard drive was then kept out by Beasley before Tom Nichols sent a header wide from close range when Ashley Nicholls, just behind him, may have been better placed.
Dorchester started the second half in the same vein and Crittenden would surely have scored their second had he been able to get a more decisive touch on Smeeton’s fine cross from the left.
But the harsh nature of the game continued as, within 60 seconds, Havant & Waterlooville restored their three-goal cushion.
And yet again Lady Luck was smiling on the away side as Walker-Harris’ poor goal-kick fell straight at the feet of Palmer and he ran unopposed before slotting past the beleaguered gloveman.
The hosts refused to lie down and six minutes later they reduced the arrears with a spot-kick of their own after Holland handled from Critten-den’s corner.
Nichols kept his cool to send Beasley the wrong way.
Back came the Hawks and they delivered the knockout blow just past the hour.
This time there was absolutely no luck involved as Ramsey found the bottom corner with a low drive from 25 yards for his hat-trick.
The midfielder was not finished there and he grabbed his fourth of the afternoon midway through the second half.
Walker’s poor clearance fell straight to Ramsey, who then side-stepped the defender with ease before beating the helpless Walker-Harris.
Malsom went close to finding a 75th-minute consolation before Tom Nichols’ long-distance thunderbolt was denied by the crossbar.
Dorchester should have had a second penalty moments later but referee Knapp waved away the county town appeals after Tom Nichols was bundled over by Ryan Woodford.
At the other end, Scott Jones got the better of Walker in the air and his flick-on set Palmer racing clear.
But Walker-Harris pulled off a superb save to deny a second hat-trick.
Despite the deficit, the Magpies continued to probe in the latter stages and they were finally awarded a second spot-kick following Sammy Igoe’s clumsy challenge on Crittenden, which forced the latter to limp off injured.
Tom Nichols stepped up once more and he successfully found the bottom-right corner for a second time.
Only a decent stop from Beasley prevented the Magpies closing the gap yet again.
Substitute Jamie Symes picked out Malsom in the penalty area but the visiting number one displayed smart reactions to bring an end to the drama.
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Critchell, Smeeton, Jermyn, N Walker, Gleeson, Crittenden (Symes 88), Nicholls, Wilson, Nichols, Devlin. Subs not used: Martin, Dovell, Bell, N Jones.
Hawks: Beasley, Hinshelwood, McDonald (Igoe 60), Woodford, Holland, Dolan, Ryan, Ramsey (Hopkinson 76), S Jones (White 90), Palmer, Arthur. Subs not used: Pearce, Norton.
* Prior to the match, the Dorchester Town Supporters Club presented a cheque for £1,000 to the football club.
Jamie Gleeson also received the January Player of the Month award.