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Avenue agony for Dorchester
Dorchester TOWN 0
SALISBURY CITY 3
Kelly 12, Williams 24, Anderson pen 43
A FIRST-HALF horror show was enough to bring to an end Dorchester Town’s unbeaten league run.
Playing in front of their biggest home crowd for two years – 981 – the Magpies were looking to make it 10 Blue Square Bet South games without defeat.
However, the Boxing Day clash was effectively wrapped up two minutes before the break as Stuart Ander-son’s spot-kick followed strikes from Adam Kelly and Marvin Williams to hand Salisbury City a late Christmas present.
The Magpies were unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 at Dartford 10 days ago with fit-again duo Jamie Gleeson and Jake Smeeton forced to settle for a spot on the bench.
Illness kept Rico Wilson out of the match-day squad.
The visitors on the other hand were missing a host of key players, so much so that manager Darrell Clarke was forced to dust off his boots and take a place in the middle of the park.
Salisbury did though include ex-Magpie Brian Dutton and former county town trialist Charlie Knight.
Making his first appearance at the Avenue Stadium, Andrew White was keen to impress and he almost set up an early opener.
But after beating Dutton on the left-hand side of the penalty area, the Eastleigh loanee’s cut-back was just a little too quick for the onrushing Ashley Nicholls.
It was the depleted Whites who registered the first attempt on goal and Alan Walker-Harris did well to beat out Dan Fitchett’s shot on the turn.
Dorchester responded and Ben Dickenson had an effort blocked before Steve Devlin’s corner was cleared off the line by an alert Knight.
But with their second opportunity of the game, City took the lead.
Nicholls’ attempted clearance was charged down, the lively Fitchett raced on to the loose ball and pulled back for the unmarked Kelly to hook home from 10 yards.
Dutton spurned an inviting chance to double the advantage, slicing wide on the volley, but his blushes were spared when Williams did find the net in the 24th minute.
And again there was an element of fortune about the goal as Nathan Walker’s punt forward struck an opposing player and fell into the path of the visiting forward.
Williams held off the challenge of Neil Martin and poked the ball past the advancing Walker-Harris.
It took 36 minutes for the hosts to put City keeper Mark Scott to the test but he proved equal to Devlin’s low drive.
Scott’s save appeared to fall kindly for Dickenson but a crucial deflection kept the scoreline intact.
White was incorrectly denied a one-on-one opportunity by the linesman’s flag – the striker being put through by the head of a City defender – and the hosts felt further aggrieved when referee Andrew Bennett awarded the away side a 43rd-minute penalty after Mark Jermyn’s by-line challenge on Fitchett.
Anderson sent Walker-Harris the wrong way to leave Dorchester with an Everest-like challenge in the second period.
They came within a lick of paint of reducing the deficit on the hour as Kyle Critchell met Nick Crittenden’s corner – the Magpies’ seventh of the afternoon – but saw his thumping header rattle the crossbar.
Confidence was growing among the home players but luck continued to desert them as Salisbury produced an astonishing double goal-line clearance.
First, Crittenden’s header was hacked off the line before Dickenson’s follow-up also struck a handily-placed defender.
The Whites were then a tad fortunate to retain their full complement of players as Ryan Brett escaped with a yellow card after a poor challenge on Critchell.
Although unlucky not to get at least one goal for their renewed effort, the Magpies never looked capable of getting the three they required to avoid a first defeat under new boss Alan Knight.
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Critchell, Martin, Jermyn, N Walker, Symes (Gleeson 59), Crittenden, Nicholls, White (Dovell 68), Dickenson, Devlin. Subs not used: Bell, Smeeton, N Jones.
Whites: Scott, Adelsbury, Brett, Clarke, Dutton (Cassey 80), Webb, Kelly, Anderson, Williams, Fitchett (Macklin 80), Knight. Subs not used: Harris, Cooper, Arthur.