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Knight’s troops rocked by basement boys
Nesbitt 15, Boylan pen 60
Dorchester TOWN 0
DORCHESTER Town suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in almost five months after going down at Blue Square Bet South whipping boys Thurrock.
Fresh from a 4-1 loss at table-topping Woking, the Magpies would have been confident of bouncing back against a side rooted to the foot of the table and without a win in 16 league outings.
But the formbook was thrown out of the window as Teddy Nesbitt’s opener and Lee Boylan’s second-half penalty secured victory for the relegation-threatened Fleet.
Magpies’ manager Alan Knight said: “We never got into a rhythm, but maybe that was down to my team selection or tactics.
“We didn’t really get going until the last 15 minutes and there wasn’t a lot I could draw from the game, besides the fact that Nick Crittenden got through it and Jamie Gleeson came on and did okay.
“But really I’m clutching at straws to gain any plusses out of the game.
“We also gave away another penalty, which is something we seem to be doing in every game.”
Following the midweek defeat in Surrey – Dorchester’s first on the road since late October – Knight made just a single change.
Winger Nick Crittenden made a welcome return from injury, after an ankle problem had kept him out for three weeks.
The 33-year-old’s inclusion saw Kyle Critchell revert to right-back and young Harrison Bell drop to the bench.
Jamie Gleeson, who also spent the previous three league games on the sidelines, was fit enough to be named among the substitutes.
Given the 27-point difference between the two sides prior to kick-off, it was no surprise to see the Magpies make the brighter start.
Max Worsfold caused panic among the home defenders but fortunately for the basement boys, the Aldershot loanee’s cross was hacked to safety.
However, the visitors failed to build on that early promise and fell behind 15 minutes in.
Nesbitt was afforded time to shoot and he duly punished the county town defence with a fine strike past Alan Walker-Harris.
Dorchester were struggling to create much in response but did rediscover their passing ability in the latter stages of the half.
However, boss Knight still felt the need for change at the interval, replacing Worsfold with Bell.
A positional reshuffle then took place with Critchell moving into midfield, Sam Malsom occupying the left flank and Ryan Dovell pushed up front alongside Tom Nichols.
Unfortunately, the restructuring failed to pay off as the Fleet doubled their advantage on the hour after visiting skipper Mark Jermyn conceded his third spot-kick in as many games.
Boylan converted from 12 yards and left Dorchester with a mountain to climb.
They did at least make some form of response with Critchell going close to reducing the deficit following good link-up play with Nichols.
Further changes were made with Gleeson and Neil Martin coming on for Critchell and Malsom respectively but the rot continued and after tasting his first defeat away from home last Tuesday, Knight was subjected to another first during his Dorchester tenure – successive league defeats.
The reversal also signalled the end of Nichols’ goalscoring run, which saw the Exeter City loanee register in every game following his arrival in January.
Coincidentally, his first strike in that run came against Thurrock in the reverse fixture 10 weeks ago.
Dorchester have now dropped to 11th in the table and Knight is desperate to see his side return to winning ways as soon as possible.
The boss added: “We have got to see the season through and not chuck the towel in as there is a lot to play for.
“The players have put too much hard work in over the last couple of months to let the season slip into mediocrity.”
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Critchell (Gleeson 73), Smeeton, Jermyn, N Walker, Dovell, Crittenden, Nicholls, Nichols, Malsom (Martin 77), Worsfold (Bell 46). Subs not used: Carlile, Jones.