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Massive drama for Magpies
Dorchester TOWN 0 STAINES TOWN 3
N Walker 43og, Martin 65og, Risbridger 86
TWO own goals ultimately led to a fourth home defeat in five for Dorchester Town, who were without a recognised goalkeeper for the visit of relegation-threatened Staines.
Already missing first-choice stopper Alan Walker-Harris, who sustained a broken leg in the Magpies’ last home success on March 24, the county town outfit saw understudy Nic Jones dislocate his finger in the warm-up.
And with no replacement on the bench, full-back Kyle Critchell filled the void.
The defender may have conceded three on the day but two came via his own team-mates – Nathan Walker and Neil Martin – while the other was an unstoppable late strike from Gareth Risbridger.
The first moment of drama came without a ball being kicked.
The initial starting line-up saw Harrison Bell coming in for Jamie Symes with Critchell moving into the centre of defence and skipper Mark Jermyn being pushed into midfield.
However, those plans were thrown out of the window when keeper Jones picked up an injury in the pre-match warm-up and with no substitute gloveman on hand, Critchell was forced to don the gloves.
That meant Symes was brought back into the side, with Jermyn again partnering Walker at the back.
Ashley Nicholls was only fit enough to be named among the replacements.
Sensing a glorious opportunity to ease their relegation fears, The Massive attacked from the off and only a fine block from Walker, to deny Ali Chaaban, saved Critchell from being called into action just three minutes in.
But with 15 minutes gone, the visitors had yet to muster an attempt at goal.
Dorchester eventually got out of their own half and Sam Malsom almost profited from a slip by Will Antwi – captain Danny Gordon getting back to force the home forward wide of goal.
Malsom then crossed for strike partner Ryan Dovell, who got to the ball before Danny Potter but was adjudged to have fouled the Swans’ stopper.
Critchell finally got his hands on the ball midway through the half, collecting a teasing cross at the second attempt to take it off the head of a Staines striker.
Another delivery, in the 24th minute, brought the away side’s first genuine effort of the afternoon but David Wheeler could only direct his header wide of the left-hand post.
The pressure was slowly building and after doing well to work a yard space in the box, Chaaban could only blaze over the top.
Staines’ shooting was way off the mark for much of the half but they did take a one-goal lead into the break, albeit rather fortuitously.
A lucky ricochet fell to Kyle Vassell some 14 yards out and although his low shot struck the right upright, the rebound came off the unfortunate Walker and into the net.
Dorchester lacked any real attacking threat in the first period and boss Phil Simkin was forced to bring on Nicholls in place of Symes, who was experiencing chest pains during the interval.
The hosts eventually mustered their first attempt of the match with 53 minutes gone but Malsom’s tame effort, with the outside of his right boot, was comfortable for Potter.
The Swans responded and would have taken a two-goal lead just two minutes later had it not been for a superb stop from Critchell.
Walker conceded a free-kick 30 yards out, Chaaban let fly with a fierce drive but Critchell scampered to his left and got a vital touch to take it past the post.
However, within 10 minutes, the Massive did find a second goal and once again it came from a Dorchester player.
There appeared to be no danger as Wheeler crossed from the left but a lack of communication between Critchell and Martin resulted in the latter’s touch rolling agonisingly over the goal-line.
Rather than feel sorry for themselves, the Magpies sought a swift response and they almost got it as Malsom met Walker’s header from Crittenden’s left-sided corner. Un-fortunately for the hosts, Malsom’s nod was too close to Potter.
Reserve-team forward Antony Carlile entered the fray for his senior debut but it was Staines who continued to look the more likely to score.
And after Critchell produced another decent save to thwart Risbridger from distance, the same player tried his luck moments later and this time there was nothing the makeshift keeper could do to keep it out – handing the visitors an unassailable lead with just four minutes left.
Magpies: Critchell, Bell, Smeeton, Symes (Nicholls 46), N Walker, Gleeson, Crittenden, Jermyn, Dovell, Malsom (Carlile 75), Martin. Subs not used: S Buckler, S Walker.
Staines: Potter, Jackson, Everitt, Gordon, Antwi, Scarlett, Wheeler, Risbridger, Vassell (Butler 83), Chaaban (Charles-Smith 68), Kavanagh. Subs not used: Plummer, Goodman, Courtnage.
* A collection during the match helped raise £300 for injured keeper Alan Walker-Harris.