HAVING endured a woeful start to 2011, the Magpies turned the tables at the beginning of 2012 and remained unbeaten in the opening month of the year.
The New Year began with an impressive 1-0 win at Salisbury City and the winning run continued courtesy of three-goal cushions against Thurrock (3-0) and Eastbourne Borough (4-1).
Dorchester looked to be heading for defeat when play-off rivals Dover took an 81st-minute lead in the Magpies’ final Blue Square Bet South outing of January, but Exeter City loanee Tom Nichols came to the rescue to preserve the unbeaten start.
The only disappointment came with the loss of star striker Ben Dickenson, first to an ankle injury and then to Npower Championship outfit Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, the 18-year-old’s departure was offset by the knowledge that the deal could eventually be worth six figures – making him the Magpies’ most expensive export ever.
Meanwhile, following the revelation in December that chairman Shaun Hearn is considering transferring his majority shareholding to the Dorchester Town Supporters Trust, the Dorchester Town Youth committee expresses its support for such a move.
In: Tom Nichols Out: Ben Dickenson
SAM Malsom joined the ranks from rivals Weymouth and but was forced to wait three weeks for his Magpies’ debut after inclement weather forced a host of postponements across the country.
Aldershot’s Max Worsfold also arrived on loan but his first appearance was put back even further after sustaining an injury.
Malsom’s first outing came against Havant & Waterlooville and although he marked the occasion with a fine goal, Dorchester went down 6-3 in a thrilling contest.
The Magpies recovered three days later by narrowly defeating Portland United in the semi-finals of the Dorset Senior Cup – Malsom once more on target before Ryan Dovell sealed the win in extra-time.
In: Sam Malsom, Max Worsfold Out: Steve Devlin
LESS than a year after his last spell in prison, striker Rico Wilson is jailed for 14 months after admitting an assault charge.
On the pitch, the month began with a bang as Dorchester ran out 4-0 winners at Weston-super-Mare.
But the tables soon turn with the Mag-pies picking up just a single point from their next four assignments – including a dismal 2-0 defeat at whipping boys Thurrock.
Alan Knight’s troops hit back with a superb 1-0 win over Blue Square Bet Premier-bound Dartford but the mood is dampened by a broken leg to number one keeper Alan Walker-Harris.
Dorchester end the month with another victory – this time at resurgent Farnbor-ough – to break the 50-point barrier for the first time since 2006.
Meanwhile, chairman Shaun Hearn reveals that the club is far from healthy but predicts a bright future.
He also meets with the Supporters Trust to hear their proposals for turning the county town outfit into a community-owned club.
In: Raiff Gwinnett
THE month is greeted by an immediate shock as Alan Knight announces his decision to step down as manager – just 127 days after his appointment.
Work commitments are revealed as the reason behind the Portsmouth legend’s surprise departure, however, he signs off in the perfect fashion as the Magpies earn an impressive 1-0 win at Eastleigh on Good Friday.
Assistant Phil Simkin, who enjoyed a successful spell as caretaker-boss prior to Knight’s arrival, is handed the reins on a permanent basis.
But his tenure begins with a disappointing 3-2 defeat at home to lowly Truro City, followed by a 3-0 loss to Staines Town – a game in which defender Kyle Critchell was forced to don the gloves after keeper Nic Jones suffered an injury in the pre-match warm-up.
In the aftermath of the clash with Staines, Jamie Symes is ruled out for the remainder of the season after being admitted to hospital with chest pains.
The mood is lifted almost immediately as Dorchester successfully defend the Dorset Senior Cup with a 2-0 victory over Wimborne Town.
The final two matches of the Blue Square Bet South season see the Magpies lose 2-1 at Tonbridge Angels and then draw 1-1 with Bromley to finish 11th with 56 points – their best points tally in seven seasons.
Off the field Shaun Hearn announces that he will not be handing control of the club to the Supporters Trust.
Out: Tom Nichols, Max Worsfold
FORMER Terras’ keeper Jason Matthews becomes Phil Simkin’s first signing as the Magpies’ permanent boss, the veteran signing from Bath City on a one-year deal.
Simkin’s reign also starts with Nathan Walker committing himself to the club for at least another year by penning a 12-month contract extension.
After Gary Borthwick leaves the Avenue, Stuart Heath, who won the Dorset Premier League title with Portland United, arrives as Simkin’s new assistant.
Even though the previous season had only just finished, Simkin and club chairman Shaun Hearn were already calling on the Magpies to build on the success of the last campaign.
Midfield maestro Ashley Nicholls also commits himself to a one-year contract extension while teenager Jamie Symes speaks about the heart scare that saw him collapse during a training session earlier in the year – it was later discovered he had an infection in his heart.
In: Jason Matthews
Phil Simkin describes new assistant-manager Stuart Heath as a “revelation” after his first few weeks at the club and keeper Alan Walker-Harris, recovering from a broken leg, reveals his delight at the way he is recovering but doesn’t want to put a date on his return to action.
There was no hiding Simkin’s glee as he captured the signature of former Exeter striker Ben Watson, who is labelled his “gold-plated signing”.
The Magpies fought off stiff competition for the centre-forward.
Heath says he wants to follow in the footsteps of Simkin and Mark Jermyn by matching their passion for the Magpies while vowing to work as hard as he can to further improve the side’s fortunes.
In: Ben Watson
Dorchester discover that they will host Eastbourne Borough on the opening day of the new season with trips to Staines Town and Farnborough immediately after.
As many as 44 players turn-up for the Magpies’ first pre-season training session with Simkin pleasantly surprised by the standard on show.
Midway through the month there is a third summer arrival at the Avenue with winger Andy Masson joining the ranks from Hamworthy Recreation where he scored a goal every other game the previous season.
Magpies’ player-to-be Jake Gosling scored as Exeter eased to a 4-0 pre-season friendly victory at the Avenue as Ben Watson and Jason Matthews made their Town bows.
Jamie Brown, back in Dorchester colours after being released from Eastleigh, featured in the club’s 3-0 home defeat to Brighton – Seagulls’ manager Gus Poyet praises the Magpies for their effort.
A third straight friendly loss saw Yeovil win 3-0 at the Avenue to leave Dorchester still waiting for their first pre-season goal. That wait came to an end when Sam Malsom and Watson found the net in a 2-2 draw with Bideford.
In: Andy Masson
In a sensational twist, Kyle Critchell leaves Dorchester to return to Weymouth for his fifth spell at the Terras. There was already speculation about his future at the Magpies due to him starting a part-time university course in Bath.
Former Yeovil Town youngster Lewis Morgan arrives at the Avenue while Exeter duo Jamie Reid and Jacob Wannell come in on loan.
As well as beating Wimborne 2-0 in the final pre-season friendly, Dorchester complete a double swoop for Charlie Clough and Elliot Ward after both came through a trial at the county town club.
On the way out, however, is striker Ryan Dovell who fell down the pecking order following the arrival of Watson and Reid.
Meanwhile, Reid was the Magpies’ hero on the opening day of the new season as his injury-time strike sealed the three points in a 2-1 win against Eastbourne Borough. Ward had levelled for the hosts with only three minutes left before Reid struck.
A Clough header couldn’t prevent a first defeat of the campaign, 2-1 at Staines, while the season’s first draw came at Farnborough with Ward’s opener being cancelled out by the hosts.
Two goals in as many minutes took the Magpies to a 2-1 triumph against Bath City at the Avenue, Nathan Walker and Neil Martin both finding the target.
In: Lewis Morgan, Charlie Clough, Elliot Ward, Jamie Reid (loan), Jacob Wannell (loan). Out: Kyle Critchell, Ryan Dovell
Dorchester’s knack of scoring goals in twos continues at Sutton United as Ashley Nicholls and Ben Watson find the net within a couple of minutes of each other and although the hosts pull one back Town hold on for a first away success.
His exploits against Dorchester in pre-season caught the eye of Phil Simkin and Jake Gosling became the club’s newest loan recruit – his big day wouldn’t be too long in coming.
Jamie Reid was the Magpies’ match-winner once again as he got the goal in the dying seconds to see off Eastleigh to put his club joint top of the Blue Square Bet South table.
Plans to build a new function room at the Avenue were submitted to the local council with chairman Shaun Hearn confident the development could secure a brighter future for the Magpies.
Another 1-0 win at home and another Reid winner, this time coming against Chelmsford City to keep up Dorchester’s excellent start to the season.
Reid says he would jump at the chance to make his loan signing permanent while Phil Simkin adds some Spanish flare to his squad with the arrival of Jon Garcia.
A setback follows as the Magpies crash 1-0 at Blue Square Bet South new boys Hornchurch before Simkin runs the rule over sought-after Christchurch youngster Harry Cornick.
On the eve of Dorchester’s FA Cup tie with Wootton Bassett Town, Arran Pugh comes in from Truro City. Pugh comes off the bench as the Magpies win the third qualifying round match 4-0 at the Avenue.
A 95th-minute Charlie Clough strike gave the Magpies a sensational 2-1 triumph over Welling United to preserve his side’s 100 per cent home record and give Dorchester a share of the lead at the top of the table.
In: Jon Garcia, Arran Pugh, Jake Gosling (loan)
Phil Simkin is given the September manager of the month award for Dorchester’s superb start to the season but, as is football, the Magpies were thumped 4-0 by Salisbury in their next outing – yet another example of the curse of the manager of the month award.
But Simkin’s men are back on form when Basingstoke Town are knocked out of the FA Cup, 1-0 at the Avenue with Jamie Gleeson getting the all-important goal.
Speaking before Dorchester make the trip to Billericay Town, keeper Jason Matthews reveals that his move to the club has exceeded all expectations. Sadly, he concedes three times as the Essex outfit run out 3-1 winners with Ben Watson netting a late consolation for the visitors.
Nine-man Bury Town give Dorchester a real fright before succumbing 3-1 in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup, meaning the Magpies are through to the first round proper.
Charlie Clough, Nick Crittenden and Ben Watson grab the goals to ultimately seal a tie against Plymouth Argyle at the Avenue.
It’s announced that the game will be shown live on television channel ESPN, giving Dorchester a cool £64,000 in return.
However, before that the Magpies have league matters to attend to and on October 28 they lose their 100 per cent home record to Tonbridge Angels in a 2-1 reverse, a game which sees a debut for on-loan Bournemouth youngster Jordan Chiedozie.
A winding-up petition filed against the club is attributed to an administrative error.
In: Jordan Chiedozie (loan)
Rico Wilson’s rehabilitation back into the first-team takes a blow when, after being released from prison, he picks up an ankle injury.
The excitement builds before the Magpies’ massive FA Cup showdown against Plymouth with Mark Jermyn speaking of his desire to savour the moment in front of the live television cameras.
Chairman Shaun Hearn also expresses his pride at the achievements of the club, who will be making their live television debut.
Confidence is high before the Magpies’ big day and boss Phil Simkin’s belief that his side can pull off a cup upset turns to reality when, in front of more than 3,000, Jake Gosling’s goal gives Dorchester a historic victory.
Gosling, on-loan from Exeter, sinks the 10-man Grecians’ rivals with a left-foot strike into the roof of the net on 49 minutes to send the home fans at the Avenue into ecstasy.
Plaudits come thick and fast and it isn’t long before the Magpies discover they face a trip to either Luton or Nuneaton in round two.
Danny Green and Warren Byerley join the Magpies’ ranks and the former enjoys a dream debut, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Didcot in the FA Trophy final qualifying round.
The news that Dorchester are to face Luton in both the FA Trophy and FA Cup is met by a 4-0 thrashing in the league at Havant & Waterlooville.
After his perfect debut for the club, Green is ruled out for the season after suffering knee ligament damage.
A 2-1 triumph at Maidenhead Town is followed by the signing of Richard Logan on non-contract terms and George Colson and Dan Thompson on loan from Portsmouth.
A last-ditch Charlie Clough leveller earns Dorchester an FA Trophy replay at Kenilworth Road. The 2-2 draw at the Avenue is first of a trilogy of games between the sides in the space of eight days.
In: Danny Green, Warren Byerley, Richard Logan, George Colson (loan), Dan Thompson (loan)
Dorchester bow out of the FA Cup, though they do everything possible to force a replay but find Luton keeper Mark Tyler in virtually unbeatable form.
Going 2-0 down with a little more than 20 minutes to go, defender Arran Pugh pulls a goal back to halve the deficit and try as they might the Magpies can’t find a second.
Their hurt is lifted by the news that goal hero against Plymouth, Jake Gosling, is to stay at the Avenue for another month on loan from Exeter.
However, lightning strikes again at Kenilworth Road as four days after putting them out of one cup, Luton do the same to Dorchester in the FA Trophy, this time winning 3-1 with Dan Thompson getting the visitors’ only goal.
Alan Walker-Harris makes his comeback for the reserves after six months out with a broken leg.
Dorchester put in arguably their worst display of the season so far, going down to a 1-0 defeat to Sutton United, courtesy of a Charlie Clough own goal. Arran Pugh is also sent-off.
For the Magpies, 2012 finishes in frustration with the rain sweeping across the country forcing the postponement of the club’s last home game of the year against Farnborough and the Boxing Day trip to Truro City.