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Walker helps Magpies thwart hot-shot Palmer
NATHAN Walker kept one of non-League’s hottest prospects in the shade as the Magpies picked up a precious point at the Avenue Stadium.
Dorchester’s recent record against Havant & Waterlooville has been a sorry tale but at the weekend they toughed it out on a pudding of a pitch, and were perhaps unfortunate not to come away with the victory after enjoying the better chances.
No one typified that effort more than Walker, and Phil Simkin was quick to recognise that afterwards.
The Dorchester boss, whose side travel to Chelmsford City tonight (7.45pm), said: “That is the first point we have taken off them for some time and a draw was perhaps a reasonable result.
“I thought our two centre-halves were tremendous, particularly Nathan, who was outstanding.
“It was difficult conditions out there and every point is precious to every team at this level at the moment, so overall I was happy.”
He went on to add: “Havant are currently in a false position, much like we are, and they have a couple of the best players in the league up front.
“However, Alan Walker-Harris did not have much to do in goal and their top-scorer Ollie Palmer didn’t really hurt us at all.
“He has been attracting interest from Football League clubs lately and not many defences keep him quiet, but Nathan and Arran Pugh did exactly that. In fact, that was Nathan at his best and it was great to see.
“That is now two clean sheets on the spin and it sets us up nicely for Chelmsford.
“It is now just a matter of how many times we can flog the same horse.”
Recent departures and injuries have left the Magpies extremely thin on the ground but the performance of debutant Danny Way on Saturday was cause for optimism.
Stepping up from the reserve team, the midfielder did not look out of place and it is hoped more of the club’s youngsters will shortly follow suit.
Simkin said: “Dan was excellent. There was a lot of pressure on him on a bad pitch against a tough side but I thought he handled it superbly. That is the way we are going to go now and Calvin Brooks, another young lad, will not be far away from joining him.”
Way got his chance after Jamie Gleeson was ruled out with a stomach bug. It is hoped the experienced midfielder will be fit to return tonight along with Jake Smeeton, who missed the clash with the Hawks through suspension.
Another positive for the county town outfit is Dan Green’s ongoing recuperation. He suffered cruciate-ligament damage in the 4-0 defeat at Havant earlier in the season, but it now appears he is well on the road to recovery.
Simkin added: “Dan had his operation a couple of weeks ago and it was a complete success.
“He has already signed for next season and should be ready by then, which is absolutely fantastic.
“He is a terrific player and we are looking forward to having him back as soon as possible.”
The Magpies currently sit 15th in Blue Square Bet South, just three points above the bottom two but with games in hand on the majority of the teams around them.