A FIRST-HALF capitulation cost Dorchester Sports dearly as Merley Cobham Sports romped to a 6-3 Dorset Premier League victory at the Clayson Stadium.

Midway through the first half, Ashley James’ men had been competitive but were brutally disposed of within 22 harrowing minutes as Merley struck five times.

Most extraordinary of all the visitors’ strikes was the opener from Jamie Moores, who let fly from 55 yards to beat home keeper Sam Turner.

Moores’ goal opened the floodgates as the stunned hosts were put to the sword by their marauding opponents.

Merley doubled their lead when Lee Wilkins headed home a free header in the box before the unmarked Asa Phillips took advantage of more slack marking to nod past Turner for 3-0.

James’ men then suffered a demolition on the counter-attack as Merley retrieved possession from a home corner before supplying Phillips to finish off a rapid break.

Merley still had time to net a simple fifth, again unchallenged, for 5-0 at the interval.

To their credit, Dorchester Sports dug in and delivered a much-improved second-half display – although the damage was already done.

Defender Pat Thomas pulled a goal back but Josh Buck scorched a 25-yard effort beyond Turner to make it 6-1.

Undeterred, Jamie Samways crossed for Jason Read to score with a header from a corner and Will Turland wrapped up the scoring with an 80th-minute effort.

Speaking to Echosport, dejected home boss James admitted Merley “ran riot” at times.

He said: “I’ve never witnessed anything like it. It was just 22 minutes before half-time – probably the craziest I’ve ever witnessed.

“We had no answers to what they were throwing at us, it was pure bombardment. We let ourselves down very, very badly. It was a bit of a shambles to be honest.

“It all happened so quickly it was one, two, three, four, five before half-time. It was carnage, they just ran riot.”

However, James confessed Sports’ spirited response in the second half merely hid their defensive deficiencies.

He said: “It papers over the cracks. The first-half wasn’t good enough, we know that. It was disappointing because before the (first) goal went in it was quite an even game.

“Then we seemed to concede one goal and it all falls apart. We’ve got to stop that.

“When (Merley) get in their stride and get their tails up, they’re virtually impossible to stop and they proved that.”

Dorchester Sports: Turner, P Thomas, A Gould, Hill, Amor (Turland 60), Samways, G Will, B Thomas (Bagg 46), Rawlings, Quinton, Ross (Churchill 70). Sub not used: Frost