DORCHESTER Town boss Callum Brooks believes River Smith is “doing himself proud” after the Magpies’ striker proved the match-winner in a 1-0 triumph against Wimborne on Tuesday.

Smith’s killer instinct helped fire Dorchester through to the second round of the Southern League Challenge Cup, the marksman pouncing on Wimborne keeper Cameron Plain’s parry to record his first Dorchester goal.

Brooks and Smith worked together at Hamworthy before the forward departed on bad terms for Bournemouth Poppies.

However, the duo have rekindled their relationship at Dorchester and Brooks emphasised Smith’s hunger to improve as a key component in his renaissance.

He told Echosport: “River was good again, he led the line and worked really hard. He was rewarded with a goal and, harshly, he had one chalked off on Saturday.

“I don’t think you can underestimate how big this moment was for him to get his first competitive goal for the club at a local rival.

“It wasn’t just the goal – that would be selling him short. The ball stuck to him and he really ran himself into the ground. As a project player we’re looking to develop, we’re really pleased with him.”

Touching on their once fraught rapport, Brooks added: “I had River at Hamworthy and our relationship didn’t end too well.

“It just shows the power of keeping going. Years down the line he’s two leagues higher and doing himself proud.

“He deserves a lot of credit, he was relentless last year with the goals and I’m really pleased with him.

“(At Hamworthy) towards the end he wasn’t getting in the side too much and he’d always scored hatfuls of Wessex League goals. He just struggled to get off the mark.

“We were aiming to finish high in the league and were all guns blazing. He found himself out of the side and it never happened for him for a number of reasons.

“He then went back to Poppies and some clubs suit certain players. I’ve seen something during that time where I thought ‘he could be a good asset for us’.

“If you’re watching that over the last couple of games, you’re probably agreeing.”

On Dorchester’s performance, which saw the Magpies keep a clean sheet despite Wimborne hitting the woodwork four times, Brooks said: “(It was) a great night’s work.

“We came under a bit of pressure in the second half but you’re going to get that. We had quite a young group on and towards the end they were almost full-strength.

“If you’ve got a lead in games, naturally the momentum does swing. Wimborne retain the ball well so we had to do a lot of leg work and be disciplined to make sure we maintained a good defensive shape.

“Our lads, the resilience and fight they showed to come out the right side of that, was tremendous – really pleasing to get over the line in that game.”