Lewington 17

DORCHESTER Town opened their 2022 home fixtures with a 17th defeat from 26 Pitching In Southern League Premier South matches as visitors Taunton Town won 1-0 at the Avenue Stadium.

In securing victory, the Peacocks clinched the double over their hosts to extend their current unbeaten run to eight matches and stay sixth, while Dorchester remain in 18th.

Dorchester boss Glenn Howes made two changes from the 2-1 New Year's Day defeat at Yate with Charlie Madden left out of the squad and Southampton loan keeper Jack Bycroft making his Dorchester debut replacing Harry Lee who was side-lined through illness. 

New recruit Olaf Koszela made his second Dorchester debut while fellow incoming striker Joshua Bertie joined Alfie Stanley, Billy Stedman and under-23 stars Ashley Guppy and Connor Callow on the bench.

READ MOREDorchester Town 0-1 Taunton Town - how it happened

Taunton were quick off the blocks with a third-minute cross from Ross Stearn cut out by Bycroft. 

Moments later, a centre from Olly Chamberlain, whose two goals in the August encounter between the two sides in Somerset proved vital, was met by Jared Lewington whose header flew wide. 

Bycroft was well positioned to cut out a shot from Chamberlain but was beaten shortly after when Zac Smith provided a cross of pinpoint accuracy for Lewington to head in at the far post in the 17th minute. 

Taunton continued to press and a Stearn free-kick looked promising for the Peacocks until Ioan Richards was penalised for pushing. Chamberlain collected a deep cross but his shot deflected wide. 

Fed by the lively Chamberlain, Lloyd James also had an effort deflect wide.

In the opening half hour there had been precious little to enthuse Magpies fans but a lightning break from Koszela lifted home spirits. 

Taunton keeper Will Buse, on loan at Dorchester last season, showed sharp reactions to race out of his area to challenge Koszela who got a shot away but the ball struck Buse and looped up into the area and back into the arms of the now fast retreating keeper.

As half-time approached, Koszela attempted another shot which was blocked in front of goal and Tiago Sa drilled an inviting centre low across the face of goal but no Magpie could take advantage.

After the break the dangerous Chamberlain cut inside from the left wing but pulled his shot off target. 

Taunton continued to press for a second goal and a cross from James was gathered at his near post by Bycroft who then stopped a shot from Stearn who had been set up by Chamberlain. 

On 63 minutes Stearn had the ball in the Magpies' net but the goal was disallowed through offside. Substitute Jo Budd was next to benefit from Chamberlain’s creativity but Bycroft stood firm to hold his drive.

Stanley had replaced Charlie Gunson at the break and came close to equalising with a curled low effort which rolled wide. Tom Purrington then produced a shot on the turn which Buse did well to save. 

Chamberlain became the first name in referee Niall Clinton’s notebook for a foul on Oakley Hanger six minutes from time. 

The referee’s indication of six additional minutes gave Dorchester fans renewed hope but did not go down well with the visiting bench. 

Taunton goalkeeping coach Connor Sidley-Adams was yellow carded for dissent while a shot from Peacocks' substitute Dan Sullivan appeared to be tipped over by Bycroft only for a goal-kick to be awarded to the Magpies. 

This further aggravated the Taunton dugout from where words aimed at the assistant referee appeared to result in red cards for manager Rob Dray and substituted goal scorer Lewington.

Dorchester had one last chance to prise a point from proceedings and Koszela came close to doing so but after pile driving his way through the centre, saw his shot saved on the goalline by Buse.

Magpies: Bycroft, Hanger, Sa, Soares, Wells, Buckley, Purrington, Gunson (Stanley 46), Koszela, Bayston (Stedman 61), Lowes (Bertie 79). Subs not used: Guppy, Callow.

Taunton: Buse, Foulston, Grimes, Chamberlain, James, Holmes (Hill 46), Guest, Stearn (Budd 66), Smith, Lewington (Sullivan 50), Richards. Subs not used: Adelsbury, Staley 

Referee: Niall Clinton

Attendance: 389