Bradbury 7, Gwengwe 25


DORCHESTER Town saw in 2023 with a comfortable 2-0 success over Yate Town at the Avenue Stadium.

First-half goals from Harvey Bradbury and Shaq Gwengwe proved enough, but both sides hit the post in a watchable Pitching In Southern League Premier South contest.

Victory moved Dorchester up three places to sixth in an ultra-competitive battle to reach the play-off spots.

Dorchester boss Glenn Howes made three changes to the side that began the 3-0 to Poole on Boxing Day.

READ MORE: Dorchester Town 2-0 Yate Town - how it happened

Tiago Sa, Harvey-Joe Bertrand and Alfie Stanley all dropped to the bench and in came defensive trio Jordi Foot, Louie Slough and skipper Callum Buckley.

Goalkeeper Harry Dillon and striker Olly Balmer retained their spots in the dugout with Dorchester naming the same matchday 16 that travelled to Poole.

Prior to kick-off, Dorchester unveiled Charlie Gunson as their player of the month for December but it was the returning Buckley who nearly gave Dorchester their first goal of 2023.

Gwengwe won a corner and a nicely worked routine set up Buckley with a header beyond the far post, his effort rising too high to trouble ex-Magpies’ keeper Martin Horsell.

Gunson had the Magpies’ first shot on target in the sixth minute after Bradbury chose to dummy instead of shoot – although the striker would score a matter of seconds later.

Gwengwe won a free-kick on the right and Yate’s defence made a hash of the clearance, Ioan Richards getting the ball stuck under his feet and allowing Bradbury to sneak in and plant a finish just inside the far post for 1-0.

Dorset Echo: Harvey Bradbury, left, opens the scoring for DorchesterHarvey Bradbury, left, opens the scoring for Dorchester (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Yate grew into the game after conceding, with former Salisbury midfielder Darren Mullings flicking one of four first-half corners over.

On 19 minutes, Yate hit the post through captain Kyle Tooze, whose effort inches from the byline was never likely to trouble home custodian Ryan Hall.

As Yate continued to test Dorchester aerially, Ben McLean volleyed over before Dorchester gave the Bluebells a taste of their own medicine.

Kieran Douglas got up highest to flick on a free-kick and Gwengwe outmuscled his marker before slamming a volley home into the far corner from ten yards out.

Dorset Echo: Shaq Gwengwe makes it 2-0 with a well-controlled volleyShaq Gwengwe makes it 2-0 with a well-controlled volley (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Two goals up after 25 minutes, Dorchester nearly had a third seconds later as Yate gifted the ball away and the Magpies carved them open on the transition.

Bradbury’s clever touch sent Matty Neale through on goal and the forward was unlucky to see his low curler rebound away off the right-hand post.

Dorset Echo: Matty Neale, centre, watches on as his shot hits the postMatty Neale, centre, watches on as his shot hits the post (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Yate’s Zachary Drew needlessly booted the ball into the crowd on the half-hour mark, earning a talking to from the referee, and the incident seemed to fire the winger up.

He won a corner off Gwengwe and his delivery fizzed in for Mullings who glanced a header just past two teammates at the far stick.

Their best chance of the half then fell to Jack Stanley as Tooze’s dummy enabled the left-back to eat up space in the area, only to drag his shot well wide when unmarked.

Dorchester ended the half strongly as Gwengwe was denied a penalty before volleying over but Yate wrestled back the momentum in the second half as Buckley was required to clear Drew’s dangerous cross.

Dorset Echo: Shaq Gwengwe wanted a penalty for this incident with Jack StanleyShaq Gwengwe wanted a penalty for this incident with Jack Stanley (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

With Yate committing men forward, Dorchester could unleash on the counter and a delicious ball from Slough set up Bradbury’s next chance, although Horsell easily claimed his bending 20-yarder.

Howes made his first change in the 64th minute, bringing on Balmer for Neale, and the substitute nearly claimed an immediate assist when he picked out Gwengwe, who was denied by Horsell’s sharp stop.

McLean then blazed over from 25 yards as Yate’s shooting became a little desperate and Sa replaced Emmerson as Howes freshened up his midfield.

Dorchester had few scares late on, dealing comfortably with two set-plays before Balmer’s surging run and shot was repelled by Horsell in four added minutes.

Dorchester were able to confirm the three points and a clean sheet without further alarm as they claimed their eighth home league win of the season.

Magpies: Hall, Foot, Slough, Emmerson (Sa 76), Buckley, Douglas, Gunson, Moyse, Bradbury (A Stanley 81), Gwengwe, Neale (Balmer 64). Subs not used: Dillon, Bertrand.

Yate: Horsell, Ibrahim, J Stanley, Mullings, I Richards (Digie 60), Raison, Lambert (Lewis-Hillier 70), Dinsley, Tooze, McLean, Drew (T Richards 70). Subs not used: Evans, Allen.

Referee: Antony Smith

Attendance: 531