Thomas 43, Powell 88

DORCHESTER Town’s winless streak extended to seven Pitching In Southern League Premier South games as Merthyr Town claimed a deserved 2-0 win at the Avenue Stadium.

Goals in each half from Frazer Thomas and Lewis Powell gave the Martyrs revenge for a 3-1 defeat by Dorchester in October.

Glenn Howes’ Magpies are stuttering towards the end of the season in mid-table obscurity and, having been fifth in February, are now 14th.

Looking to reverse that slide, Howes made three changes to the side that began the 4-0 loss at Hayes & Yeading last time out.

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

Goalkeeper Harry Dillon took no part, while the injured Charlie Gunson (hamstring) was also an absentee. Louie Slough dropped to the bench.

Replacing them were keeper Ryan Hall, who returned to the starting line-up after a groin knock, while Keith Emmerson and new signing James Howell filled the remaining two spots.

Portsmouth’s Howell is one of five new recruits for Dorchester, with Yeovil loanee Jake Graziano named as a substitute.

Of the other three, Lewis Waterside was suspended, goalkeeper Lloyd Thomas missed out and Bournemouth striker Baylin Johnson was rested.

On the bench, Slough and Graziano were joined by under-23 stars Marcus Smith and Lewis Toms, with Harvey-Joe Bertrand completing the options.

In front of a healthy 465-strong home crowd on Non-League Day, the Magpies conjured the opening effort inside the first minute when Matty Neale’s downward header skidded wide.

The sides traded shots as Merthyr’s Ismail Yakubu headed a corner wide before Jordi Foot was allowed to advance and hit the target from 25 yards, keeper Will Fuller spilling then grabbing his shot.

Foot was needed at the other end as Merthyr began to dominate, Bubacarr Sama first seeing a cross parried by Hall and his follow-up shot cleared off the line by Foot.

Merthyr were troubling Dorchester with deliveries into the box and Yakubu spurned a glorious chance from Thomas’ corner in the 23rd minute, heading wide.

Hall fumbled then gathered Thomas Handley’s 25-yard daisy-cutter before Alexander Bonthron was guilty of one of the misses of the season.

Ricardo Rees’ inviting cross picked out the winger in acres of space two yards out at the back post, only for his header to miss the target and crash into the barriers to the disbelief of his teammates.

Emmerson whacked a shot wide from 25 yards for Dorchester and Foot saw a deflected attempt spin into Fuller’s hands as the Magpies regrouped.

However, Dorchester afforded Thomas too much time in their half and, on 43 minutes, he picked his spot to score via Hall’s fingertips and the far post.

Dorchester were fortunate not to go into half-time 2-0 down when Rees’ shot skewed off Kieran Douglas and bounced just wide of the left upright.

Rees went closer still in the second added minute when Merthyr carved the Dorchester defence open from the right.

While Bonthron missed the cutback, Rees connected sweetly and was unlucky to see his effort graze the top of the bar before the break.

Neale curled over for Dorchester ten minutes after the restart and Handley nearly caught Hall off guard from 45 yards from a free-kick as Merthyr chased a second.

Foot, booked for conceding that free-kick, was replaced on 65 minutes by Bertrand.

But the change did little to deter Merthyr as Bonthron’s rising drive fizzed past Hall’s post.

Graziano was introduced for Emmerson but, like Howell, struggled to make a telling contribution.

And with Gunson and Alfie Stanley (concussion) out, Dorchester’s injury headache worsened when Jordan Ngalo went off with a suspected hamstring strain.

For all Merthyr’s chances, the Welshmen only had one goal and Fuller was booked 77 minutes in for time-wasting.

The match situation enticed Dorchester into hunting an equaliser but the Magpies were instead hit on the break as Merthyr sealed victory.

Powell made sure of the win as a deflection took his shot beyond the outstretched palm of Hall and sent the travelling Merthyr support into ecstasy.

Dorchester could not find a consolation in the five added minutes, resigned to a tenth league loss in 12 games.

Magpies: Hall, Foot (Bertrand 65), Sa, Emmerson (Graziano 66), Buckley, Douglas, Moyse, Ngalo (Toms 72), Gwengwe, Howell, Neale. Subs not used: Slough, Smith.

Merthyr: Fuller, Sama, Handley, Adams, Ryan-Phillips, Evans, Powell, Rees, Thomas (Dinham 88), Bonthron (Brain 75), Yakubu. Subs not used: Harris, Michael.

Referee: Paul Barber.

Attendance: 465