Gunson 30, Stanley 41, 56


Muir 27, 32

DORCHESTER Town secured an entertaining 3-2 victory over Hendon in the final match of Keith Emmerson’s career.

Hendon did not read the script as the Greens twice took the lead through Niko Muir, pegged back both times by a stunning Charlie Gunson free-kick and Alfie Stanley’s sliced finish.

Stanley’s second on 56 minutes proved the winner as he effortlessly side-footed a volley home from 20 yards to give Emmerson a winning send-off.

Emmerson will now hang up his boots after more than 1,000 non-League games, spanning 24 seasons.

READ MORE: Dorchester Town 3-2 Hendon - how it happened

And the victory also gave Dorchester their own winning goodbye in what was their last home fixture of the Pitching In Southern League Premier South season.

Playing for a reaction and pride after a chastening 6-1 loss to Poole Town on Monday, Dorchester boss Glenn Howes made three changes.

Emmerson came in, while Jake Graziano and Stanley also took places in the XI.

The trio came in at the expense of Harvey-Joe Bertrand, Lewis Waterfield and Matty Neale.

Bertrand and Neale dropped to the bench but Waterfield (ankle) is out for the remainder of the season.

Before play began, Gunson was named both the fans’ and players’ player of the season, before both teams formed a guard of honour for Emmerson, along with his two young sons.

Dorset Echo: Charlie Gunson, left, was named fans' and players' player of the seasonCharlie Gunson, left, was named fans' and players' player of the season (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Dorchester took a while to get going as Hendon's Shaun Lucien lifted a shot over the far angle and Frank Keita slammed an effort against the right-hand post after a neat exchange with Muir.

Rohdell Gordon then fizzed a 30-yarder wide before Dorchester, who were afforded large spells with the ball, sent a first effort over via Stanley’s volley.

However, Hendon got the goal they deserved when Muir beat Emmerson to a cross and thumped a finish through the legs of keeper Ryan Hall for 1-0.

Dorset Echo: Niko Muir, top left, opened the scoringNiko Muir, top left, opened the scoring (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Muir’s goal began a flurry of four in 14 minutes as Dorchester took just three minutes to equalise, Gunson whipping home a 30-yard free-kick that caught out custodian Aymen Azaze at his near post.

Parity in turn lasted two minutes as Muir benefitted from Keita’s cushioned header to volley home into an open goal from six yards as Dorchester’s defence went missing.

The unlucky Gunson came close to his second when he unfurled a shapely left-footed effort at goal, only to strike the crossbar.

With the ball crashing to ground just in front of the line, Dorchester appealed for a goal but play continued and Tiago Sa hooked an awkward overhead attempt at Azaze.

But Dorchester had their second equaliser on 41 minutes as Shaq Gwengwe skirted round the Hendon defence to the byline, winning a corner.

Hendon made a complete mess of defending it, and Stanley’s effort was little better as his slice somehow crept over the line via the fingertips of Azaze for 2-2.

Dorset Echo: Dorchester celebrate after narrowly making it 2-2Dorchester celebrate after narrowly making it 2-2 (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Hendon started the second half the brighter again, Gordon forcing Hall into a late save with the low April sun in the keeper’s eyes.

Keita then came within inches of connecting with a low cross at the back post but instead Dorchester would take the lead for the first time through Stanley’s exquisite finish.

Gunson’s free-kick was powered into the wall and after pinball in the box, Stanley himself having a shot blocked, he reacted instinctively to sidefoot a delightful volley beyond Azaze.

Perhaps frustrated by the concession, Hendon tempers flared as Lucas Perry was booked for an altercation with Jordan Ngalo and Azaze scuffled with Gwengwe, the latter earning yellow.

Dorset Echo: Aymen Azaze, left, and Shaq Gwengwe clash off the ballAymen Azaze, left, and Shaq Gwengwe clash off the ball (Image: IDRIS MARTIN)

Azaze harnessed the frustration by pulling off a save-of-the-season contender, somehow tipping Gunson’s goalbound shot over at the last second following excellent work on the right by Jake Graziano.

The final 25 minutes were low on quality as Dorchester battled to protect their lead and Hendon, one place above the drop zone, chasing a precious point.

Gwengwe had Dorchester’s final chance but blazed over as the Magpies moved up to 13th.

Hendon are unlikely to take the drop, five points above North Leigh with only two games left for the latter.

Magpies: Hall, Graziano, Sa (Buckley 73), Emmerson, Slough, Douglas, Gunson (Neale 68), Ngalo, Stanley, Moyse, Gwengwe (Howell 90+1). Subs not used: Bertrand, Foot.

Hendon: Azaze, Dawodu, Perry, Donnellan, Diedhou, Matsuzaka, Lucien, Jackson, Keita (White 79), Muir, Gordon. Subs not used: Brooks, Agboola, Iontton, Olarlerin.

Referee: Antony Smith.

Attendance: TBC