Koszela 35, Fletcher 90+4


Cumberbatch 56, 78

WILL Fletcher’s 94th-minute diving header handed the Magpies a 2-2 draw against 10-man Hendon at the Avenue Stadium.

Olaf Koszela’s low finish handed Dorchester a 1-0 half-time lead but two goals from Kurtis Cumberbatch threatened to give the Greens all three points.

That was until Cumberbatch collected two yellows and Dorchester debutant Luke Pardoe’s incredible cross teed up Fletcher for a stooping header and a share of the points in a thriller.

Dorchester were unchanged from the starting line-up that began the fine 3-1 win over Bracknell Town last weekend.

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

New signing Pardoe was named on the bench, while Harvey Hughes was the sole absentee from the 16.

Substitutes Fletcher, Lewis Waterfield, Ieuan Turner and Jonny Efedje all retained their places in the dugout.

Looking for back-to-back wins and to avenge a 1-0 loss to Hendon earlier in the season, Dorchester were slow to get going.

Hendon appeared more alert and nearly capitalised on a lapse in concentration from Ed James, who took too long to escort a ball out near the byline, allowing Hendon to hook the ball back into play. Luckily for the Yeovil loanee, his fellow defenders tidied up.

Hamza Bin-Semakula then hooked a sweet volley just wide before Dorchester began to assert themselves.

The momentum shifted in part due to a big misjudgement from keeper Matt Kerbey, who charged 20 metres off his line to mop up Will Spetch’s long ball only to stop.

His hesitation allowed Shaq Gwengwe the chance of a lob, only for the forward to flick sidespin onto his effort, taking it away from goal as Hendon breathed a sigh of relief.

Dorchester were energised by the chance and saw the tireless Marcus Daws fire at Kerbey before Koszela had a selfish shot inside the area blocked.

Hendon reminded the Magpies of their attacking flair when Bin-Semakula collected a stray pass and forced Luton loanee keeper Jameson Horlick into a diving stop.

Hendon were then enraged when referee Jordan McRitchie stopped an attack in Dorchester’s box to tend to Daws, who had gone down via a flailing arm from Ola Adenola. Niko Muir was booked for his protests, continuing to incense the Greens’ bench.

Daws fired another chance at Kerbey after a loose pass from Lucas Perry but Dorchester eventually found the breakthrough in the 35th minute.

Jack Dickson’s clever pass into Gwengwe allowed the striker to set up Koszela who drilled into the far corner from 20 yards before unveiling a Jude Bellingham-esque celebration.

Having delighted the home faithful, the Magpies nearly killed the vibe when slack defending afforded Bin-Semakula a clear chance in the 36th minute, only for the winger to slice horribly out of the ground.

That proved the last major chance of the half but Dorchester resumed the second in control as Koszela fired wide 47 seconds in after a driving run from skipper Jordan Ngalo.

Kyran Wiltshire could then count himself lucky to remain on the pitch after cynically tripping Dickson, having been on a yellow card.

Hendon then proceeded to punish Dorchester for a couple of errors in the 56th minute.

Their first misstep was a weak header out before Cumberbatch nipped in to take possession near the D, use the defence as a shield and bend home into the far corner with Jameson unsighted.

Dorchester responded when Daws pinged a long-range effort wide, before a nasty lunging challenge, this time from Cumberbatch, disrupted Dickson in full flow to earn yellow.

Dorchester nearly scored from the free-kick as Moore pumped it long, Spetch headed across and Gwengwe leapt prodigiously to glance just wide.

Gwengwe, switched out to the left wing, then refused a simple pass to Daws for 2-1, instead seeing his effort saved by Kerbey.

Fletcher came on for Drew Eccott-Young and Daws was sacrificed for Pardoe’s debut as Dorchester made attacking changes.

However, Hendon’s second stemmed from a Dorchester corner as Hendon cleared to sub Richard Pingling and his raking pass induced a miscontrol from Dickson, allowing Cumberbatch to hammer past Jameson for 2-1.

As Dorchester flooded forward, Dickson blasted over on the half-volley before Cumberbatch saw red for a contentious foul in midfield in the 86th minute.

Dorchester continued to probe and pressure Hendon’s defence, Pardoe cutting inside and drawing a fingertip save from Kerbey in the 90th minute.

And super sub Pardoe wrapped up a stunning debut with one of the crosses of the season in the 94th minute.

Picking up possession on the right, he curled in a majestic ball on a plate to meet the run of Fletcher, who powered home the header from six yards for 2-2, sparking bedlam at the Avenue.

Neither side could find a winner but a point was deserved by both teams on the balance of play.

Magpies: Horlick, Eccott-Young (Fletcher 75), Haste, Ngalo, James, Daws (Pardoe 76), Moore, Koszela, Gwengwe, Dickson, Spetch. Subs not used: Waterfield, Turner, Efedje.

Hendon: Kerbey, Adenola, Perry, Riley-Snow, Matsuzaka, Light, Bin-Semakula (Pingling 70), Wiltshire (Brosnan 83), Muir, Cumberbatch, Akinola (MacNab 65). Subs not used: Allinson-Stalham, Lucien.

Referee: Jordan McRitchie

Attendance: 492.