Match Report - Dorchester Town v Salisbury FC

FB size©Michael Berkeley

Dorchester Town 1 Salisbury FC 4
Evo-Stik South Premier South
Saturday, 13 April 2019

By Alec Hayter

According to some semi-reliable sources a collection of magpies can often be referred to as a "murder" of magpies, and that is precisely what the Whites have, this season, done to teams with that nickname in terms of points at least, as neither Wimborne nor Dorchester have succeeded in taking any from games with us.

There is a saying that there are no easy games but I would argue that some games are easier than others, and today's meeting at the Clayson Stadium probably ranks as one, as in the whole game Dorchester were restricted to five chances, and hardly got out of their own half in the first 45 minutes and for most of the second period.

After five minutes, when a tame effort from Antonio Diaz was easily saved by Jake Hallett, Salisbury made the most of the 3G surface to employ their passing game and, rather like the game at Amesbury on Tuesday, passed and passed and passed with their first chance coming on nine minutes when Lewis Benson crossed from the right for Dan Fitchett to head narrowly over. Under 60 seconds later Bay Downing sent a measured pass over the last defender to Fitchett who this time was foiled by a desperate block by home keeper Nick Hutchins. Almost immediately, Salisbury had a handball appeal turned down after Aaron Dawson had made his way into the Dorchester area and squared the ball which appeared to hit a defender's hand, but a penalty would have been very harsh.

It was no surprise when on 21 minutes the visitors took the lead, with Tom Whelan showing the way, firing a low shot from distance into the corner. Soon after, more panic defending gave Darren Mullings a chance but his header was deflected wide.

WhelanTom Whelan's venomous finish, after a typical surge forward. - ©Michael Berkeley

On 29 minutes a second goal arrived, to the surprise of no-one really except perhaps the home keeper and defender who saw Claudio Herbert nip in between them to thunder in a volley for an opportunist goal, having received a long equally-measured diagonal ball from Matt Partridge. Two goals in two games for Claudio were just reward for his efforts.

HerbertWhites' second, and two in two games for Claudio. - ©Michael Berkeley

Either that second goal was what was needed to stir the Magpies or maybe caused Salisbury to relax, as four minutes later the home side might have got a goal back when Aaron Rodriguez' effort from just outside the box was deflected, completely wrong-footing Hallett, but ending up well wide. Two minutes later a cross-field ball found Tom Blair, but he launched the ball over the bar from close in, and it was Salisbury who finished the first period the stronger when Herbert got round the back of the home defence and pulled the ball back to Whelan, who will not have been best pleased by his moon-bound finish.

As if the game were not already practically all over, Salisbury rubbed salt into home wounds two minutes into the second half when a Herbert shot was blocked by a defender, the ball falling obligingly to Chris Shephard whose left foot finish gave home keeper Hutchings no chance, and after Herbert himself had hit the side netting after receiving a ball from Shephard, Salisbury's fourth arrived just before the hour. A Shephard free-kick much like the one he scored late on at Kings Langley did the job, and for the benefit of those of you who may have missed both, this one was another firm shot which left the goalkeeper with no alternative other than to stand back and admire as the ball went in the top corner.

ShepChris Shephard's finish, and then his teammates flock in celebration. - ©Michael Berkeley

On 66 minutes Hallett had his first serious action when he blocked out Ben Seymour in a one-on-one, but at the other end shortly afterwards, Whelan and Benson caused havoc with the latter squaring the ball fiercely across the face of goal, nearly netted by a home defender.

With twenty minutes remaining Benson’s corner to the far post found Luke Hopper who missed a relatively easy header, possibly because Partridge partially impeded him in also trying to get on the end of the delivery, and though there was really no pressure to add to their tally, the Whites still threatened as they had done throughout, and on 79 minutes Whelan again got into the area but was denied by a great save from Hutchings..

The last word however came from the home side when, with 9 minutes remaining, they scored a late consolation, out of the blue. I had just remarked that a rare clean sheet would be good, and lo and behold, Billy Lowes blasted a rising rocket shot to behold, from just outside the box, giving Hallett no chance.

In spite of that blot it was still great to pick up the three points which guarantee our place in the play-offs. Speculation as to our final position there though must have everyone looking at our fixtures and those of other contenders, and after doing that it should be clear that everything, apart from the virtually impossible champions spot, is still possible.

There must be no slipups against so-called “lesser" teams, starting with our next league game against Walton Casuals who inflicted a 3-1 defeat on us at their place on plastic in September. The game against Gosport Borough (enough said) threw up the possibility then that we might see ex-Salisbury Matt Tubbs make a cameo appearance, but it is very likely that next Saturday we will see another ex, Taurean Roberts, make perhaps more than that against us. In their position just above the drop zone, Walton will be anything but casual in their approach, so the game will not be straightforward. However, with the kind of support shown at Dorchester today there should be every chance of adding three to the points total.

Oh, and talking about difficult games, Wednesday’s Wilts Senior Cup final against Swindon Supermarine (7-45pm) also qualifies, as they of course inflicted a rare defeat on Met Police today.

Games and types of games are like buses, but I don’t know of a good bus service to Melksham, so please try and make it anyway by whatever means.

Dorchester Town: Hutchings, Egan, Martin (Granger 84), Rose, Walker, Kite, Rodriguez (Panesar-Dower 68), Lowes, Seymour, Diaz, Blair (Jackson 68).
Subs not used: Winsper, Latham.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Herbert, Sommerton, Whelan, Partridge, Downing, Dawson, Mullings, Fitchett (Hopper 60), Shephard (Young 60), Benson.
All subs used.

Attendance: 607 Refeeree: Criag Scriven (Wedmore)

Whites' second, and two in two games for Claudio.