DORCHESTER TOWN 1
Knowles 15, Symons 40
A SPECTACULAR strike from Tom Bath was not enough to prise a point from Weston-super-Mare at the Clayson Stadium during a 2-1 BetVictor Souther Premier South loss.
The Seagulls struck first with Christopher Knowles opening the scoring with a 25-yard shot which beat Magpies’ keeper Shane Murphy.
That lead lasted three minutes until Emile Ngoy slipped a pass inside to Bath who struck a fierce effort into the far corner from 30 yards.
But Dorchester fell behind again to what proved to be the winning goal as Michael Symons showed great agility to turn on the edge of the six-yard box and squeeze a low shot past Murphy and his near post and into the opposite corner.
The Magpies were unable to haul themselves level a second time but did not look in danger of conceding a deluge of goals as they did in the away fixture in October which Weston won 6-0.
Tom Blair boosted the Magpies’ own strike threat on his return from a seven-match ban although he also managed to pick up his 13th booking of the season for a 56th-minute foul on Samuel Hendy.
Before the match, Neil Martin was presented with a silver salver by chairman Scott Symes in recognition of the 400th appearance he was about to make for the Magpies.
He was also gifted a yellow card by match referee Shane Mansfield for dissent following the award of a free-kick to Weston for his challenge deemed unfair.
Skipper Franklyn Clarke completed a trio of cautioned Dorchester players from a starting line-up that did not include new signing Jordan Rogers who was joined on the bench by Nick Hutchings, Ben Rowthorn and Harry Gardner. With Tom Purrington having returned to parent club Plymouth Argyle, Jack Torniainen was recalled to the starting line-up.
Isaac Pearce was a last-minute inclusion to the visitors’ starting line-up replacing Bradley Ash but settled quickly into his stride – his first contribution being a fourth-minute low drive wide.
James Waite could not steer his first goal attempt toward goal while Nick McCootie brought the first save of the game from Murphy who dived to his left to push aside his shot.
Weston’s first goal arrived on 15 minutes when Pearce and Scott Laird combined to set up Knowles who let fly from 25 yards and his shot flew past Murphy.
Weston’s lead lasted just three minutes until Ngoy spotted Bath in space to his left and Dorchester’s leading scorer equalised with a spectacular long-range strike.
The Seagulls swooped into attack again and McCootie’s deflected cross-shot skimmed the crossbar. The resultant corner from Pearce was cleared by Tiago Sa.
A fine double save by Murphy twice denied Waite while Sa delivered a promising cross which was plucked from the air by Weston keeper Luke Purnell. The Waite free-kick that followed Martin’s caution deflected wide off Clarke while a close-range header from Weston’s Laird was saved by Murphy.
Blair almost made a dream return to the side when he cut in from the left and curled a low shot from 20 yards which bounced off the foot of the post. A Pearce free-kick found Laird whose shot deflected to safety off Martin.
There seemed to be little imminent danger when Symons had the ball at his feet on the left edge of Dorchester’s six-yard box but a quick turn coupled with a firm and accurate low drive unlocked Murphy’s net for the second time.
Symons went close to adding a third but was denied by Murphy at his near post while at the other end Blair set up Sa who produced a stunning dipping volley which was superbly tipped over by Purnell.
In first-half stoppage time, Waite broke through but again Murphy proved a formidable last line of defence.
For the Magpies, the second half did not live up to the promise of the first half as Weston largely contained their strike threat.
An early Blair centre eluded Ngoy while another flew behind Bath and Jamie Laird. Martin was on hand to block an effort from Knowles while McCootie’s cross found that Symons had strayed into an offside position as did Ngoy when Nathan Walker delivered a promising centre.
From a Symons cross, Samuel Hendy had a shot deflected for a corner which was delivered by Pearce and punched clear by Murphy.
Rogers came off the bench to make a 63rd-minute debut replacing Ngoy while Dorchester’s claims for a 70th-minute penalty were waved aside when Bath went down under pressure from Aaron Parsons.
Another Waite effort flew wide in the 85th minute. The Iast chance for Dorchester fell to their skipper, Clarke, whose long range strike was gathered by Purnell.
With the final whistle nearing, Murphy again thwarted Waite at the near post as Weston comfortably saw out the four minutes of added time.
Magpies: Murphy, Torniainen, Sa, Laird, Walker, Martin, Wright (Rowthorn 79), Clarke, Bath, Ngoy (Rogers 63), Blair (Gardner 74). Sub not used: Hutchings.
Weston: Purnell, Goodall, Laird (Griffith 74), Knowles, Parsons, Tindle, McCootie (Jones 79), Hendy, Symons, Waite, Pearce (Llewellyn 77). Subs not used: Welch, Eastwood.
Referee: Shane Mansfield (Chippenham)
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