Dorchester Match Report
1:35am, Sun 28th Feb 2010
Dorchester Town 1 Woking 1
Blue Square South
27th February 2010
Given the Cards recent run of poor form, I suspect most fans, like manager Graham Baker, would have taken a point from this fixture beforehand. However, having taken the lead with an excellent Nathaniel Pinney strike seven minutes from time, only to concede an equaliser minutes later, from a free-kick some thirty five yards out, the overwhelming post-match feeling is one of disappointment, the Cards having relinquished two valuable points which would have put them firmly back in the hunt for one of those much cherished play-off spots.
Following the Cards heavy defeat at home to Welling, not surprisingly Graham Baker made several changes to the team. There were recalls for Jon Boardman who replaced Ricky Anane, with Tony Sinclair moving over to right back, Sam Sloma (who came in for his first start this year) to fill the berth on the left of midfield and Delano Sam-Yorke who took Matthew Wrightâ€™s place in attack alongside Nathaniel Pinney. Moses Ademola was also consigned to the bench, and to accommodate Slomaâ€™s return, Giuseppe Sole slotted into his role wide right, in a four-man midfield.
With the pitch looking on the heavy side and resembling something of a ploughed field even after the playersâ€™ warm up, it was no surprise that the first half was rather devoid of any free-flowing attacking football from either side. Early on, with his strength and pace, Pinney looked the most potent outlet for the Cards and he came very close to opening the scoring after twelve minutes. Collecting the ball with his back to goal, he adroitly turned his marker, strode on purposefully and, from just outside the box, hit a low shot that went agonisingly just past the post.
Next it was the home sideâ€™s turn to exert some pressure and Ross Worner had to be at his alert best to parry away a fierce drive from just outside the box. Moments later, Dorchester came even closer to scoring when another piledriver, again from outside the area, flashed inches past the upright following a half-cleared corner.
After the opening skirmishes, neither side was able to gain any real ascendancy, and it took the Cards thirty five minutes before they got their first corner. Although it came to nothing, shortly afterwards the Cards almost took the lead. A long-range Jamie Hand pass found Pinney lurking out wide on the right, and his dangerous cross found Sam Sloma, whose deflected volley went just over.
Minutes later, Sam Sloma again came desperately close to putting the Cards ahead, when his looping header looked to have found its way into the top corner, only for Regan Coward to somehow desperately claw it away.
Half-time Dorchester 0 - Woking 0
Neither side made any changes during the break, and five minutes into the second half, the Cards missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring. Jamie Hand found himself just outside the box and played a clever inside pass to Sloma, who showed quick feet to go past his man and the keeper, only for his low shot to fly agonisingly across the goal, with both Delano and Pinney inches away from being able to get a final touch to turn the ball into the empty net.
The longer the half progressed, the more possession the Cards enjoyed and in the seventy fourth minute Pinney again came close, when Sloma played him in and his hard, low drive forced Coward to parry the ball round the post.
Just when it was looking as though the Cards were beginning to wear Dorchester down, the home side almost took the lead following some clever play from Mark Jermyn. Receiving the ball just outside the Cardsâ€™ area, he somehow scooped it over a defender and found himself in space, bearing down on Ross Worner. However, thankfully, Mark Ricketts, eagled-eyed as ever when it comes to spotting danger or getting in a vital interception, came to the Cardsâ€™ rescue with a magnificent last-ditch tackle and, from the rebound, Hutchinson managed to scramble the ball away to safety. There then followed a further moment of anxiety for all Cardsâ€™ fans because Ross Worner was injured following that attack (and there was no reserve keeper on the bench) and required lengthy treatment before, thankfully, being able to continue, much to everyoneâ€™s relief.
Any disappointment expressed following the introduction of Moses Ademola for Giuseppe Sole, quickly turned to shouts of joy when the Cards took the lead in the eighty third minute, courtesy of an excellent strike from the ever-dangerous Pinney. Timing his run to perfection, he was played in by an inch-perfect pass from Ademola. Using his pace, he bore down on goal and, although his touch seemed to have taken him a little wide, without hesitating or pausing he looked up and drilled his shot low and hard across the keeper into the far corner of the net for a superb finish.
Surely having scored so late on, and with Dorchester looking increasingly second best, the Cards would be able to hold out and claim all three points for the first time in five matches? Unfortunately not, with Dorchester equalising in the eighty seventh, and what a soft goal it was to concede. The home side were awarded a slightly contentious free-kick some thirty five yards out and the full back Ryan Hill made his intentions very clear, with a run up that a fast bowler would have been proud of. Whether it was down to an absence of concentration or communication, there appeared to be a complete lack of awareness about what was going to happen, and the Cards paid the price for this, when, from distance, Hill having been given a free shot on goal due to the lack of any meaningful wall being in place, curled his low shot into the corner with Worner well beaten.
Despite picking up a point, due to the manner and timing of the goal, there was a feeling of disappointment when the referee blew the final whistle. Graham Baker had clearly set the team up today to be more rigid and resolute and to not concede goals, and until we let in that late equaliser, his plan almost paid off. Only the other day, Thurrockâ€™s manager had said that Dorchester were one of the best sides theyâ€™d played, so gaining a point was probably no disgrace, particularly taking account of our recent results. Other positives to take from the game were that we battled hard, we were competitive, Pinney looked sharp and Mark Ricketts lasted ninety minutes.
Dorchester Town. Coward; Hill, Critchell, Jermyn, Walker, Hill, Crittended, Coutts, Byerley (Moss), Groves, Devlin. Substitutes (unused) Martin, Nodwell, Gleeson, Charles.
Woking. Worner; Sinclair, Thomas, Ricketts, Hutchinson, Boardman, Sole (Ademola) , Hand, Sam-Yorke, Pinney (Wright), Sloma. Substitutes (unused) Maledon, Nicolau and McNerney.
MOTM. Mark Ricketts. The Cards â€˜Mr Consistencyâ€™ who again demonstrated today why heâ€™s such an integral and important member of the team. As ever, he patrolled the midfield area, winning important tackles, winning second balls and kept us ticking over.