Shep to the rescue for Terras as points shared in Boxing Day derby
MARK Jermyn and Nick Crittenden’s final game at the helm of Dorchester Town ended in a 1-1 draw against arch rivals Weymouth at the Avenue.
In front of a bumper crowd of 2,033, Nathan Walker’s first-half penalty looked to be the difference maker for the home side before a sublime strike from Chris Shephard on the hour mark left both teams taking home a point apiece.
The result means the Magpies stay five points ahead of the Terras in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division, although Jason Matthews’ Terras have played six games fewer than their Dorset counterparts.
The big team news for Dorchester ahead of kick-off was the return of Franklyn Clarke to the starting XI, just a month after having his appendix taken out.
Clarke, the derby hero for the Magpies at the Bob Lucas Stadium last Boxing Day, was listed in the starting line-up alongside Yeovil loanee Ollie Bassett, who was featuring in the final game of his loan spell at the club from Yeovil.
Dorchester’s Matt Oldring was suspended – Jermyn and Crittenden were named on the bench in their last game.
For the Terras, there was a return for Chris Shephard and Ashley Wells from illness and Jake Wannell from a calf injury – the latter came back in to replace Stephane Zubar, who was serving a one-match ban.
The first nervy moment of the contest came on just three minutes. After a frenetic start, Walker played a routine pass back to Magpies’ keeper Shane Murphy.
After a poor first touch, he almost gift wrapped the opening goal to Weymouth’s Stuart Fleetwood but eventually managed to hack the ball away.
After that, it was the home side who tried to impose themselves on the game. A ball from the left was picked up by Bassett at the back post, he cut it back to Clarke on the edge of the box, who saw the first shot of the contest charged down.
At the other end, it was then Weymouth keeper Tom McHale’s turn to show his nerves on the derby stage. He sliced a routine pass to nobody, but luckily for him, was under no pressure and could pick the ball up again.
With not a lot of quality on show in the opening 15 minutes, chances then came at either end.
Dorchester’s Ben Wood was played through against his former club and, after cutting inside, saw his effort blocked by Calvin Brooks.
At the other end, Jordan Copp got down the left and delivered for Shephard, whose strike was charged down by Nathan Walker.
The game’s first booking then came as boyhood Dorchester fan Tom Blair got a little carried away and fouled Terras’ full-back Mark Cooper. Weymouth’s Dean Evans was then cautioned for dissent after pulling back Lewis Morgan in the middle of the park.
Two chances then fell to the away side to break the deadlock in a matter of minutes. Ben Thomson forced Murphy into a save at full stretch diving to his left, before Fleetwood’s quick feet in the box created him a shooting chance in which he hit the side netting.
But it was the Magpies who took the lead in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half. Superb work from Blair down the right allowed him to beat Cooper and square to Morgan.
Looking to get past his man, Morgan went down under a challenge by Brooks inside the area and referee Scott Jackson pointed directly to the spot.
Up stepped Walker, who held his nerve to slot home – he then made his way to Jermyn on the bench to celebrate.
Following the break, the home side had two big chances to double their advantage.
Bassett skipped past Wells on the left and rolled the ball to Clarke. The former York City man struck a sweet drive at goal which squirmed through McHale’s gloves and just over the bar.
Clarke then held the ball up for the hosts to play in Bassett once again, he worked McHale at his near post and the keeper stood firm.
But, with the Magpies on top, the Terras then got back in it on the hour mark. A neat move on the right was capped off by Shephard, who worked his way into the box and bent a sublime effort past Murphy and into the top corner for 1-1.
Looking for a second, Fleetwood and Shephard then combined for the Terras to set Copp free, he forced a sharp stop from Murphy.
That came before Crittenden was introduced for his final appearance for the Magpies, he replaced winger Blair with just more than 20 minutes left.
But it was then Thomson’s turn to try and win it for the visitors and spoil an emotional day for the Magpies. He raced through and powered an effort on the angle, but it was well beaten away.
Jermyn then introduced himself for the last time in his tenure at the club as he came on to replace Walker, who appeared to be suffering with a calf problem.
Weymouth threw on Conor Jevon and Stewart Yetton late on in a bid to find a winner but, deep into stoppage time, a last-ditch challenge from Jermyn meant both sides were left to settle for a point.
A guard of honour was given to the departing duo at the final whistle, as well as skipper Jake Smeeton, who Echosport understands is leaving to sign for Poole Town.