Tuesday, 20 February 2007

17/02/2007 - Dorchester Town 1 Basingstoke Town 2

The trip from our campsite in Wareham to Dorchester was an absolute 20-minute doddle, the weather was good and there was none of the trepidation experienced on the previous rain-lashed journey to Eastleigh or the rained-out disappoinment of an aborted midweek visit to Sherborne.

On the way we saw the lads of Bere Regis warming up for a Dorset League Division One match against Cranborne (1-1 apparently) as we slipped around the town's by-pass with bigger fish to fry in the Conference South.

The approaches to the Avenue Stadium in Dorchester are through a Tesco car park and indeed the supermarket giant was apparently responsible for the stadium development which is a magnificent edifice in keeping with the surroundings.

Parking on the far side of the ground near the terraces entrance we walked around to the imposing stadium front and slipped into the bar for a little light refreshment and to study the programme with an hour to spare before kick off.

Once into the stadium we opted to stand rather than sit and were joined by two banks of vociferous supporters - both home and away - who initially were standing at the same end.

Indeed the stewards had to marshal the Basingstoke fans away after kick off as the friendly banter started to degenerate into ritual abuse, but the 'Stoke fans were content to disperse to the other end of the arena in order to give the home keeper some stick instead.

There is no doubt that the Conference South can provide some half decent football, unfortunately the match which unfolded in front of us was the other half, as both teams struggled to make any real impact in dominance or goal threat.

Dorchester - the Magpies - had the best of the first half but spurned the chances which they managed to craft and I contented myself with trying to get a few elusive good action shots.

Into the second half after a bacon roll which could well have been a slice of shoe leather, and a hot chocolate which was all hot and no chocolate.

Not five minutes after I'd mentioned to my Dad that we could do with a goal - an away one at that - and my wish was granted.

Basingstoke had been soaking up the pressure and hitting Dorchester with a couple of neat counter attacks and this was the case as they took the lead midway through the second half.

The Dorchester faithful started moaning and groaning and calling for changes and the Magpies swiftly made a double substitution which bore fruit, when one of the men who came on was brought down outside the box.

The resulting free kick was whipped in and fumbled by the Basingstoke keeper with a Magpie forward gobbling up the rebound.

But just as the game looked as if it would peter out as a one-all draw, Basingstoke pulled off the best passing move of the match to grab an all important winner.

Three crucial points heading back to Hampshire which sees Basingstoke now within one win of escaping the drop zone.