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TIGHT GAME SEES PARLEY COME OUT VICTORS
WAREHAM RANGERS 0—3 PARLEY SPORTS
It was Parley Sports who came out on top in what was an incredibly equal game, which was not reflected in the score line. Wareham kept the ball well and looked comfortable in possession, whilst Parley similarly was able to match the good football coming from the home side. Adam Morgan made his return after an earlier injury in the season, but found him with little to do in the first half. Nevertheless, his quick distribution provided a vast improvement and was what the Rangers had been lacking. Approaching the half time, the scores were even at 0 - 0 with both teams still lacking the edge to break their opponents. As the second half began both teams continued their good passages of play, with Wareham seeming to have had the best chance to score when a blistering shot from Birchy resulted in the ball ricocheting off the bar. However, Wareham’s inability to finish on the day proved to be their biggest shortcoming, with Parley ultimately being the more clinical side in front of goal. After falling behind to Parley’s Kieran Douglas, the home side began showing cracks in their football and shortly following the first goal, conceded another due to a blunder from the defence. Wareham showed signs of a comeback with a few chances, but it seemed not to be their day after a goal was disallowed for being offside. Yet, Parley went all the way to punish their opposition’s lacklustre finishing and scored the third goal of the game, sealing what would seem a very flattering result for the away side.
ALL LEVEL AT RALEIGH GROVE
SHERBORNE TOWN RESERVES 1—1 HAMWORTHY RECREATION
In the first game-week of the year, both teams produced an entertaining end-to-end encounter. Hamworthy started the game with slick passing and they began to look dangerous in front of goal, but the safe hands of the Sherborne goalkeeper Mark Cuff protected the home-side goal well. Sherborne were reduced to rare breakaway attacks against a well drilled Hamworthy backline as they looked to play counter-attacking football. The best chance of the first half to break the deadlock fell to the Hamworthy centre half Scott Logan, whose point-blank header was well collected by Cuff. 0 - 0 at half time. Both teams sensed that this was a game which would be won by a single goal, and Sherborne rallied together and went close when substitute Aaron March fired just past the post. The deadlock was finally broken just before the hour mark, when a Hamworthy free-kick just outside the penalty area was deflected past a helpless Cuff in goal. Seconds later March had two golden chances to equal the score, but at both opportunities he fell short. The visitors were denied a penalty claim at seventy minutes by referee Tony Jacobs, who had great game by allowing the game to flow. Sherborne levelled the score four minutes later when Romanian Alexandru Stafie held off two defenders to get through on goal and score. In the last ten minutes of the game chances fell to steal the points by both teams, but at the final whistle the home team were grateful with a point, while Hamworthy were left frustrated they didn’t claim all three.
DORCHESTER TAKE THREE POINTS AS VISITORS
STURMINSTER NEWTON 1—3 DORCHESTER SPORTS
The Sports boys heroically came away from Barnett’s Field with all three points, and Sturminster will be pondering over how many chances they squandered during the match, with Sports goalkeeper making four good saves to ensure his team’s victory. In typical fashion for the first game after the festive period, it took at least a few minutes for both teams to find where their feet were. Sturminster were the ones to take lead after only seven minutes, when a shot from Elliott Eavis found the top corner of the net. Dorchester slowly found their way back into the game and got the equaliser on the twenty-first minute, when a cross from the right fell nicely for their striker Jordan Butler to slot into the bottom corner. That wasn’t enough for Dorchester though as they, high on morale, found the net a second time only five minutes later, with Richard Beasley being the scorer. A corner was won and the ball was whipped in and headed back out, but only as far as a Sports player who smashed it back across the Sturminster six-yard box, agonisingly hitting the post before ending up behind the goal. 1 – 2 at half time. The second half was much the same with Dorchester choosing to attack with a high-pressing game, and they proved very threatening on the counter attack. They managed to score their third of the game after fifty-five minutes to seal the game through Butler, but if all chances were taken by both sides then this would've been an even more eventful game with goals everywhere.
SPORTS CONTROL FIRST GAME BACK
MERE TOWN 0—1 WESTLAND SPORTS
Westland Sports kicked off the New Year in good fashion, taking the three points as they beat Mere Town 1 - 0 away from home in the Dorset Premier League. On a testing pitch Sports rode their luck in the first half when the woodwork came to their aid twice to deny Mere a goal. Likewise, Westlands had their moments with the Mere keeper pulling off two outstanding saves, but they were happy to come in at the break still on level terms. Westlands upped it a gear in the second half and soon took the lead with Henry Lawrence-Napier turning in a low Leo Hayward cross from close range only three minutes into the second half. That took the sting out the opposition a bit and Sports controlled the game well from then on. Nevertheless, at 1 - 0 it’s always a game in the balance and the home team never gave up until the end, making it a rather tense finish, although ultimately a loss for the home side.
COBHAM OPEN NEW YEAR IN FASHION
MERLEY COBHAM SPORTS 8—1 CRANBORNE
Merley started strongly, going 1 - 0 up against bottom-of-the-table Cranborne through Matt Groves after five minutes, and they kept up the pressure. Wave after wave of attacks followed, with the Cranborne keeper pulling off some superb saves to keep his side in range of an equaliser. With half time looming, Cranborne themselves forced two excellent stops from Aaron Drayton in the Merley goal, before managing to level the game up after catching Merley on the break, with Sam Wrixon scoring for the visitors. Merley started the second half well, but it wasn't until the hour mark that they got themselves back in front, with Groves again the scorer for Merley. Groves didn't wait long before completing his hat trick only five minutes later. With Merley’s passing game now tearing Cranborne open, more goals followed in quick succession, two from Asa Phillips and one from Josh Pickering, who’s cheeky chip over the keeper found itself into the goal with ten minutes to go. In-form Groves slotted home his fourth of the day and Merley’s seventh, before Lee Wilkins finished the rout with Merley’s final goal in injury time.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE GIVES HOLT THE VICTORY
HOLT UNITED 5—1 HAMWORTHY UNITED
Holt started the New Year with a convincing win against a youthful Hamworthy side at home as they took their first three points of the year. The scoring was opened after just 12 minutes when Mike Haskell headed home from a Nathan Saxby corner, and Saxby was then the heart of the second goal, providing it only five minutes later when his cross was met by Charlie Gajic who tapped home from six yards out. Hamworthy continued to try and play their passing style of football, and they were finally rewarded after twenty minutes of play when a lapse in concentration from the Holt midfield allowed a visiting player to pick up the ball and fool the goalie with his neat finish to make it 2 – 1 for the end of the first half. It was nearly level just two minutes into the second half when Chalkley had a second chance to bring Hamworthy back into it, however he struck the bar from twenty-five yards out. Holt then knew they had to step it up a gear if they wanted to win this game and not get caught on the back foot. This is what they did when Sonny Wilkinson crossed a peach in for Gajic to head home. He then completed his hat trick with fifteen minutes to go after scrambling the ball into the net following a well-worked corner. Mike Haskell finished off the scoring after a decent move down the left and when Paul Lane had his shot saved, Haskell was there to tap it home. A decent performance from Holt who didn’t give up, when they looked like they were going to throw away their lead.
BLANDFORD END SWANAGES WINNING RUN
BLANDFORD UNITED 3 – 1 SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON
Swanage visited Blandford Rec for their first game of the year, hoping to pick up where they left off from before the winter break. However, they were facing in-form opponents, and ultimately went home empty-handed. Mark Ford gave Blandford their first goal of the game, and super-subs Luke Crane and Joe Wells added to the scoresheet with only five minutes of play to go, respectively scoring in the eighty-fifth and ninetieth minutes. Graham Rose managed to find the net for Swanage, but Blandford’s late resurgence won them the three points. However, Swanage still find themselves in a good position in the league table, despite the loss.
BALTI STAY TOP OF THE TABLE
BALTI SPORTS 5 – 0 BRIDPORT RESERVES
Balti won their fixture against Bridport at home in comfortable style as they netted five past the mid-table team to retain the top spot of the table.
HAMWORTHY TAKE A HAMMERING
HAMWORTHY UTD RES 1—6 WAREHAM RANGERS
It didn’t take long for away side Wareham Rangers to get out the block in this midseason clash. Both sides came into the game at the bottom side of the table, looking to prove themselves. Wareham were on top form and took a 2-0 lead after only fifteen minutes. It was Joshua Hewson who bagged the early goals, with two clinical sharp finishes. On for his hat-trick, the Wareham man continued his tenacity, proving a real menace for the home sides defence. However, it was Michael white whose name was on the score sheet next, executing a brilliant well taken shot. Chris Wood was able to make it 5-0 just before the half time whistle, snapping two goals in quick succession. Hamworthy’s shaky first half caused the home side manager to make three changes, resulting in an uplifting improvement to the trailing team. Hamworthy were able to start creating chances, but the Wareham goalie’s form proved to be to imperishable as no shot could get past him. Despite the massive improvement in the second half, it was the home team who found themselves on the back foot once again, with a fourth goal scorer for Wareham in Lee Monk. However, it wasn’t all misery for Hamworthy, as 18-year-old Sam Lench was able to grab his team a consolation goal in the final minutes of the game.
PARLEY PUT ON MASTERCLASS
PARLEY SPORTS 6 – 3 BLANDFORD UNITED
The two mid-tabled sides met at Parley Sports Club for the clash in the league, and the home side took no time to get into gear as Mike La Ronde got himself onto the scoresheet after only two minutes with an across-goal shot that found its way past the keeper following a smooth move John Cook, Ben Bosley and Bradley Kendrick. However, Blandford found themselves back in the game less than ten minutes later when lax defending offered Mark Ford a chance at goal for Blandford, which he took – rounding Parley keeper Sam Jones and calmly slotting into an open net to equalise At the half-hour moment, Daniel Vater put the away side in front as he made the score line 2 – 1 going into half time for the visitors. Bouncing back ten minutes into the second period of play, substitute Adam Trimble played in La Ronde who calmly finished for his second of the game. Firmly in control, La Ronde completed his hatrick only three minutes later with a well-placed header from Jason Britton’s cross as he put his side back in front. The game was tight for the next spell of play, with the game open and ready to be taken by either side, but Parley finally found a way through and extended the lead on the seventy-eighth minute, with Kieran Douglas powering a headed effort into the top corner, this time from a Dan Hiscock corner. The assister turned goal-scorer only two minutes later, as Hiscock latched onto a rebounded effort to make it five for the home side. All pressure was piling down on Blandford as Parley kept on coming, and managed to force another rebound out of the Blandford keeper, which Bosley connected to and made the score line 6 – 2 going into the final ten minutes of play. With less than five minutes remaining, Ford hit a brilliant effort, volleying the ball as it drops over his shoulder into the top corner from thirty yards, but it was merely a consolation goal as the home side ran out victors in a high-tempo 6 – 3 win.
BALTI KEEP LEAD WITH STURDY DEFENCE
GILLINGHAM TOWN RESERVES 0 – 1 BALTI SPORTS
In difficult conditions Gillingham hosted Balti Sports for the return league fixture, and it was a tough game with a bittersweet result for both sides. The game started brightly for Gillingham with an Elliot Bevis shot deflected onto the crossbar, but after ten minutes the closely fought contest opened up as a Balti player was played a ball through the Gillingham defence, and he rounded the stranded goalkeeper well to slot the ball into an empty net for the first and only goal of the game. The remainder of the first half saw Balti dominate, happy to sit on the ball and attacking a resolute Gillingham rear-guard who were happy to make it to the break with only one goal down. Unfortunately, Balti Sports were not so lucky, as they returned to the changing rooms without their keeper, who was injured when he came out to deal with a Gillingham attack. The second half saw a revitalised home side which looked to stretch the Balti defence and create gaps, who were also down a man to injury early in the second half. However, Balti’s defence was stubborn and didn’t let them through. The introduction of substitutes for both sides, both due to injury and rotation, ensured the game kept a high tempo and never stood still. Both teams traded chances – the post was struck, a penalty appeal was turned down, and a goalmouth scramble or two punctured the tense battle for the win. However, Gillingham couldn’t be clinical and a clear chance in the last ten minutes went wanting after it was merely struck at the keeper. Balti ran out 1 – 0 winners to cement their place at the top of the league and Gillingham were left to consider themselves a unlucky, not capitalising on the few chances afforded to them by Balti Sports. However injuries to key Balti players may have an impact over the coming weeks, whilst Gillingham will look to build on this performance, if not the result, after the enforced months break. For Balti, it was the kind of result you need to grind out if you want to be in first place at the end of the season.
CRANBORNE CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE
CRANBORNE 1—3 WESTLAND SPORTS
For the first time this season Cranborne were able to field a designated goalkeeper in Conner Jordan, which paid dividends after previously-used stand-in keeper Adam Beattie gave the home side a lead, a rarity for Cranborne. Westlands did not take long to equalise the game when Henry Lawrence-Napier found space to score from close range after twelve minutes, though, and Cranborne’s impressive start was quickly diminished as Westlands then took the lead only a minute after equalising. Cranborne were forced in to two unfortunate early substitutions, when both Adam Long and Rob Moore both picked up knee injuries. Westlands continued to shade possession and increased their lead, finishing the game off before the half time, ending it at 1 – 3.
SPORTS FIND LATE WINNER IN TIGHT GAME
DORCHESTER SPORTS 3—2 HAMWORTHY RECREATION
Sports haven’t managed to score the first goal in their last six games, and it was no change when Hamworthy Recreation settled the quicker and it was James Osbourne, unmarked in the box, who headed into the corner to give the away side the lead. Unfortunately, Sports soon after lost in-form Richard Beasley to an ankle injury, which pushed Darren Webb further forward. It was Webb’s cross that found new-man Hills on the edge of the box who equalised on his debut. 1 – 1 at half time. The second half started with the visitors yet again on top, and they again took the lead when a deflected shot looped over keeper Sam Turner only five minutes into the second half. The visitors could have sealed the game off, but they missed a one-on-one from close range and Jamie Symes cleared a shot off the line with his head to keep the score the same. Sports kept pushing and should have equalised, but Luke Gatehouse blasted over. The game changed when a Hamworthy Rec player was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident, and Sports used their man advantage and equalised in the seventy-second minute when Hills’ pass found Symes, who put away his fourteenth goal of the season. Sports soon found a winner with ten minutes to go when Jamie Samways’ free kick fell to Amor in the box, and the Sports captain tucked his first goal of the season into the corner to win it for Sports. Sports man Samways was sent off for a second yellow card with two minutes to go, but they held on for the vital three points.
STUR SEAL OUT SHERBORNE
STURMINSTER NEWTON 3 – 2 SHERBORNE TOWN RES
The Cherries took all 3 points in this hard fought typical local derby. Stur started the better and took the lead on 7 mins with a well taken goal from Ollie Gittins. Sturminster pressed for more goals but failed to convert their chances. This allowed Sherborne to get a foothold in the game and they equalised just before half time. The second half was much of the same from both sides but it was Sturminster who again took the lead on 50 minutes when Tom Carter went through one on one with the Sherborne goalkeeper and he rounded him before slotting the ball into the back of the net. This spurred Sturminster on and they got their 3rd when neat footwork from Elliott Eavis found Ollie Gittins to tuck away his second of the game to give Sturminster a 2 goal advantage. That 2 goal advantage was short lived when on 58 minutes when Sherborne were awarded a penalty after a foul from Darren Spiller. Sturminster goalkeeper Chris Frear got his body to it but couldn’t stop it going in the net. Sturminster held on to win the game 3-2 and claim all 3 points.
TITLE-CHASERS HOLT TAKE IMPORTANT POINTS
BRIDPORT RESERVES 0 – 1 HOLT UNITED
In their bid for the championship, Holt United came away from Bridport with all three points. The home side may have felt that they could take more from the match, but it would have to take more from them to pierce the best defence in the league.
BALTI TOO HOT FOR SWANS
BALTI SPORTS 4 SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON 1
BALTI Sports extended their lead at the top of the Dorset Premier League to nine points after an impressive 4-1 victory at home against Swanage. The title hopefuls knew ahead of kick-off that closest challengers Holt United had their home game against Wareham Rangers postponed and took full advantage by toppling the Swans at Weymouth College. But boss Marco Nott was the first to admit that, despite the scoreline, Swanage put up a real fight in the opening period. “They were all over us really,” the Balti boss said when describing the contest. “They put a lot of pressure on us but they never really had a cutting edge. We were never in real danger of conceding in the first half.” Having absorbed some pressure for the first 15 minutes, Balti’s first goal came from a set-piece. Dan Welch flicked the ball on for Ricky Lane to back heel into the net for 1-0. The Swans surged forward and dominated possession again for the next 15 minutes but it was Balti who added a second on the break. Josh Houghton bulldozed his way through the visiting defence and applied a neat finish to put Balti well in the box seat. And it was 3-0 right before half-time when Houghton smashed the ball home from a corner to all but seal the game before the break. You could tell their heads dropped when our third goal went in because there was no doubt about it, they were definitely the better team but we counter-attacked really well,” Nott added. Balti wrapped the game up with a fourth on the hour mark. With the Swans’ keeper injured and a replacement in goal, an own goal from the visitors on 65 minutes sealed the contest for the home side. Swanage did score a late consolation goal late on through Adam Richards, but it was not to matter, as Balti ran out comfortable winners. Nott added: “To be fair to Swanage, they kept going at us right until the end. They are a very good outfit, there is no doubt about that. “Obviously with a few games getting called off we said to the lads beforehand it was our chance to go nine points clear. I know other teams have games in hand but it puts an added pressure on them.” Report Courtesy of the DORSET ECHO
CHERRIES PIP PARLEY
PARLEY SPORTS 1 STURMINSTER NEWTON 2
Parley dominated the opening half hour with Ben Bosley and Matt Newbery putting free headers over and wide of the target. Newbery also hit the bar with a cross shot. However Stur found themselves ahead with their first shot on target with Callum Frampton turning in a long throw on 42. Still Parley could have equalised before half time as the Stur keeper touched a Newbery effort onto the post and made a fine block from a Ben Bosley shot. On 57 Sam Stockley poked home from close range following a scramble in the Parley box. Parley piled on the pressure as the game progressed, Bosley having header cleared off the line. Sam Jones scuffed a goal kick on the difficult, partially frozen surface but made a fine recovery 1 on 1 save from the Stur number 10. Jones made amends soon after, his goal kick flicked on by Bosley and Newbery found the net with a stunning 20 yard volley. Parley pressed for the equaliser but it never came as it ended 1 – 2
GILLS HAMMER THE HAMMERS
GILLINGHAM TOWN RES 5 HAMWORTHY UTD RES 1
For the second week running, Hardings Lane hosted a DPL game, whilst others fell foul of the weather. Whilst conditions underfoot were not ideal, they were playable and it is a credit to both teams that despite some tricky moments, a good entertaining game was played to its conclusion, with Gillingham coming out worthy winners. The game started brightly for Gillingham, taking the game to Hamworthy, however after five minutes, the first Hamworthy attack under the shadow of the stand and the semi-frozen section of the pitch, ensured a couple of slips in the Gillingham defence, a shot on goal, a ricochet off the keeper into the onrushing defender, which saw the ball loop agonisingly over the line. Advantage Hamworthy, slightly against the run of play. Whilst both teams battled well Gillingham dominated possession with Hamworthy happy to defend, but counter attack swiftly. There was little action that threatened either goalmouth, a couple of bookings per side, which may have been attributed to the conditions, led to the half-time score giving the visitors the goal advantage. The second half saw Gillingham with the benefit of the slope and they took full advantage, Elliot Bevis, who had threatened to escape the Hamworthy defence most of the game, got an opportunity in the 53rd minute, slotting the ball home. Two minutes later after some neat passing Ryan Schouten found some room in the box and curled a sumptuous shot around the oncoming keeper. Gillingham continued to press home the advantage and should have extended the lead on a couple of occasions, but were wasteful in front of goal. As the game neared its conclusion Hamworthy pushed men forward to search for the equaliser, which left holes in their defence, which Elliot Bevis exploited in the 85th, 88th and 90th minute to give Gillingham a victory that they fully deserved, even if the final score line was a little flattering.
BEES RECOVER FROM 4 DOWN TO STING THE ROYALS
BLANDFORD UTD 4 BRIDPORT RES 4
Blandford started on the front foot and were awarded a penalty in the first minute when Mark Ford was brought down and Dan Vater stepped up to score, the game continued on much the same vein with Blandford wasting a host of chances. Blandford scored early in the second half with Paul Ford netting on 48mins, Blandford continued to waste more chances before Callum Wray finally broke his Blandford scoring duck on 69mins, Mark Ford got on the score sheet after 72mins to put Blandford 4 nil up, Bridport then started an amazing comeback converting straight away with Blandford thinking the job was done through Joshua Hunter who went on to score a hat trick 73,76 & 85mins to shock Blandford and Bridport got the equalizer on 88mins when Jake Manley scored. Blandford did have one last chance with Saul Boulton from close range shooting straight at the Goalie.
ALL OTHER MATCHES WERE POSTPONED DUE TO FROZEN PITCHES