A “SCHOOLBOY” error by Mark Morris helped condemn Dorchester Town to one of their heaviest derby defeats against Weymouth at the Wessex Stadium, yesterday.
The 4-1 reversal, in front of a Boxing Day crowd of 2,005, leaves the Magpies marooned at the foot of the Dr Martens Premier Division, five points adrift of the safety zone.
Town’s player-boss was left with a face as red as Rudolph’s nose after gift-wrapping the Terras a late Christmas present on the stroke of half-time.
With the scores level at one apiece – new Weymouth loan signing Lee Phillips’ early opener having been cancelled out by Scott Cannie’s 17th minute thunderbolt – Morris appeared to have all the time in the world to deal with a harmless punt out of the home defence.
But his attempt to control the ball saw him dispossessed by Darran Rowbotham who left him for dead before chipping over Mark Ormerod.
Morris, who failed to appear for the second period, admitted afterwards: “There was nothing unlucky about it, it was simply a schoolboy error. The lads had worked hard to get themselves back on level terms and then I make a mistake like that just before half-time.
“Unfortunately you can’t drag the world back and once it’s gone it’s gone. During the course of a career you probably make a couple of howlers like that and it’s just annoying that one came in a big game like this.”
The Terras, still smarting from that September FA Cup exit at the hands of their opponents, went on to gain ample revenge thanks to further goals from the outstanding Mark Robinson and David Laws.
“I said that the players felt they owed Dorchester one after the Cup defeat”, said Weymouth manager Andy Mason, “and it was tremendous to get our revenge today. I’m absolutely delighted with the result and what’s really pleasing is that we achieved it with a decent performance, full of hard work and energy. You can argue that it was a weakened Dorchester side that we came up against this time around but it doesn’t matter who’s playing or where they are in the table, they’re always a difficult team to beat.”
And the Terras chief was full of praise for his four goal scorers, in particular 20-year-old Plymouth Argyle striker Phillips.
“He took his goal brilliantly”, he said, “and he really impressed me throughout. In fact all the goals were well taken and I thought Darran was in great form before he came off with a slight hamstring pull.”
He added: “The boys worked really hard today and got what they deserved. Hopefully we can now take this form into Saturday’s big game against Margate.”
Goal hero Phillips added: “I knew how important this game was to the Weymouth fans and it’s just great to get on the scoresheet on my home debut and contribute to the victory.”
Morris, meanwhile, remains frustrated by his ever-lengthening injury list.
“It’s difficult when you’ve got experienced players like Holmes, Harris, Murray and Lonnon on the treatment table and there’s others like myself, Oldbury and Pickard who should really be there with them.
“But all we can do is keep patching people up best we can and keep battling and fighting until our luck changes for the better.”
He added: “At the moment I’m working with a young squad of players, most of whom I brought to the club with the intention of playing first team football in say 12 or 18 months time. Instead I’ve already had to throw them in at the deep end.
“But they are giving their hearts and souls to the cause and it’s a shame they’re not getting their just rewards.”
He added: “I’m well aware that we’re bottom and that we’ve now lost five on the trot, but people have to be realistic about our predicament and I hope the directors and fans appreciate the difficult situation I’m in.”