It’s A Senior Stroll For Dorchester

by David Swain, Dorset Echo, Wednesday 16 April 2003

The cup final neither side really wanted became one of the biggest mis-matches in the recent history of Terras-Magpies derbies at Dorchester’s Avenue Stadium last night.

Weymouth’s mix of first team regulars, squad players and young reserves fought a determined rearguard action against a Dorchester outfit missing only injured trio Justin Keeler, Matt Hann and Simon Radcliffe.

But they never came close to stopping the Magpies from extending their unbeaten run to 15 games.

While Geoff Butler’s experienced threesome of Alex and Simon Browne and Ian Hutchinson did their best to stem the tide, Mark Morris’ side were always favourites to regain the trophy in what could be the last time the county’s top clubs compete in the Senior Cup.

In the end the Magpies won it from a second half set-piece and a penalty – “we give away far too many free-kicks in dangerous positions,” complained Butler.

But the Terras were woefully short of firepower and failed to extend home goalkeeper Mark Ormerod all night – which Magpies on-song player-coach Matty Holmes admitted was probably just as well after he pulled a hamstring and had to call in defender Ollie Cherrett to take goal-kicks.

“They didn’t appear to notice that Orms was in a bit of trouble and that probably showed their lack of experience,” he said. “They should have been getting the ball out wide and making him work, but fortunately he had almost nothing to do the whole game.”

Without ever getting into top gear, the Magpies threatened for most of the first half and the 0-0 interval scoreline was a tribute to the Terras solid defending.

Mark Jermyn was crowded out by Simon Browne’s timely block as early as the second minute, Matt Groves then shot wide and Stuart Cooper was also hurried into blasting off target when an up-and-under from ex-Terra Michael Walker had Paul Gadsby in trouble.

Alex Browne then lunged in to deflect Walker’s shot after Andy Harris’ finely judged through ball sent him striding away and he was only inches away from opening the scoring after 22 minutes with a lob that shaved the far post.

When Gadsby spilled Cooper’s driven cross from the right after he had out-paced Simon Browne, an in-rushing Groves just failed to make contact with the loose ball in the goalmouth and the Terras gloveman recovered to take possession.

Martin Shepherd turned Scott Dennis to fire just over the bar after a fine delivery from Matty Holmes and Cooper again missed the near post by inches in the 33rd minute as the Magpies stacked up the goal attempts.

When Shepherd did manage to get on target with a thundering 15 yard drive in the 38th minute, Mark Kenway was on the goal-line to rescue his side.

Alex Browne’s stoppage time header from brother Simon’s free-kick was the Terras first effort on goal, but it proved an easy catch for Ormerod.

Six minutes into the second half, Dorchester broke the deadlock. Holmes’ wizardry on the right flank tempted Hutchinson into a rash lunge and the former West Ham star speared his free-kick towards the near post.

Groves ducked forward to attempt a glancing header and wasn’t slow to take the credit when the ball ended up in the net.

And though ref Paul Durkin and assistant Chris Powell couldn’t agree afterwards, there was more than a hint of own goal about the score with Terras John Lamb the unfortunate defender.

Hutchinson wasted the chance to put his side back in it when he lifted a free-kick over the bar from just outside the area after 70 minutes and with Terras fans already starting to head for the exits, the Magpies clinched the trophy from the penalty spot after 75 minutes.

Mark Jermyn flipped the ball into the middle and Jamie Brown’s header eluded Gadsby’s groping fingertips before bouncing back off the crossbar. Groves was bundled over in the goalmouth by Scott Dennis as he moved in to apply the coup de grace and in the absence of penalty taker Keeler, Shepherd was given the chance to notch one up against his old club.

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