A STUNNING late strike from Dorchester Town debutant Franklyn Clarke ensured derby spoils were shared in what was a thrilling encounter between Weymouth and Dorchester Town at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
His fizzing strike, which came deep into stoppage time, levelled the game for the Magpies when it looked as if Stewart Yetton’s first-half goal had won it for the hosts at the end of the opening period.
Terras’ boss Jason Matthews sprung a late surprise ahead of kick-off by announcing the signing of striker Sam Surridge on a one-month youth loan from AFC Bournemouth.
He was named among the hosts’ replacements for the crunch encounter, with Matthews revealing to Echosport that even a number of his players did not know about the signing on the morning of the game.
Yetton returned to the Weymouth starting XI as well as Jake Wannell, they came in for the injured Ben Thomson and Jordan Copp respectively.
Dorchester handed midfielder Clarke a place on the bench having been snapped up from Wimborne Town in midweek.
Ben Watson also returned among the substitutes as Magpies’ manager Mark Jermyn named an unchanged starting XI from the side that drew with Chippenham Town last time out.
With the Magpies shooting towards the home end in the opening period, it was county town wideman Neil Martin who looked to strike the first blow. He let fly with a low drive which was well held by Terras’ loan keeper Andy Dawber.
After what was a fairly subdued opening, the game was given its first flashpoint after 15 minutes, as the Terras’ claims for a penalty were denied.
Adam Kelly went down in the Magpies’ area under a challenge from Neil Martin, who voiced his opinion on the matter to the Terras’ midfielder.
Kelly was then involved in a feisty scuffle with Jake Smeeton moments later and went down holding his face. Referee Mark Whaley diffused the situation soon after.
And after the game’s first moment of controversy came the first goal a minute later.
The Magpies had worked the ball into the Weymouth box and Jonah Ayunga’s miscue fell into the path of makeshift striker Nathan Walker, who finished superbly to break the deadlock on 15 minutes.
Walker, returning to his former club, also took the time to celebrate in front of the home fans.
Weymouth’s Dean Evans and Jermyn were then also told to calm down by the match official and Kelly then swung in a dangerous delivery which was stabbed over the bar by Matt Oldring.
Causing problems on the right hand side, Kelly then played a massive part in the Terras’ leveller on 29 minutes, as further controversy struck.
The former Poole Town and Salisbury City man was set free by Chris Shephard and, although his lofted effort at goal fell wide, referee Whaley believed Dorchester keeper Alan Walker-Harris had brought down Kelly in the box, having raced off his line.
After the county town gloveman was cautioned, up stepped Shephard, who confidently converted from 12 yards to make it 1-1.
And with almost the final kick of the first half, Yetton had turned the game on its head.
A delivery swung into the box by Shephard was met by the Weymouth captain, and after his initial header was cleared off the line by Oldring, his shot on the volley deflected into the net to put Weymouth in the box seat going into the break.
Both Calvin Brooks and Smeeton required treatment for either side in what was a quiet start to the second period. The most dangerous moment came as Weymouth stopper Dawber less than convincingly palmed away a long throw from Chris Dillon.
The Magpies introduced Watson and Clarke for Charlie Davis and Ayunga just past the hour mark, in a bid to find an equalising goal.
It was almost elementary on 66 minutes for the visitors as Luke Holmes found Watson, but, just after coming off the bench, the latter’s flashed ball across goal was snuffed out by Dawber. The Terras’ keeper was then tasked with denying Clarke’s effort on the volley from the edge of the box.
Surridge was then cautioned for kicking the ball away as he replaced Yetton, and Dorchester’s last throw of the dice came as Liam Sayers replaced Holmes.
Tim Sills was then brought on in place of Kelly for the home side, and could have sealed the three points with his first touch.
After Walker-Harris parried Shephard’s initial effort, the Weymouth player-assistant somehow failed to convert on the follow up when it looked easier to score.
That was to prove costly for Weymouth as Clarke managed to find room at the other end to rifle into the top corner, sending the visiting fans delirious and earning Jermyn’s men a point.