by Jim Cunneen
Dorchester 0 Shortwood 1
Shortwood achieved their best ever result on Saturday when they travelled to Conference outfit Dorchester Town and came back with a 1-0 win and a place in the 3rd qualifying draw of the FA Cup. John Evans was rightfully delighted! : “We were outstanding, we could easily have been two up after the 25 minutes and although they came back into it everybody ran their socks off! The back four and Tom King were brilliant but James Coates has to be man of the match today – what a game he had! The winning goal may have been controversial in the extreme but make no mistake – Shortwood completely deserved this result!
Right from the start Shortwood tore into Town with a will and their passing was neat and concise. Even at this early stage Dorchester struggled to contain Shortwood as they poured forward and conceded a stream of free kicks. Culley had one deflected wide and Pugh received a yellow for body checking Cant. Mann fired the free kick across but too high. After 11 minutes Bennett’s shot was deflected into the path of Haddock and he rounded a defender and hammered a shot past keeper Walker – Harris only to see it rebound off the foot of the post. Minutes later Mann took a corner and Bennett, Culley and Baldwin all had shots blocked by desperate defenders. Wood had a strong appeal for hand ball turned down in the scrimmage. Slowly Dorchester got a toe into the game and started to push Wood back but without looking dangerous for long periods thanks to the outstanding work of the Wood back line and the pressure from the midfield. When Wood did break they continued to look dangerous and Walker – Harris had to race out to deny Culley. Minutes later another break saw Bennett surge down the right and his excellent cross was headed inches wide by the flying Culley. Dorchester’s best player was forward Bassele and twice he almost wriggled through only to be denied by great tackles from James Coates. Culley fired into the side netting and a Bennett cross was nicked off Haddock’s head as Wood sought the goal their play deserved. Dorchester’s end product was weak but Bassele had a shot deflected wide just before the break.
Culley had an early chance for Wood before Tom King came to Shortwood’s rescue twice in a minute. First he raced out to block Watson’s shot for a corner and then he saved a point blank power header from the same player. The defining moment came just on the hour. Pritchett fouled Walker and Walker reacted – both men were booked. Seconds later Culley hit a rising shot and the ball struck Walker who had no chance to get out of the way. Referee Moodey awarded the harshest of spot kicks and sent Walker off for his second yellow card. Culley wasted to time in firing the penalty home. The sense of injustice fired Town and Wakefield clipped the top of King’s bar. With the crowd baying for a dismissal for every foul Shortwood had to be careful and disciplined and their hearts were in their mouths when the referee produced a red card for Axton before realising he had not previously booked him. The game continued in the pattern of Town enjoying possession but running into the Wood brick wall while the more they pushed up the more space Shortwood found up front. Culley almost got in on a bad back pass before limping off to be replaced by Kevin Slack. In the dying seconds Slack chipped the Walker – Harris but the keeper got a fingertip to the ball and it dropped agonisingly wide. No matter – seconds later the final whistle blew and the Wood players and supporters celebrated a magnificent and well deserved victory.