Dorchester Town Preview

Last updated : 24 July 2003 By

With the opening game of the new 2003/04 Nationwide Second Division now just over two weeks away, Brentford embark upon their third and last match of their mini-tour of the West Country, with a visit to Dr Martens Premier Division club, Dorchester Town on Saturday.

The Dorset based outfit have just enjoyed a memorable 2002/03 campaign, which saw them regain their Premier Division status after winning the Dr Martens Eastern Division title, following a titanic nine month battle with Eastbourne Borough.

The Magpies triumph was clinched on the season's last day, when a seventh successive league victory, courtesy of a solitary strike by the prolific Justine Keeler, proved just enough to defeat 6th placed Kings Lynn and pip their Sussex rivals to the championship pennant.

Keeler: Prolific
Indeed Dorchester Town’s promotion success was largely built around a wonderfully talented attacking formation which in addition to the afore mentioned Keeler, who finished as top goalscorer with 25 goals in 38 league appearances, also saw Martin Shepard net 24 times. The two Matt’s, Grover and Hann, also chipped in with 19 and 16 goals respectively, and these four men were the major contributors to the impressive total of 114 goals in the club’s 42 league games.

Founded in 1880, Dorchester Town participated in the Dorset League and their Western equivalent until 1972, when they joined the Southern League, a level of football they have remained in ever since.

The club celebrated their centenary year by winning the old Division One South, but only four years later, the Magpies, beset by financial difficulties, nearly lost their Southern League status.

However, the club rallied and by 1987 they had returned to the Premier Division as champions, where they stayed until relegation at the end of the 2000/01 season. It was during this spell that the Magpies attained their highest ever league placing within the football pyramid, a fourth place finish at the end of the 1997/98 campaign.

As with almost all non-league clubs, Dorchester Town has experienced their fair share of FA excitment over the years.

In 1981, the club reached the Second Round, where after holding AFC Bournemouth, they narrowly lost out in a reply, whilst more recently, in 1995, the club made it to the First Round proper and a fixture against Oxford United.

As the new league campaign approaches, Magpies manager, Mark Morris, has been given a huge boost with the news that star midfielder, Matty Holmes, the former West Ham player, has decided to stay at the Avenue Stadium, in preference to joining ambitious Dr Martens Premier Division local rivals, Weymouth.

Brentford manager, Downes meanwhile, apparently happy with his defensive unit has been busy acquiring a couple of strikers who may provide the answer to the distinct lack of goals being scored.

Following blanks at both Nationwide Third Division club, Yeovil Town (0-2) and Nationwide Conference outfit, Exeter City (0-0), the boss has drafted in 18-year-old, Matt Harrold, the former Harlow Town striker, as well as giving an extended trial to Scott McDonald.

Should you fancy a nice summer’s day out in Dorset, the Bee Hive has complete road travel directions that you can view, by clicking here.

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