“Any win against Weymouth was amazing as I hated them!”

As fans of top flight clubs get ready for the return of football in front of no fans, we at TSOF are less bothered by this. Having seen Dorch lose in front of gates of less than 70 at places such as Hayes and Yeading or the salubrious surrounds of Dunstable, football in soulless places with no one around to see it is nothing new to us.

Au contraire, we are far happier looking back at times of success, memories of past victories and discovering a bit more about the history of the club. It has brought back some great memories for fans, but what about the players? Well we thought we’d find out. Welcome to part one of ‘players choice’ as we look back at which games are most fondly remembered by ex-players, members of the current squad and managers of previous Magpies, and why. Club legends and fan favourites a plenty, some with more time to write their memories down than others…

Alan Walker-Harris:

Goalkeeper and Tropicana enthusiast, AWH established himself as a fan favourite following his arrival in the summer of 2011. Making over 160 appearances for the club over at least two spells, Al was goalkeeping coach at Gosport last season where he now proclaims to have one of the best half-volleys in the business.

It’ll have to be my debut, Home to Welling. Think they were unbeaten at the time and i remember we were struggling a bit. Ash (Vickers) wanted me to play but I’d be injured all pre-season with an ankle injury, so I had 45 minutes of a reserve game at Poole and straight in on the Saturday. I’d barely trained with the team and I think the other lads thought I was the physio’s mate I’d spent that much time there. I did 45 minutes for the reserves and Jamie Symes was supposed to be taking my kicks. Went to collect the ball for the first goal kick, turned around and he was on the halfway line!

The Welling game was a no-lose situation for me really given no one really knew me and even though my ankle was bad, Phil (Simkin) had said to me pre-game if the ankle was playing up just try and kick it into the stands on the halfway line! They had Gary Hill in change and were a good side but we got a result and I’d done alright.
“I had some good times, have fond memories of the club and people involved and still have two player of the season trophies if anyone wants ’em!

Bob Brittain:

Another goalkeeper, Bob would make 74 appearances for the club following his arrival in 1976 with 34 of those coming in the title winning 1979-80 season. He remains involved in local football to this day and can still be found running the line of a weekend.

Mine would be when we beat Yeovil 3 – 1 in the Southern League proper. I was good to report to the ground to be greeted by Dave telling me I was playing. ‘I was better at taking crosses than he was.’
“Yeovil near the top, us down the bottom. Yeovil were confident shall we say. Graham Roberts took them apart down the hill and we were 3 nil up at half time. We comfortably held out and won 3 – 1. I think that performance was the one that made Weymouth sign him. I don’t think I let the side down.”

I also remember us beating Portsmouth’s first team in a pre-season friendly and Peter Poore asked the chairman afterwards if we would be getting a win bonus! I don’t think we got one but Peter Mellor was in goal for Portsmouth and he did not have a good game!

Jamie Mudge:

Jamie Mudge was a key part of the Dorchester side that came so close to knocking oxford out of the FA Cup in 2008. He got the opening goal in the replay and it was he who supplied the ball in for Mossy’s disallowed goal in the first game. A popular player who has had a good scoring record wherever he’s played.

On a personal level for me Thurrock at home in the league in December 2008 where we won 4-3 and I managed to put away a Hatrick! End to end game which had everything!
One that also sticks out is Oxford United in the FA Cup, where we drew 0-0, Ryan moss scored a last minute winner only to be ruled out but we deserved to win that game and played so well in front of a big crowd.

Ryan Moss:

181 appearances with a good goal return saw Mossy establish himself as a key player at the club in his five or so seasons at the Avenue. He was still playing (and scoring against us…) in the Southern League last season..

Dartford away is the game that really sticks out. We werent very good at all first half and I just remember us dominating from start to finish second half. Dartford was as tough as anywhere to go and one of the best supported. As balanced as any side I played in for Dorch, and as hard working. The changing room was really close. Ingsy and myself really got into our stride around then and it was a pleasure playing with him even though he was 17. Devs worked harder than anyone I’d ever met one side and Critts had the most class of anyone I had played with at Dorch on the other. His and Kev Hills’ quality was another level.

I played in technically better Dorchester sides under Shaun Brooks and that team was a joy to play football with, obviously the FA Cup run at Oxford was great. But that Dartford team under Phil and Vicks was so close.

Hedley Steele:

298 appearances and 29 goals for the title winning 1979-80 captain in his eight years at the club, and there wasn’t much that Hedley didn’t see over those years. Relegation, league wins, cup runs and coming within four minutes of an appearance in the FA Cup third round were all part of an eventful spell at the club. The season after the game Hedley chose was the year we would win the league.

The first Southern League Home derby v Weymouth Tues 30 Jan 1979. 1300+ crowd with us joint bottom, Weymouth free scoring and most people expecting us to be hammered. 0-0 but honours to us given the circumstances and arguably one of our best performances of a difficult season. Just occasionally a 0-0 can feel like win and that was one of those.

Jamie Brown:

170+ games for another fan favourite with 20+ goals to boot, Browner was as popular with Dorchester players and fans as he was unpopular with Weymouth. Which is a good way to be. A playoff winner who loved a derby game, his tackle on Steve Claridge is still fondly remembered to this day.

I’ve got some amazing memories. Obviously the Weymouth games were epic. The crowd and atmosphere was always special. Playoff final at Exeter was amazing. Mark Morris singing Frank Sinatras ‘my way’ on the coach after was brilliant but personally for me was the Crawley away game. They were such a great side but we played some great football that day. I scored a brace with the first being a header from a corner front post. The second was a screamer from a fair old distance into the top corner. Think it ended 2-3. Great memories.

https://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/5372797.dorchester-take-the-brown-route/

Tom Blair:

Signed in 2016-17 from Bridport by then manager Mark Jermyn, the Dorchester born winger and boyhood fan is approaching 150 appearances for the club.

It’s easily the Eastbourne away game when i scored a hat trick in the FA Trophy. Not just because of the hat trick, more because we were on a shit run in the league and was the best moment in my career to date. We had a night out after too with the team which was unreal and I also remember singing Valerie very loudly in the changing room after.

Trevor Senior:

With 59 league goals in 78 appearances, it’s not difficult to see why Trevor would go on to have a very successful career and is still Reading record goal scorer. A league winner in the 1979-80 season and a key part of the side who got to the FA Cup second round in 1981, Trevor would would return to the club as assistant manager under under Craig Laird and remain there until last season having worked with Steve Thompson and Callum Brooks.

I’d probably say Minehead away in the FA Cup first round replay. It was midweek after 3-3 draw at home on the Saturday and I scored a hat trick with Chutts getting the other one in a 4-0 win. It was a good journey home on the coach. I’d also scored a hat trick in the previous round at Cheltenham in the first half, we had some good days that season.

Andy Harris:

Club legend with 333 appearances and 20 goals over a 10 year spell, Andy was another man who saw it all at the club during that time. From relegation to promotion, FA Cup runs, cups wins, booting the ball into the stand and getting booked for celebrating in empty seats at Wigan, he was a player you always wanted to see on the team sheet.

For me I’d say the play-off game against Bath which set us up for the final against Tiverton at Exeter which we won to get promotion to the newly restructured league. Matty Holmes was sensational in the final and ran the show.

Any win against Weymouth was amazing as I hated them!!! Made some good friends from there now but as a player they were the enemy!!! I particularly enjoyed our 1-0 fa cup win when Danny O’Hagan scored and Elmo (David Elm) saved a David laws penalty. Brilliant.

Lifting the trophy when we gained promotion after finishing the season after Christmas by winning pretty much every game. So many good memories. I can truly say I loved that club and loved every minute I was there. I was a passionate magpie and loved wearing the shirt.

Stay safe.

Andy ‘skunk’ Harris

Jamie Gleeson:

Close to 400 appearances for Glees in 10 years at the club in which time he scored some vital goals and was part of some of the best Dorchester sides in recent memory.

My favourite game has to be Plymouth at home, of course. What a team! Great bunch of lads. I played in a few televised games before by playing in Southampton Reserves and League 2 for Kidderminster, but not on that scale. The FA Cup is always special. If I’m honest, I think we were hoping to get a result but we weren’t sure, but their player being sent off early in the game really helped us. That is definitely the best side I had played in at Dorchester. It was the best atmosphere, especially when we scored. It was just a blur.

Sam Lanahan:

Lanners made 115 appearances and scored 20 goals during his three spells at the club. Deceptively good in the air, he had a habit of scoring some important goals under the multitude managers he played for and played just about everywhere except in goal.

My Favourite Dorchester game? When being asked this, there were quite a few games springing to mind, Jamie Gleeson’s winner over Bromley 3-2 with Ashley Nichols playing against us in the middle of the park. Great game and Glees doesn’t get many! Beating Sutton 1-0 on my debut with a Brandon Goodship goal and being given the star player in the non-league paper. Along with scoring the equaliser away at Weymouth in the best non-league derby there is! Not many better feelings than that! However none of these games were the one! I have gone for an away game which sticks out, Eastbourne Away!

This stands out for many reasons and one in which I cannot write in here. In the changing rooms before the game I was a young keen, enthusiastic, well behaved, listener! Stuart Heath was giving one of his motivation/tactical speeches and all I had was Nathan Walker nudging me and asking me to look between his legs! This is as much as I can repeat but let’s just say AWH and Walks were not fully listening! I soon learned this was not out of character!
“Another rarity before the game was the abandonment of the warm up! The weather took a turn for the worse and the hails stones were horrendous! Even Heathy and Jem ran for cover!
“I cannot not remember a whole lot about the game other than my job was to stop their ball playing number 10 from getting on it and to follow him everywhere! We definitely did not have the lions share of possession and were taking a bit of battering, but the 10 didn’t do much and wasn’t my biggest fan.

We were clinging on for a draw when Walks grabs me towards the latter stages of the game and explains that he would not give me my lift home unless I go and get us a goal! At this stage of my career in football I was really unsure if he meant it! It looked like he did!
“I then gambled and left the number 10 to push on higher up the pitch. The ball fell, luckily, to me out wide in the final third. I was able to drop a shoulder and skip past the right back. I then whipped the ball (wind assisted) around the oncoming centre back and in to the bottom corner, at some pace! Probably my best goal for the club and a well needed win for the boys!
“As many players will tell you, there are not many better feelings than scoring a goal but scoring the winner in such a one sided, physical battle, when you are defending for the majority of the game is some feeling! I also managed to get a ‘free’ lift home off Walks too!

Lanners celebrates his equaliser away at Weymouth.

Joseba Barandiaran:

It was a solitary but memorable season for Jose in 2004-05 as the club came agonisingly close to making the Conference South playoffs. Jose’s goals, work rate and assists were a key part of keeping the club in contention right up to the final game of the season.

The Boxing Day match against Weymouth when we won 4-1. The crowd was buzzing, Matt Groves scored a hat trick and Mark Jermyn got the other, I assisted the fourth with my left foot. “Weymouth had spent a lot of money in pre-season and I actually had a trial there but turned down their offer as it was very low. Mark Morris offered me a deal after a trial game where I scored one and set up two. We took them apart on Boxing Day. We knew that they had a strong squad and they were not happy with the results. If we beat them, there would be a big pressure with them.

We actually had very good players. Bradshaw as keeper, Andy Harris in defence, Jamie Brown and Mark Jermyn in the midfield, and Justin Keeler and Groves going forward. The rest of the players they were good as well. Mark Robinson, a young Warren Byerley, Simon Radcliffe, Carl Poore, we also had Diego – a Portuguese winger on loan for few months, Juan Ugarte at the beginning of the season.

We had no pressure on us and played very attacking football. After the game, even their manger when we shook hands afterwards said “well done, you deserve it”. The crowd were very happy and it is a shame we didn’t make the playoffs that season. I enjoyed my time there, Shaun Hearn helped me a lot I made many good friends in my time there and still stay in touch with several people.

Tony Diaz:

404 appearances and 180 goals, including 38 that saw him win the golden boot in the 1991-92 season, Tony was a league winner in 1986-87 and was prolific across his years at the club. An exponent of the forgotten art of the diving header, Tony would score some vital goals for the club.

“I’ll go for 1-0 win away at Cheltenham in the 1992-93 season. They were near the top, we were down near the bottom and we weren’t expected to get anything there that New Year’s Day. It was a cold and wet and to be honest, it was a tough game on a difficult pitch but as we could do we battled on both teams going for the win and It was 0-0 going into injury time and we managed to go on the attack a final time, Tony White got the ball out wide and crossed the ball into the near post and I got on the end of it with a diving header. As it went in, I slid on my front from the dive for ages as it was so wet. Scoring a winner so late in that sort of game was a great feeling. No one thought we’d get a result going into the game so for the team to play as we did and get the win in that manner makes that one stick out.

And there ends part one. The range of years goes from 1972 to 2018 across those have been able to help so far, and there will be at least two more instalments after this, all being well. To come we have a pair of father and son duos, a pair of players who netted memorable derby day hat tricks, late winners and a most memorable game which involved the person who chose this particular game getting sent off. Stay alert, there’s more to come. SV.

Thanks to all the players who have contributed so far.

“I thought we’d won 1-0. It wasn’t until I got to the bus and everyone was miserable that I realised the goal had been disallowed.”

FA Cup final day, or at least what should be, seems an apt time for the first and probably last ever TSOF three part blog to finish as we look at our most recent cup exploits. And there is plenty to cover. We have a trip to an at the time almost brand new £30 million stadium, a trip to one of the worst league grounds in England, our first ever televised tie, and a game one fan thought we’d won until he got to the minibus to find out a goal had been disallowed.

The cup run in the 2000-01 season proved to be a welcome distraction from what was a poor league campaign. As is somewhat of a recurring theme here, we drew Weymouth in the qualifying rounds, this time as we entered the competition in the second qualifying round. We’d leave the Wessex Stadium with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Danny O’Hagan goal. It was a game that club legend Andy ‘skunk’ Harris still has fond memories of:

“Any win against Weymouth was amazing as I hated them! I’ve made some good friends from there now but as a player they were the enemy! I particularly enjoyed the FA Cup win. Danny O’Hagan scored the winner and Elmo (David Elm) saved a David Laws penalty. Brilliant.”

Salisbury at home would be the next rounds opposition and we’d win a thriller by the odd goal in seven. Matt Lonnon with two and efforts from Owen Pickard and Andy Harris would ensure our safe passage into the fourth and final qualifying round. The home tie against Welling would prove more difficult. A 1-1 stalemate at home after an Andy Harris equaliser would see us travel there for a midweek replay. Goals from Martyn Sullivan and Owen Pickard would take the tie to extra time before a brace from substitute Matt Groves would guarantee our place in the first round proper for the first time in five years.

The reward was a trip to highflying Wigan Athletic, who were the highest ranked side in the competition as they topped Division 2 (League One in modern terms) and were in their second season at the new £30 million JJB stadium. We were second bottom Dr Martens Premier Division at the time with 90 places separating us and Wigan, who were managed by former Arsenal boss, Bruce Rioch. Who does Bruce Rioch have as a nephew? Matty Homes.

Several coaches from DT1 made their way to the game, including some youngsters who had managed to sneak a few cans of lager on, despite being a few years too young to drink. Upon arrival at Wigan, a steward asked the youngsters if they were old enough to drink that. They replied yes and duly had to pay the full adult price to get into the ground. Despite Wigan having a side that included future Swansea, Wigan, Everton and Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, as well as Premier League experience in Arjan De Zeeuw, it would be us who took a sixth minute league as Matty Homes’ free kick from the wide right area would miss everyone and nestle in the bottom corner. Fans went mad and Andy Harris would be unfortunate to get booked for celebrating in an empty stand.

Joy was very short lived as Wigan equalised within a minute and they would go ahead before half-time. We’d give everything but it stayed 2-1 until 10 minutes from time when the unfortunate Jason McIvor would score an own goal of ‘Danny Baker’s Own Goals and Gaffes’ proportions. It was a spirited performance and a more respectable scoreline than the last time out against league opposition, but we’d unfortunately find ourselves relegated at the end of the season. There would be no panic though as our stay in the Eastern Division would only last two seasons as we were promoted as champions in 2002-03. But that’s another story for another time.

The 2008-09 cup campaign would start with a tough draw at home to Newport County, top of the Conference South at the time. We moved into a 2-0 lead after halftime with both goals from Ryan Moss, but were pegged back to 2-2 and faced the daunting prospect of a midweek replay in Wales. Having gone 1-0 down after an uncharacteristic error from Kevin Hill, after halftime Nick Crittenden would take over. His two goals earning us a hard fought 2-1 win and a home tie with Gosport in the next round. Another Ryan Moss goal would see us beat the then conference national side 1-0, before another Crittenden strike would see us beat Bishops Stortford at home and advance for to the first round proper for the first time in eight years.

Conference National side Oxford Untied would be the opposition, away at the new yet bizarrely three sided Kassam Stadium. Almost 400 fans made the trip by coach, minibus and car, with a stop the Sutton Scotney services providing some amusement. As one fan, for the purpose of this story we shall call Martyn, went to make use of the facilities and secured himself a cubicle, a friend who shall go by the name of Richard decided to throw water over the top of the door and soak him. Sadly, Richard got the wrong cubicle, so a totally innocent member of public got soaked, who in turn also threw water onto Martyn thinking it was him who threw the water initially. In hindsight, scrumpy on the minibus mid-morning may not have been the best idea.

The game itself was largely even, Gareth Stewart busier in the Magpies goal but by no means the only keeper in action as the Magpies played some of their better football of the season. The game seemed destined for a replay when deep into injury time a Jamie Mudge cross was turned in by Ryan Moss. Cue pandemonium the stands as fans celebrated the later winner. That was not to be the winning goal though as after a prolonged discussion between referee and linesman, the goal was ruled out for an alleged handball by Moss as he forced the ball home. It deflated the travelling fans as some took longer than others to realise the goal wouldn’t count. One fan didn’t realise until back at the minibus that it was actually a 0-0 draw and a replay would be on the cards. It had been a superb effort and the return on home turf at the Avenue would provide an excellent chance at progression.

But despite a 1,474 crowd, we were unable to overcome the higher ranked visitors. It started well after having missed an earlier chance, Jamie Mudge would put us ahead after 22 minutes. It was a lead we’d hold until the 77th minute as James Constable equalised and as extra time began, we were still more than competitive, but a second yellow card for Jamie Gleason would see us reduced to 10 men. Two goals in the second half of extra time would put the game beyond us and despite the excellent performance over both ties, it wasn’t to be. Mossy’s disallowed goal is still spoken of to this day and it is quite possible that one fan is still adamant we won the first game and it was all a wind up.

So, onto 2012 and one of the most memorable periods in the clubs history. Our entry into the qualifying rounds would be a home game against Hellenic League Division One West side, Wooton Bassett. Two strikes from Jamie Reid and a goal a piece for Ben Watson and Nathan Walker would see us ease into the next round with a 4-0 win. A lone Jamie Gleeson strike would then see us safely past Basingstoke, once again on home soil, before the final qualifying round would see us play another home game, this time Bury Town were our opponents. A Charlie Clough goal in the first half put us ahead before two Bury players were dismissed leaving us in total control. Nick Crittenden would add a second after 80 minutes but Bury pulled a late goal back to make things interesting. Ben Watson wasn’t interested in anything other than scoring though as he made it 3-1. We were back in the hat for the first round with hopes of a game against league opposition.

And that was what we got as we were paired against Plymouth Argyle at home. The Sunday clash against the League Two side was also to be televised on ESPN on what was sure to be a great occasion for the town. This was a game I was unable to attend as I had already planned a trip to Belgium to see my then parter. As most of the town would watch on at the ground or on TV, my partner and I would be sat in Brussels watching the game on her laptop. She even correctly predicted score. It is when I write things like this down and think them through that I realise there is a very good reason why I am currently single.

The day was by all accounts an absolute belter. The Vic was drank dry of cider, 3,196 fans packed into the ground and it was a cold wet and uncomfortable atmosphere for the visitors. Conor Hourihane, who now plays in the Premier League for Aston Villa, was obviously caught up in the atmosphere as he proceeded to appear to stamp on Jon Garcia and got an early yellow card. Hourihane was not done there as he quickly picked up his second booking and was sent off after only eight minutes. Even with 10 men Plymouth would have that quality about them and despite the numerical disadvantage, they didn’t just roll over. A Charlie Clough header off the post being our best chance of the half as the game ebbed and flowed.

But four minutes into the second half we would score and take a lead we wouldn’t surrender. Jake Smeeton’s deep cross from the left was cushioned back into the centre by Mark Jermyn for perfectly positioned Jake Gosling to slot the ball into the roof of the net. The crowd erupted as did a small corner of Brussels and despite the odd scare, we’d see the game out for a famous victory and a place in the second round for the first time since 1981. Defender Nathan Walker has fond memories of the day:

“At breakfast the boys were all bantering and we were in good spirits. We believed if we kept it at 0-0 we could nick a goal and what a goal it was. We never knew when we were beat that season, we had great togetherness on and off it pitch. To win in the FA Cup and on live TV was just amazing.”

A round two tie away at Conference National side Luton, who we would also play twice in the trophy that year, would be the draw we were given and we set off on a minibus with plenty of refreshments for the trip. Luton, put politely, is a hole, and all those liquid refreshments were needed to take the edge off of the surrounds we found ourselves in. But we weren’t just here for the day out and there was genuine hope we could cause another upset. After an initial bright start, we came under some more sustained pressure which resulted in Andre Gray, now of Watford, scoring the opening goal.

We saw out the rest of the first half and had been playing our way back into the game when a second goal seemingly put the game beyond us, Lawless’ effort after he was allowed time and space to shoot finding the far corner. It wasn’t game over though as two minutes later, Aaron Pugh turned in a Jake Gosling corner and it was game on once more. In truth, we should have forced a replay and would have done so had it not been for the inspired form of Luton keeper Mark Tyler. Saves ranging from good to incredible from Ash Nichols, Ben Watson, Sam Malson and Dan Thompson would deny us a replay that we felt the performance merited. But it wasn’t to be and the players were deservedly clapped off at the end after their monumental efforts over the course of the cup run.

The journey home was an entertaining one with the minibus seeming to acquire Christmas decorations from various pit stops en route back to DT1, and a slightly worse for wear Mark Derrien swearing blind we were in the Blue Vinney and they’d done it up really nicely, only to be told by Guyer that we were in fact at the Fish Inn in Ringwood. It was no better by train as Steve Hill elected to take the overground rather than following the rest onto the underground. The drawback? Steve was in possession of all the train tickets. This ended our most recent first or second round proper appearance, and to be honest, we’ve not looked too much like advancing to that stage since, with the only exception being a 7-1 pummelling by Bristol Rovers in 2014. In the meantime, here’s hoping I’ll have some more success to write about soon (although the history is fascinating, 1986-87 league winning season blog to come as well as ‘players choice’ where we have ex/current players picking their favourite games from a period of 40 or so years), if you want to or are able to help the club, the link to the Magpies Appeal will be below. Stay safe folks, SV.

Thanks to Steve Gould, Hedley Steele, Helen Curtis, Nathan Walker, Peter Morrell, Andy Harris, Peter Poore and several friends who have contributed pictures, newspaper clippings and memories across all 3 parts.

“I couldn’t make the replay though, I already had tickets for Duran Duran at the Poole Arts Centre that night.”

Today should be eve of the FA Cup final day. One of the most momentous occasions in the footballing calendar. Could it have been our year? We’ll never know now as the season has been voided. And yes, we are totally ignoring the fact that were knocked out in the early qualifying rounds by Blackfield and Langley. But in lieu of there being no final to watch, we here at TSOF aim to provide you with an adequate substitute with part two of the FA Cup review.

Now when we finished part one, we had just had our most successful period in the famous old competition as we made at least the first round proper in five out of six seasons between 1954 and 1960. Sadly, our wait for the next first round appearance would be in excess of 20 years. In the period between first round appearances we lost to footballing giants such as Bridport, Bridgewater, Portland and Barnstable among many others. But the Stuart Bell led Magpies of 1981-82 would buck that trend in some style.

Following the league winning campaign under Bell’s then caretaker stewardship in 1979-80 (as documented in a recent blog on the Tumblr account) there was a brief period under player/manager Martin Chivers at the start of 1980-81. When that didn’t work out, it was Bell who got the job on a full time basis having been assistant under Chivers, and he was able to keep together/assemble a successful squad who knew each other well and played with an understanding to match.

The cup campaign would start out in low key fashion with goals from Paul Thorne and Peter Poore seeing off Hungerford 2-1 away from home, before goals from Thorne, Trevor Senior and Ray Ames would see us dispatch of Frome on home turf. An away fixture at Eastleigh would prove a stiffer task. After coming twice from behind to level the game at 2-2, the Magpies would find an extra gear and eventually grind out a 4-2 success with Senior, Ames, Thorne and Poore once again finding the net.

Into the fourth qualifying round and opponents Cheltenham Town had taken to very forward thinking step of having our previous tie at Eastleigh filmed so they could do some scouting and hatch a plan to defeat us. It didn’t work. A hat trick from the prolific Senior would see us take a 3-1 win at Whaddon Road. What of the video, I hear you ask? Well they sold it to us and it was shown in front of an audience of 100 or so at the Magpies social club. The first round proper draw arrived, and there was some disappointment when Minehead at home was our reward as the bigger sides were avoided. But it did present an excellent opportunity to make the second round and following a thrilling 3-3 draw (Miller, Steele x2) which saw us spurn a 3-1 lead late on. But with the second round draw being made prior to the replay, the incentive of AFC Bournemouth at home was all the encouragement we needed as yet another hat trick from Senior and a Tony Chutter goal saw us run our deserved 4-1 winners.

A crowd of over 5,000 would pack into the old Avenue as the Fourth Division promotion contenders came to town, and they would be reward with a left footed shot from Paul Thorne putting us into a first half lead after a period of sustained pressure. Bournemouth would equalise after halftime having missed a penalty as well at the start of the second half, but it was Dorch who would finish the game stronger and would be agonisingly close to winning it. As tensions rose on and off the pitch, skipper Hedley Steele would see his effort strike the bar, and Trevor Senior was just unable to connect with a late cross in from Paul Thorne. Much to Bournemouth’s relief, it would go to a replay that Tuesday.

The relief wasn’t felt by all as some fans had already booked tickets to see up and coming band ‘Duran Duran’ at the nearby Poole Arts Centre, and they would miss an agonising night for the Magpies. In front of a crowd of 6,766 with well over a thousand from Dorch, it had started well as we took the lead. Pressure from Trevor Senior (playing his last game for the club prior to a £35,000 move to Portsmouth) caused confusion in the home defence and captain Hedley Steele slotted home the ball as it broke to him after 18 minutes. A rising Paul Thorne effort almost doubled the league but the hosts would level as a free kick from out wide would see Andy Crawford equalise.

That’s how it would stay meaning extra time and Dorchester hearts were broken as despite good chances for both sides, Keith Williams would score as Dorch were temporarily down to 10 following an injury to Tony Chutter. There were only four minutes remaining and as Hedley Steele would put it, “it was a great journey that ended in heartbreaking fashion.”

It is a cup campaign still fondly remembered and spoken about by players and fans alike. Peter Poore, who played in both games and is the farther of another ex-Maggie in Carl, would say “the first game at home we were so unlucky and should have won. For us it was just 11 vs 11, they had much more ability but we wanted it more. To lose in the last few minutes of extra time and being so close to that third round was hard to take. We got a standing ovation from the home crowd and that’s something I and many others will treasure.”

In typical fashion, we’d not progress past the qualifying rounds for the next seven seasons. The likes of Clandown, Merthyr Tydfil, Cheltenham and Totton proving our undoing. 1989-90 would see a return to the first round proper, albeit without the dream football league tie at the end of it. After seeing off Chard away from home, overcoming Trowbridge after a reply also away, a home win against Cheltenham would see us in the fourth and final qualifying round away at Bognor.

We’d fall behind after a penalty conceded by Tony White was converted, but the real story was the hailstorm which battered the south coast that night. At nearby Fratton Park the referee had stopped the match as conditions were so bad but the official at Bognor had no such idea and the play continued in farcically dangerous conditions. Despite goal kicks being blown back towards goal and going out for corners, a Pete Morrell penalty was good enough to force a replay. The whole ordeal must have annoyed the players somewhat as they proceeded to hammer Bognor 5-1 in the replay. Sadly, the first round produced no outing against football league opposition and we were drawn away to league rivals Gloucester City. Despite a good team performance and Pete Morrell hitting the bar, we would fall to a somewhat harsh 1-0 deafest against a Gloucester side who beat us five times in all competitions in that season.

It would be the 1995-96 season when we next grace the first round with our presence, but it was the qualifying rounds that in many ways provided the better memories. The first qualifying round would see us held 2-2 at home by Wimborne before safely negotiating the away replay by a 2-0 score line. A 2-0 home victory over Basingstoke would see us advance into the third qualifying round where a tie away at rival Weymouth would await. It would prove to me be one of our more memorable days on the other side of the Ridgeway as an Owen Pickard hat trick would help us come from 2-1 down to win 3-2, dumping our rivals out the competition in the process. There It was a win that would see a selection of commemorative mugs produced, some still used as tea vessels to this very day!

A 2-1 victory away at Sittingbourne would see us back in the hat for the first round proper, and we were rewarded with a trip to Oxford. Oxford were 12th in Divison 2 (League One in today’s money) and one of the better sides in the draw. The travelling support was well over a thousand that day as the convoy of coaches set off from the Avenue, all fans being given a letter from the chairman reminding them of their responsibilities given they were representing the club and the town. However, any hopes of a cup upset were quickly diminished. Although only 2-0 down at half-time, we would end up on the wrong end of a 9-1 scoreline, our 1, a Tommy Killick penalty, coming with the score at 8-0.

In an article when he was at Poole in 2010, Taffy Richardson who played for us that day at Oxford would look back on that first round tie from 1995; “It was one of the worst experiences of my life. What should have turned out to be a good day was an awful day.

“We had a good team at Dorchester and we got Oxford United, who were the best team left in the hat. We got drawn away from home and suffered massive injuries and suspensions. Some of the lads who played were Dorset Combination and reserve players and we were beaten 9-1.

“With 20 minutes to go, I lost count. We got a penalty and Tommy Killick scored and he celebrated like he’d won the FA Cup. I had my head down embarrassed. It could have been 20-1 – our keeper was magnificent. You just wanted to get off the pitch at the end.

Now seeing the funny side – almost – Richardson continues: “We had a black and white strip and one of the funny lines the next day in the press said ‘Dorchester came out looking like Del Piero but, once the game started, they looked more like Del Boy’! Everything about it was embarrassing.”

It would take the club a few seasons to get back into the cup groove and the next time we’d get to the first round proper would be the other side of the millennium. But as I’ve ended up with far more material than I thought, that will actually be in part 3, which should be out over the weekend. Some big days and famous games in the clubs history to follow… Stay alert and wash those paws. SV.