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…
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!“
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 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.“
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.“
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.“
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.“
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.“
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.“
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.“
Andy ‘skunk’ Harris
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.“
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!“
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.“
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.