After last week’s successful part 1 of ‘players choice’, welcome back for part 2 of our look back at current and former Magpies favourite games and memories. When we say successful, we mean better received than a summary of a depressing day out in suburban London documenting another away defeat.
This weeks instalment sees us go back to 1972 when the miners strike impacted kick off times, a pair of strikers who were written off by Weymouth managers who would respond in predicable yet memorable fashion, and one game where the player choosing it actually ended up getting sent off. 12 players with over 3,000 games and around 600 Magpies goals feature in this week’s edition. We’ll start with the most prolific of this particular bunch…
With 444 appearances and 151 goals over his two spells at the club, Groover has plenty of games and memories to chose from. We’re pleased to say he’s chosen exactly the game we hoped he would.
“My favourite game was against Weymouth on Boxing Day 2004. It was obviously the biggest game of the season and biggest crowd, we had a good team and definitely felt favourites going into the game. I was having a good season and there was something in the press where their Manager said none of our players would get in their team so, we had added motivation. Not that we needed any.
“The game itself went quickly with first half being fairly equal and I was pleased with my goal, then second half we absolutely battered them. Grabbing a hat trick was just perfect in such a huge derby and was the highlight of my playing career as people still talk to me about it now and it’s what I’m best remembered for at Dorchester.”
The first of our father and son pairings (next pair in part 3) come with a combined Magpies appearance count of over 600, as well as both having league winners medals to show for their time at the club. Peter (476 appearances and 110 goals) for his part in the 1979-80 Southern League title win, Carl (132 games, 1 goal) for Dr Martens Eastern Division triumph in 2002-03. Peter recalls his most memorable game first;
“The 1981 fa cup 2nd proper against AFC Bournemouth, to get a home tie against the only professional club in Dorset was great for the club. We were many leagues below them, but the first game at home we were so unlucky and should of won, for us it was 11 v 11, they had more ability than us but it was about who wanted it more. We got the draw and went to Dean Court for replay only to lose in last few minutes of extra time, being so close to that 3rd round was hard to take. We got a standing ovation from the home crowd and that was something I and many others will treasure”
“The 2-2 draw at home to Weymouth New Year’s Day 2004 was the best game for the team I played in. Four days before we had been humiliated away from home by our local rivals and probably the best team in the league at the time. To try and pick yourselves up after the worst game I can ever remember for the club against a team that just dished out a hiding took balls and courage not just from the players but the backroom staff and supporters to give it their all. Everyone played their part, the game had everything you could want from a local derby, 4 goals, 2 penalties, 2 sending offs in front of a few thousand and then a scrap in the car park! Maybe Weymouth were a bit complacent coming in to it after what had happened just days prior.
“That game kicked our season in to gear and we won the play-off games against Bath City and Tiverton respectively to get to conference south for the 1st time and Weymouth had bad run after that result against us and for them probably chucked the league away.“
60+ Dorchester appearances with many of those wearing the captain’s armband, Torquay legend Kevin Hill was a key component of the Magpies side between 2008-10, playing a key role in the memorable FA Cup run that saw us come agonisingly close to eliminating Oxford in 2008.
“The away draw at Oxford stands out form a team point of view from my time at Dorch. Playing infront of a good crowd with plenty of travelling support, playing so well and almost getting the win with Mossy’s header which was disallowed, it was a great occasion just a shame we didn’t get the win I felt we deserved. We also put in a great effort in the replay falling just short against a higher ranked side.
“From a personal point of view a game that sticks in my mind is an away game against Newport which is always a difficult place to go, where I managed to get a couple of goals in a 4-4 draw, we had an away win in a cup replay there one year which was also a great game to be part of.“
After joining the club from rivals Weymouth for a £500 fee in June of 1984, Pete would go on to become a vital part of the side and would proudly play for and captain the club, making 398 appearances and scoring 85 goals. One of the players to have played at both the new and old Avenue grounds, Pete was a fan favourite and a scorer of some key goals with his dead ball prowess winning many games in his time at the club.
“The one that sticks out for me is a 3-2 win over Gloucester as the Avenue ground on New Years Day in 1990. It was wet and we were 2-1 down after Will Flint had scored our first , then I’d managed to get the equaliser. It was late on and I picked the ball up and played a one-two with the wide man and then another one to get me to the edge of the box. It was me and one of their players trying to get to the ball and I just got there first and got in a right foot shot. It went into the far corner of the net about a foot off the ground and as I was falling a bit as I’d stretched to hit it and were shooting down the hill at the old ground, I ended up sliding right into the advertising boards and the other players bundled on top of me! We lost to them five times in all competitions that season so it was nice to get one over on them!”
220+ games and a pair of goals in Radders’ six seasons at the club saw him and Justin Keeler form a formidable left side partnership, in what was one of the clubs most enjoyable and successful periods in recent history.
“The Derby games over Christmas and New Years were always great to play and in. Watching the ground fill as we warmed up feeling the anticipation from both sets of supporters. One in particular was the 4-1 win at home when Groover scored a hat trick. I think that was the complete team performance from start to finish. 1-to-11 was on their game and we swarmed all over them.
“Back then both Dorchester and Weymouth had well established settled sides and the nucleus of ours under Mark Morris had been together for 6 or 7 years when I finally left. The majority of us younger players had signed around the same time with the likes of Jermyn and Browner the following season so we spent the best part of our 20’s playing alongside each other so you become very good friends on and off the field and we are all still good mates now.
“And because the Weymouth side we faced on a regular basis had a similar settled side we got to know them quite well….the banter in the tunnel would always be good natured with a bit of needle and it added to the build up. Hearing the fans in the tunnel would certainly get the adrenaline pumping it was never hard to be up for these games and that day the team just did everything right.
“Weymouth had threats all over the pitch and were easily favourites with their lineup but we knew on our day we’d beat anyone and everything that day went well especially for Groover. Over the years I think our secret was a great team bond and the gaffer instilled that. He got hungry youngster who wanted to work their socks off surrounded by experienced players who could direct them if require and with Matty Holmes in the middle pulling the strings you had a group of players who would be very hard to play against.“
Four years at the club, 170+ games, 19 goals league titles, cup wins and FA Cup runs saw Matty Holmes cement his status as one of the best players ever to wear the shirt. Between 2000-04 Matty would be a vital part of the Mark Morris led Magpies, retiring after the playoff victory over Tiverton in 2004.
“The play off game v Tiverton was an incredible day. That season Mark Morris managed to bring Paul Wood and we had a good balance to the team with some real spirit, we managed to beat Bath City away 2-0 in the semi final play off to set up the final at Exeter Citys ground. The day was incredible, our supporters packed in behind the goal were brilliant, we all played so well that day, I managed to score 2 goals in the 3-1 win, the first I headed over the keeper then second half I hit one that deflected in.
“It was also my very last game for Dorchester that day, I decided to retire a month before but told nobody, so for us to get through the Bath City semi and then a final farewell appearance at Exeter with a win and two goals was an incredible finish for me. After the game we did the final lap of honour and I threw all my kit into the supporters, boots, top, shin pads, Del the kit man was not happy, I believe he got the shirt back!!”
If you’ve ever been to a game at the Avenue, you’ve met Keith Kellaway. If he wasn’t front of house or pouring a pint, he’s was in the office or making sure things were running smoothly. What not everyone knows is that between 1969-74, Keith made 81 appearances and scored 10 goals as the club transitioned from the Western league to the Southern league.
“My most memorable game(s) during my playing days were the two F.A.Trophy matches against Telford in 1972. We were drawn at home to play the current holders of the competition Telford on Saturday 26th February 1972 in the Third Round, (the last 16 countrywide) the furthest the Club had ever reached at that time, and only twice since equalled.
“With the game finishing 1-1 after 90 minutes a replay was needed and this is where the story really starts. However all the following circumstances would not have happened if I had taken a chance to score the winner near the end of the game, having just come on as a substitute, the only one sub allowed in those days. Our late Chairman Peter Aiken always reminded me during my early time as the Clubs General Manager that if I had scored that chance we would have gone into the Quarter Final of the Competition and only 2 games from a Wembley final, a point he made to various managers and directors over the years. I can’t remember the chance so I won’t comment!
“This period was during the miners strike where electricity was rationed and we could not play the replay under floodlights, so we had to kick off at 2pm to finish the game in daylight and it was arranged for the following Monday. The arrangement of planning an overnight trip in those days with transport and accommodation needed with just a days notice and all the players having to arrange time off work was difficult to say the least. As a 21 year old at the time the whole experience of an overnight team trip was an exciting prospect,although my boss at the time was not keen on me going with such short notice. Travel in a Bere Regis bus at this time was considerably different from the coaches we use these days and took a long time as I remember.
“I can recall walking around the town the morning of the game and coming across a snooker hall which said Members Only. Our captain at the time Roger Bazeley managed to persuade the owner that we were a famous professional football team and he allowed us all in. Unfortunately the story ends here as we lost the replay 3-1 but happy memories indeed. It was 25 years later until we reached the 3rd Round again – just think what could have happened if I had scored that goal in the first game!”
Over 100 games in two spells at the club (1983, 1989-92) for goalkeeper Jeremy Judd and some key games among them. Now residing in Gibraltar, Jeremy has fond memories of his time at the club, all the way from youth team to first team, via the Dorset Combination League.
“One of the most memorable games for me is against Worcester City first game of the season, new ground and a new professional foul rule. They were also favourites to win league that year. After 20 minutes, in one on one out side box, I basically took player out, got sent off, Peter Morrell went in goal we actually won the game 3-2! I think it was probably the most nerve racking game I watched from the stand and cost me a round of drinks for everybody in lounge after! The other game was Chelsea opening the new ground. The most memorable night for all of us. but all in all I think my best game was my first game back for Dorchester beating Weymouth at their ground: Boxing Day, 1-0, big crowd. Keith Miller – our manager at the time – and Pete Aitken – our chairman – I’ve never seen him so happy! Best win of the season.”
Another man with two spells at the club, Owen’s record over all was 219 games with an excellent return of 121 goals. Another huge fan favourite, his first spell yielded 102 goals in 151 games, which is quite frankly ridiculous. On the subject of that first spell…
“So many good memories and games! It would probably be the 3-2 FA Cup win at Weymouth in front of a big crowd in the local derby. I scored a hat trick, It was 2-2 near the end and I scored the penalty to complete my hat trick and the win. We had a great bunch of lads and I still keep in touch and meet up every year if possible.
“There was an amazing atmosphere on the day. I believe that the Weymouth management thought I was overated and easily marked. So I had a focus, but all the lads love the challenge of Weymouth and I certainly proved them wrong. I’ve always enjoyed a hostile atmosphere and that definitely helped all of us.
“One memory was of a fan putting a police helmet on me. Finally a great moment for Stuart Morgan and what a great manager and person he is. He was a top manager!”
402 games and 13 goals in 10 seasons for the club before his move to Tiverton towards the end of last season, Neil is another man who has seen many highs and lows in his time at the club. His favourite game is shared by one other player in this piece, Neil has his shirt from this game framed at his home.
“I’ve got so many good memories but has to be the Plymouth game for me. Big occasion, on tv, big crowd and winning the game. In the dressing room before that game there were a few nervous faces, but in my career at Dorchester I loved the big games, the Derby days and the big grounds, I loved them. Even after Plymouth, the follow up game at Luton, even though we lost it was so big for the club to go to Kenilworth Road.
“On a personal note for me playing for a club the I held really close up my heart meant a lot. Every time I put on a shirt it was massive for me, obviously there were highs and lows, but that’s football. I’ve played with good players that have gone onto do amazing things in their careers. Of the many seasons I’ve had at Dorchester, this was by far the best team I played in.”
330+ games and 49 goals in more spells at the club than we can actually count, Nathan’s no nonsense (put lightly) playing style and sheer hatred of Weymouth help make Nathan a popular player among fans. Once scored the perfect hat trick away at Frome but no footage of it exists.
“It’s got to be the Plymouth game. 1st round of fa cup and live on tv towin that was just amazing! That year has to be the best team I’ve played in we never knew when we’re beat great team togetherness on and off the pitch! I get nervous playing in every game so must of sat on the toilet 3 times before the game! At breakfast the boys were bantering and we was in good spirits we believed if we kept it 0-0 we could nick a goal & what a goal it was.”
And there ends part 2 of Players Choice. Still to come in part 3 is another father and son pairing that includes our first manager, the left footed scorer of some stunning goals, ex-skippers and a derby debut that went pretty well. By the way, anyone know how to get a hold of Mark Morris? We’ve got a question for him. SV
Thanks once more to all the players who have contributed thus far.
Photo credit: Idris Martin and his superb galleries of bygone years. https://idrismartin.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/last-historic-images-for-a-while/