“It was during the miners strike when electricity was rationed so, we couldn’t play under the floodlights “

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…

Matt Groves:

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.”

Peter Poore:

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”

Carl Poore:

“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.

Kevin Hill:

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.

Peter Morrell:

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.

Peter Morrell and Jeremy Judd, who both feature in this article, line up for the club photo call in 1991.

“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!”

Simon Radcliffe:

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.

Matty Holmes:

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!!”

Keith Kellaway:

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.

Riding in style on a Bere Regis coach.

“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!”

Jeremy Judd:

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.

Jeremy Judd saves from Chelsea’s Kerry Dixon in the official opening game at the Avenue Stadium. Note the unfinished terrace roof in the background.

“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.”

Owen Pickard:

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!”

Neil Martin:

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.”

Nathan Walker:

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/

“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.