Heroic mould broken as Hercules is left unmoved

Slough Town

Slough Town

Hercules (16), Blackford (33)
Dorchester Town

Dorchester Town

Lisk (58), Pickard (63)
FA Trophy Attendance: 744 Cliff Hercules
Slough Town were forced to an FA Trophy first round replay by a spirited Dorchester side after coasting to a two-goal half time lead and looking sound for a place in the draw for the second round.

The Rebels stamped some of their Conference pedigree on the first half, taking the lead after 16 minutes through Cliff Hercules and extending it in the 33rd minute through Gary Blackford. But manager Brian McDermott's pre-match warning concerning the potency of the talented Dr Marten's Southern Leaguers suddenly began to sound prophetic.

The Dorset side moved sweetly through the gears after the interval following a subtle reshuffle which pushed ex-Torquay United midfielder Russell Couchlin in a more attacking role and became masters of their own fate.

Well-taken goals by full back Mark Lisk in the 58th minute and former Plymouth Argyle Forward Owen Pickard five minutes later was the reward for knocking their hosts out of their stride.

The Rebels, who were reorganising with a double substitution when Dorchester struck the first blow, regained some of their composure for the last 10 minutes and savedfurther embarrassment

But the Magpies went away on a high and feeling that referee Andrew Harvey was wrong to turn down a 55th minute penalty claim after Derek Simpson appeared to handle Steve Richardson's header on the line. Their task, however, might have been tougher. The dynamic Hercules had Veysey scrambling for a thundering 25-yard drive just before the break, but an off-colour Gary Abbott was beaten to the rebound by the keeper.

Hercules, reverting to a striker role for the tie, showed he has lost none of his talents when opening the scoring with a classic. After the equally impressive Rob Smith had delivered the perfect through ball from deep inside his own half, Hercules brushed past marker Craig Taylor to get onto the curling pass, then enticed Veysey off his line before crashing the ball into the left-hand comer from a tight angle.

Poor marking allowed Blackford to pick his spot with a header from 12 yards as Simpson's cross from the corner flag left the defence flat footed. Dorchester had enjoyed some success in the first half with runs down both flanks, though some wayward finishing failed to punish a defence which looked liable to spring a leak at any time.

When Slough's midfield control suddenly vanished, the defence was found wanting again as Dorchester started to move the ball smoothly around. Slough survived several close calls before being punished for a loose clearance which dropped to Neil Coates on the right touchline. No one picked up the swirling cross which the Dorchester skipper banged back and Lisk rifled the ball home after a well-timed ram on the far post.

Only a superbly executed last-ditch tackle by Smith stopped James Reeve - proving an almost word perfect understudy for injured regular Tommy Kitlick - as he threatened to level the scores on the hour. But three minutes later Reeve nodded on a bounding clearance and Pickard confidently hoisted the ball over the oncoming Paul Wilkerson from the edge of the box to square the tie.

With the goal at his mercy, Reeve then swung and missed at a Lisk cross which could have spelled disaster for Slough who were waiting for the tide to turn. It didn't.

Fans could only ponder what other wonders the heroic Hercules, now on the brink of England-semi-professional honours as a centre half might have performed had he been where he was most needed after the break.

Dorchester Town Lineup


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