Non-League: Bideford 1-0 Dorchester

First-half Sampson strike enough to beat Magpies

The Robins dashed the Magpies’ hopes of recording three league victories in a row for the first time this season at the Sports Ground in Devon.

Dorchester enjoyed plenty of possession and territory but a solitary Ian Sampson goal was the difference between the two sides in the end.

Lewis Morgan returned to boss Mark Jermyn’s side after a groin injury so Sam Lanahan dropped to the bench after starting at Dunstable a week earlier.

And, as expected, Ben Watson lined up to face his former club for the first time since leaving to join the Magpies last month.

The pressure in the early stages came from the visitors and Dan Smith nearly capitalised on a poor kick by Robins’ keeper Steve Oliver just three minutes in.

Apart from some neat play involving Kevin Squire, Billy Tucker and Micky Parcell, the hosts had to play second fiddle to the county town outfit.

And Bideford defender Nick Barker needed to make a well-timed challenge on Smith to prevent the Dorchester man getting a sight on goal.

However, against the run of play, the home side went in front on 22 minutes.

Squire hooked a long ball over the top of the Magpies’ defence, Sampson latched on to it and then fired a shot past Alan Walker-Harris.

The goal sparked the Robins into life and soon after Ben Wood curled an effort wide of the target.

Back came Dorchester and Nathan Walker almost levelled things up when he headed just over from a set-piece.

But Bideford finished the half the stronger and had it not been for some stoic Magpies’ defending it may well have been 2-0 at the break.

First, Tucker saw his effort blocked on the edge of the box and then a shot from Squire was cleared off the line.

An immediate response after half-time would have been ideal for the visitors.

And had referee Andy Bennett given them a penalty for a challenge by Parcell on Morgan then they might have got one.

Like the first half, Dorchester bossed possession in the opening stages of the second period, with Bideford content to absorb the pressure and look to hit their opponents on the counter-attack.

The game then started to become stretched and that suited the hosts.

Sampson should have done better when he was presented with the chance of a second, while skipper Richard Groves forced Walker-Harris to tip his free-kick around the post.

Entering the last 10 minutes of the contest and clear-cut chances were still at a premium for the Magpies.

In fact, the home side were the ones looking more likely to score, and Squire poked wide at the end of another counter-attack.

Read more at Dorset Echo