Tom Phipp and Craig Stone make it three wins out of four on the road for the Fleet…
After a week of analysis about Fleet’s striking options it was ironic that the first win in four games arrived courtesy of two midfielders who had never scored for their club before.
And with Liam Daish absent for family reasons, it was Paul McCarthy who stepped up to get a second taste of the management role having briefly shared caretaker duties with Steve McKimm in 2005.
The Fleet welcomed back Derek Duncan while Ricky Shakes started with Ashley Carew missing after failing a fitness test and Ugo Udoji relegated to the bench. New signing Gareth Williams was forced to settle for a place on the bench.
The home side, without a win in seven games, started with new loan signings Danny Ings from Bournemouth and ex-Fleet man Giuseppe Sole adding potency to a strike force short on goals.
For the Fleet, Ricky Shakes and Calum Willock sought to get involved from the start but the home side looked more threatening than their lowly league position suggested and they used the wide spaces to good effect.
But the breakthrough arrived for the visitors on 18 minutes when Tom Phipp bagged his first goal since stepping up from the youth team to keep Fleet’s away impetus going.
Dorchester quickly found their feet, however, and fought back within seven minutes. A ball in from the right caught the Fleet defence napping and from the tightest of angles, Ings created space for himself to squeeze the ball past Preston Edwards.
The highly-rated Ings was causing all sorts of problems for the Fleet back line and on 34 minutes he twisted and turned Paul Lorraine and played Ryan Moss in but the ball flashed across the line and took a deflection for a corner. From that, Sole swung in a deep cross and Edwards eventually grabbed the ball as it bobbled inside the six-yard box just waiting for a boot to convert it.
Clint Easton replaced the injured Derek Duncan after half-time and Dorchester came out strongly in the second half. They had the Fleet on the rack for a period and Moss had another good chance on 51 minutes. But gradually the Fleet forced their way back into proceedings and Willock and Shakes had half chances as the visitors stepped it up from the hour mark.
That time period coincided with the introduction of Williams for Michael West who seemed to be carrying a knock. Shakes again went close, heading just wide from Willock’s cross on 62 minutes and Williams drew a great save from the goalkeeper after cutting inside two defenders and letting fly with a shot.
But just as the game seemed to be petering out to a seemingly inevitable all-square conclusion, the Fleet struck what proved to be a winner with eight minutes left on the clock. Chris Henry’s ball in found its way out to Craig Stone on the edge of the box and he let it bounce before rifling a shot into the top corner.
Despite the referee finding several minutes of extra time, the Fleet hung on to record their third win in four away games to maintain an unbeaten record on the road and keep in touch with the play-off positions.
TEAM: Edwards, Henry, Duncan (Easton 46), Shakes, Pooley, Lorraine, West (Williams 60), Marwa, Willock, Phipp (Sealey 81), Stone. Subs not used: Hagan, Udoji.
Calum Willock won the Staines man of the match with 36% of the vote. Who deserved it at Dorchester? Vote [ HERE ].