The Magpies’ longest trip of the season consisted of a protracted 3-hour coach journey to Merthyr in South Wales.
On the back of a 3-0 win from last week’s game against Poole in the CSS League Challenge Cup, Manager Matty Holmes led his team into the Dragons’ lair. He returned Gerard Benfield to his starting XI in goal, and was rewarded with possibly one of the best performance the big keeper has ever made for the Magpies.
A win at Merthyr would have extended Wimborne’s winning streak to 3 games. Before last week’s two games, Merthyr’s home league record showed only 1 win out of 5 games this season, so there was reason for optimism.
With a crowd of just under 400, Wimborne went underway in the first half adapting to the cold breeze that flowed in the afternoon from the hill tops of Southern Wales. On 15 minutes Franklyn Clarke curled in a low shot to the bottom right corner which was parried out of danger. Merthyr’s No.7 fired in a promising shot from the right-hand side which just skipped past the left post.
Running down the right-side, Luke Burbidge drilled in a close range shot which was saved and then the rebounding effort came back to Luke as he fired wide in the 43rd minute. Franklyn Clarke volleyed the ball from range outside the box as it just went over the goal.
Wimborne’s closest effort came on 45 minutes when Toby Holmes was played through past the defence and netted… only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside. The Magpies couldn’t just quite find a goal but their tremendous effort of keeping Merthyr out of the game was most promising.
The second half was mainly dominated by the Dragons. Merthyr kept attacking and attacking, the homes side’s no 14 fired a quick shot towards Benfield as he just managed to save the oncoming fast shot.
Perhaps Gerard had watched the video of ex-Wimborne goalkeeper Jason Harvell’s brilliant performance against Merthyr a few years ago, as the big stopper started to replicate that heroic display for the last 40 minutes of play.
It was on the 51st minute that Gerard managed to somehow save three shots within half a minute. Twelve minutes later, defender Matty Oldring used his height to clear the ball off the line, and following that there was another great save by Gerard.
Despite Benfield’s efforts, Merthyr’s first goal came on 69 minutes when Ian Traylor broke the deadlock from just outside the 6-yard box.
Wimborne carried on fighting till the very end hoping to at least equalise after all that valiant defending. However, The Dragons sealed off the game with one last blow when Kerry Morgan scored from an oncoming cross to his right on the 92nd minute.
Wimborne are set to play Tiverton Town who sit in the top half of the table, when the come to Wimborne this coming Saturday. In an attempt to maintain their 6-home game winning streak Wimborne will want to continue this winning streak because at the moment most of our points are from home games. We would like to see you all there to cheer on the lads!
Max Emes reporting.