If there is one result in particular that’d sum up the Peter Taylor era, it’d be our FA Trophy defeat to Dorchester Town. It was a pretty humiliating end to our tenure as holders of the trophy, which had been hard won the year before. Of course, we bounced back and reclaimed the FA Trophy after Taylor left. But that doesn’t mean we’re any happier about the Magpies’ scalp. All we can take is that we faced them at a period when they were in their rudest health. They were competing in Conference South – even if they did finish second-bottom that season.
Dorchester United: The Facts
Greene King Community Stadium
Weymouth Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2RY
It feels like this one could be quite simple – despite the fact the Magpies were founded in 1880. In 1896, the club were founder members of the Dorset League and it seems as if they were here for some time. The best they could do, however, was a title win in 1938. Nine years later, the Dorset League was old hat and the club moved onto the Western League. Not long after, they were promoted from its Division Two.
The Magpies won the Division One title during the 1950s; this being the top flight of the competition. It was a bit of a purple patch for the club; accompanied by a handful of good FA Cup runs at the same time.
The 1970s came along as years often do and the Magpies traded Western League for the Southern League. It took just five seasons to get promotion from Division One South to the Premier Division. While their initial attempt at that level ended in immediate relegation, they would slowly get the hang of it. In doing so, they’d spend a large part (if not all) of the next 25 years in the Premier Division. And, in 2004, that tenacity gained them an opportunity to form part of the new Conference South division.
The club joined the Western League in 1947, winning promotion from Division Two in 1950, and going on to take the league championship in 1954/55. The fifties proved to be a successful decade for the Magpies, winning the Dorset Senior Cup for the first time, and having a number of good runs in the FA Cup facing the likes of Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Port Vale and Plymouth Argyle. In 1954, Dorchester reached the 2nd Round before eventually losing out to York City in front of 5,500 fans at the old Avenue ground, in a season where York went on to reach the semi-finals.
Following four more victories in the Dorset Senior Cup, the club entered the Southern League (Division One South) in 1972. They first tasted success in this division when they finished runners-up to Margate in 1977/78, going unbeaten in the final 16 matches of the season, with manager David Best utilising his links with old club AFC Bournemouth to attract former first-teamers such as John O’Rourke, Jack Howarth and Harry Redknapp to the Avenue.
The formation of the Alliance League (now the Football Conference) unfortunately meant the Magpies ended up back in the reformed Southern Division a year later, but the club celebrated its centenary by winning the Southern Division in 1979/80 by a one-point margin over Aylesbury. Stuart Bell succeeded David Best as manager during the season, and the Magpies went unbeaten in the last 14 games to clinch the title. A young Trevor Senior impressed alongside ever-present top scorer Paul Thorne, whilst Graham Roberts joined neighbours Weymouth early in the campaign for £6,000 before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and England.
How to get to Dorchester Town – Travel Information – Distance: 150 miles
It’s quite simple from Stevenage, taking the A1 southbound, M25 anti-clockwise and M3 towards Southampton. When you eventually get to Southampton and the end of the M3, take the westbound M27 and continue along once this comes to an end; now the A31.
After it becomes the A31, there will be three roundabouts that you’ll have to go straight over before you come to one that needs you to do something different. This is about 15 miles. But it still means you stay on the A31, rather than heading into Bournemouth.
After four more roundabouts and 17 miles, take the third exit at the roundabout for the A35. You’ll need to go across one roundabout and travel 12 miles before the next thing you really need to be awake for; taking the third exit onto the B3147.
By now, you may realise you’re in the vicinity of the stadium. You can reach it by going right and then right again in the retail park.
There is a car park. It apparently costs £2. That’s about as much as we know.
Station: DORCHESTER SOUTH
Services to: LONDON WATERLOO
From the station, use Copper Street to come out onto Weymouth Avenue and turn left. Continue down this road until you see Halfords on your left. Here where the stadium’s road entrance is, and you’ll be able to easily work it out from here.
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