Cambridge City boost safety bid as Murphy's law helps inflict defeat on Dorchester Town
Lilywhites earn 1-0 win over Dorchester
A fourth win and fourth clean sheet in a row has seen Cambridge City climb out of the Evo-Stik League Southern, Premier Division relegation places.
Dorchester Town’s Shane Murphy scored the only goal of the game, with the keeper punching Lee Stevenson’s inswinging corner into his own net after 19 minutes.
But while the hard facts will show this game was decided by an own goal, City’s overall performance of containment and dominance was fully rewarding of the three points.
It was a game that they should perhaps have put to bed long before the final whistle, but the resounding attribute was one of resilience.
You may expect that a team battling to beat the drop at this stage of the season would be content to produce a backs-against-the-wall type of display, where anything they could get from the game would be a suitable reward.
However, this was a well-organised and well-marshalled defensive show that provided the youthful attacking pair of Dan Walker and Norman Wabo the opportunity to try to torment the Dorchester defence.
What is most impressive about the way City set up though is their rigid two banks of four.
The players clearly understand the system inside out, with the full-backs and wide midfielders both putting in huge shifts at either end of the pitch in supporting each other in defence and attack.
The workrate of the four means there is little space given for the opposition to exploit.
And by tucking in narrow as a side, organised by central midfielders Lee Stevenson and Harry Norman, it meant that Dorchester were being posed the problem of trying to play their way through City, which they were never able to do.
With the compact nature, the combination play and partnership of Walker and Wabo was able to pose problems. Having formed a partnership at their parent club, you could see the understanding of the duo.
While Wabo is all energy, with deft and clever touches and expert control, Walker’s bigger physical presence means that he takes defenders out of position and runs them ragged, with the same impressive close control as his partner in crime.
Talking of partnerships, Jordan Gent has built up quite an understanding with Jordan Williams this season, but with the latter suspended for the clash with Dorchester, it was up to captain Ross Paterson to stand in at centre-back.
And he provided the type of performance that is needed in the position that City find themselves in the table – no nonsense.
He got a head or boot to nearly every bouncing ball, and it was leadership that the team needed at this point of the season, and the way Paterson punched the air in delight at the final whistle shows just how much the result meant to both him and the team.
That was after City had sustained a late bombardment as Dorchester sought an equaliser, but you always felt the hosts had enough bodies in the way to prevent their opponents from scoring.
And it really should not have come down to that as City had by far and away the best opportunities throughout the game, however, on many occasions their radar was just a bit off target.
But three points was all that was needed, and with them City move out of the relegation places and on to face Kettering away on Easter Monday.
“I think on the balance of play we have probably had the majority of the chances and the best chances,” said City manager Robbie Nightingale.
“I’m pleased with the three points and with another clean sheet, that’s four on the spin now. If you can limit the number of chances you give the opposition then you are always in the game.
“As we have done over the last four or five games, we’ve defended the 18-yard box really well and then we’ve got players around the second ball.”
He added: “It takes us on to a really important game on Monday.”
Cambridge City: Snedker, Robinson, Cooper, Norman, Gent, Paterson, Foxley, Stevenson, Walker, Wabo, Snaith.
Substitutes: Relizani (Foxley, 70), Osei (Wabo, 85).
Dorchester Town: Murphy, Egan, Williams, Bowles, Walker, Martin, Griggs, Vance, Ormrod, Mawford, Blair.
Substitutes: Davis (Blair, 73), Mitchell (Vance, 85).
Referee: Anthony Pope.
Bookings: Dorchester – Bowles (dissent, 74), Walker (dissent, 90).