SKIPPER Scott Arnold led Wimborne to a memorable victory and then conceded the “under-performing” Magpies owed boss Steve Cuss a strong finish to the season.

Second-half goals from Mark Gamble and Sam Griffin helped Wimborne halt a run of four successive home defeats as they stunned leaders Merthyr at Cuthbury yesterday.

The Magpies, who had lost six of their seven previous games, also had goalkeeper Jason Harvell to thank after he saved a first-half penalty from Martyrs’ Gavin Williams.

Free-scoring Merthyr had arrived in Dorset on the back of a 12-0 home win over Guildford and having plundered no fewer than 24 goals in their past four games.

The win ensured Arnold would celebrate his 29th birthday in style and he told the Daily Echo: “We know we have been below par and under-performing so this was a monkey off our backs. It has been a frustrating time for everyone and the win was a massive relief.

“We played well against Cirencester in our last game but luck was against us. We scored two brilliant goals against Merthyr and really got amongst them. It was a great penalty save from Jason and maybe that was the bit of luck we needed.

“Everyone knows how hard the manager works and how desperate he is for us to succeed. We have let him down because we should be winning more games which is why it is important to have a late surge. He deserves that and we owe it to ourselves and to everyone at the club because it has been a tough time.”

Despite the win, Wimborne, who had been fancied to mount a title challenge this season, are still 11 points shy of the play-off places with 15 games to go, starting with the visit of Swindon Supermarine on Tuesday.

Arnold added: “It is going to take a helluva run for us to make the play-offs but who knows. We needed a result like this to kick-start our season because we have been stuttering. We seem to play better against the top teams and we deserved something from the Cirencester game as well.

“We know consistency is the key but we have found it so hard to put together a run of positive results. We have a brilliant squad but, for some reason, we haven’t quite gelled at times. Hopefully, this win will be a springboard for us to finish the season strongly.”

Meanwhile, frontman Jamie Davidson agreed terms on an 18-month contract extension following the victory and will remain with the club at least until the end of next season.

Magpies: Harvell, Arnold, Oliver, Maybury, Costello, Blake, Griffin (Kemble, 90), Davidson (Phillipson-Masters, 85), Stokoe, Gamble, Webb. Unused subs: Burton-Hemmings, Roast, Grose.