Dorking Wanderers 3-2 Kingstonian
Dorking's pre-season schedule took another step up in preparations as Kingstonian FC of the Isthminian Premier Division were the visitors on another sunny, warm afternoon at Meadowbank. Manager Marc White made a couple of changes to the team that started last week with Sami El-Abd (skippering the side) and Jerome Beckles coming in for Jerry O'Sullivan and Jake Gallagher respectively.
Kingstonian kicked off facing towards the clubhouse. In contrast to last week Dorking struggled to get going throughout the opening half-hour, unable to retain possession and get into their passing game, chancing on longer balls, succumbing to ill-disciplined challenges in frustration. The step up in quality was hammered home as early as the opening minute, Dan Bennett dragging an effort wide of goal, quickly followed by good work down the attacking left going unawarded as a threatening cross was headed clear by Ed Harris. The away side were moving the ball well, ex-Woking attackers Fabio Sairava and Louis Theophanous linking well with Bennett and Reece Hall, their play leading to a succession of free kick awards in dangerous areas as the half progressed. Sairava had already struck the wall with a previous effort before opening the scoring on 16 minutes, placing a beautiful effort into the top corner. Shortly after, Hall and Sairava both struck free kick's and forced good saves from Slav Huk down to his left hand side. The referee's patience fully tested by this point, Ed Harris picked up a caution for the challenge leading to the latter free kick.
The moment seemed to be the end of testing period for Wanderers who dug in and started to finally get the ball down and play, showing spirit to get ahead going into the break. James McShane got things going with the first effort on target, latching on to a headed clearance from Ed Harris that seemed to travel further than it had any right to. David Ray did well to get the down the attacking right twice in quick succession, the first leading to a close Gez Sole effort flagged offside, the second leading to the equalizer, Elliot Buchanan making it 3-in-3 and heading home from close range on 31 minutes, great persistence from Jerome Beckles had instigated the attack. On 39 minutes similar determination was shown by James McShane in the middle of the park, sparking a move which eventually led to Tom Richards cutting in from the left and burying a deflected effort to make it 2-in-2 for him. Despite the comeback Kingstonian were still threatening leading up the break, Theophanous unlucky not to connect with a volley on the edge of the box and full-back Sean Clohessy boldly attempting to chip Slav Huk but the ball caught swiftly.
Half-Time: Dorking 2 Kingstonian 1
Sub Jerry O'Sullivan had tested the Kingstonian keeper with a cross-turned-goalbound-effort inside the opening minute of the second half, but the away side did begin the second period better. Theophanous squandering two really good chances inside the area prior to Sairava nearly rounding the keeper (penalty appeals waved away), and the resulting corner headed just over by sub Ben Dyett. In similar fashion to last week Marc White made a few changes at half-time before changing most of the rest of the side around the hour mark, part of that included the welcomed return of Jason Prior back from injury. Within a minute of coming on, the striker was back in goal scoring business, putting Wanderers 3-1 to the good, driving a penalty low into the bottom left corner. Nial McManus had won the penalty after being clipped in the area, and it was one of many instrumental attacking moments by the tireless McManus in the second period, having been moved into central midfield from the right at half time. Despite the plethora of substitutions the game still ebbed and flowed and certainly remained competitive, sub Sam Beard and McManus both picking up cautions for late challenges. Kingstonian got a second goal in the 68th minute, Dan Thompson heading home powerfully from a corner kick. A great save from close range denied Thompson a second after intricate build up in the box, and sub Youssek Bamba was lively, getting in behind a few times, dragging a couple of efforts wide. Wanderers tried to find Prior with a couple of good aerial deliveries, but troubling efforts on goal were starting to dry up as Wanderers held on to make it three straight victories in pre-season. Whilst Marc White will be pleased his side showed spirit and got the win, he will be hoping for more consistency (and better discipline!) across the 90 minutes next week as local rivals Leatherhead are the visitors in the Surrey Advertiser Cup.
Full-Time: Dorking 3 Kingstonian 2
- By Dan Stobbart