Dorking return to league action with a festive double rather than triple bill this week, as back to back encounters with Havant & Waterlooville fulfil the standard Boxing Day and New Year obligations. An away game at Dulwich Hamlet had been schedued in between, but has unfortunately been postponed due to Covid-19 protocols. Last Saturday Wanderers FA Trophy run come to an end for this season at the third round stage after a valiant display on the road at Southend United. Backed by excellent support, Alfie Rutherford had got Wanderers off to a perfect start on five minutes with a fine individual goal in front of the red and white contingent in the away end. 'Shrimpers' top scorer Rhys Murphy blazed a penalty kick over the bar before Sam Dalby did manage to get the hosts back on terms not long before the interval. Dorking did see plenty of the ball in the second half but couldn't take their chances, and Bobby-Joe Taylor was also unable to score from the spot, his penalty saved by the debuting Collin Andeng Ndi. A super strike from Norwich City loanee Matt Dennis proved decisive in the end as the National League Premier side secured a 2-1 win and set up a tie at local Prem rivals Dagenham & Redbridge in the next round. Rutherford's goal was his 14th in all competitions this campaign as he continues his excellent form going into the Havant double bill. He is one of five players within the Wanderers squad who have previously played for the Portsmouth based side; Ed Harris, Josh Taylor and Jason Prior all having plyed their trade on the south coast, as has Wes Fogden, who Marc White confirmed in the update this week is very near to making a return from the injury that has ruled him out since the opening day defeat at Concord. James McShane may be a doubt for the upcoming fixture's as he was substituted early in the second half of the Southend game after picking up a knock. Wanderers had enjoyed back to back league wins ahead of the FA Trophy engagement and will be looking to extend the run in front of what is set to be a bumper crowd at Meadowbank on Boxing Day, before heading down to Westleigh Park seven days later as we see in the New Year. The Hawks
Havant & Waterlooville come in to the upcoming week somewhat mirroring Wanderers in the league; both teams in the play off picture and on the same number of points and games played, with Wanderers boasting the best home form in the division whilst Havant carry the best form on the road. The Hawks again recruited impressively in the close season, with experienced defender Jamie Collins re-joining and linking up again with manager Paul Doswell, midfielder Jake McCarthy arriving after four good seasons at Weymouth and striker Scott Rendell also coming in from Maidstone United. Highly regarded duo Joe Oastler and James Roberts also signed from Oxford City as forward Joe Iaciofano went the other way in the summer, and very recently Doswell has further strengthened his midfield with the vastly experienced Nicky Bailey returning to the club and Jake Andrews arriving on loan from Torquay United, hitting the ground running with a debut goal last time out as Havant won 1-2 at Eastbourne Borough. Jake McCarthy is their top scorer in the league so far with six goals. #Throwback Wanderers last faced Havant at Meadowbank in the final league game before the 2019/20 season was brought to an early finish on points per game. Jason Prior gave Wanderers the lead in the first half but Nicky Bailey's equaliser after the restart and Dean Beckwith's heartbreaking winner with the last action of the game saw The Hawks complete the double over Dorking for the campaign. The sides did not end up meeting each other last term due to the early curtailment.