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Bath City 1 Dorking Wanderers 2July 19th

Bath City 1 Dorking Wanderers 2 July 19th 2020 Vanarama National League South

Play Off Eliminator The journey continues. Dorking will play Weymouth in the National League South play-off semi final next Saturday after overcoming Bath City by two goals to one in glorious sunshine behind closed doors at Twerton Park. Wanderers got off to the ideal start, James McShane reacting fastest to punish a weak defensive clearance by the home side after six minutes, and Jason Prior would begin and finish a delightful move with a towering header just before the interval to double the advantage. Ryan Brunt would win and convert a penalty for Bath with ten minutes to go, Ben Dyett adjudged to have handled the ball trying to block a clearance, but despite 'The Romans' late rally and a nervy finale, Wanderers held out. With the exception of Luke Moore, Jack Barham, David Ray and Sami El-Abd, all missing out through injuries and knocks, Marc White had a full squad to pick from for the fixture, able to name up to six subs, and utilise five of them if desired throughout the game. Sam Howes, who's loan deal from Woking has continued to include this play-off period, kept his place in goal, as Wanderers went for the familiar 3-5-2 formation, Jimmy Muitt and Nick Wheeler getting the nod to provide the width, with Elliot Buchanan selected up front alongside Jason Prior. Both teams and officials took a knee before kick off in recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement, and despite the absence of fans the combination of images of fans faces and flags for both sides placed around ground was a nice touch, ensuring the fan presence was very much there in sprit, and the stands devoid of being completely empty. With both teams steady and naturally looking to find their feet in the early going, Wanderers would get reward for their first real attacking intent of the game. Wheeler, who stood out as Wanderers best attacking outlet throughout the match, would win a free kick on the left side after being manhandled, and his subsequent delivery to the middle of the area would only be half-cleared. James McShane reacted fastest and drove home emphatically from several yards out. Amidst both teams still looking to find their rhythms, Bath did push for an immediate response, and ahead of the mid-half water break Adam Mann would be marshalled well in the area after a couple of penetrating runs from midfield, and Tom Smith would strike a set piece from ideal striking range straight at Howes. Sam Pearson headed over from a corner ball in what would be Bath's best opportunity of the half, and a rare moment where aerially Wanderers were caught out, the back three imperious in the air throughout the game. After the water break, a succession of knocks and players going down was capped by Sam Beard colliding with a Bath player in blocking a strike on the edge of the area, and despite trying to play on after going off the field and returning from treatment, it wasn't to be. Ben Dyett would come on in his place just after the half hour. Muitt would put on the afterburners a couple of times down the right side and get balls into the area but with no takers, and Lewis Taylor would drive an effort wide from 25 yards out, but it would be Smith up the other end who went perilously close with a hit from  similar distance, his strike thundering back off the crossbar. With the more direct approach still naturally holding sway for both sides, Wanderers would get reward for producing a moment of real quality to double their advantage. Dropping deep to win the ball in midfield, Prior would feed Niall McManus on the right wing, driving on he would then dispatch a pin-point ball for the arriving Prior in the area who towered a header into the top left corner. Bath immediately looked for a response as Sam Pearson skilfully made his way into the area, Ed Harris on hand to get a timely block in, as Wanderers then continued to deal with a series of balls being lofted into the box from throws and crosses. 'The Romans' were afforded another set piece in ideal territory right before half time, Lloyd James this time on striking duty, but unable to get the ball over the wall. Half-Time: Bath 0 Dorking 2 Jake Gallagher came on for Elliot Buchanan at the break as Marc White looked to shore things up, McShane pushing on from midfield to play close to Prior. By contrast Jerry Gill looked to supplement his attacking options, introducing attacker Ryan Brunt for defender Connor Riley-Lowe. Both sides carved out chances after the restart, Wheeler finding McShane but just too far beyond the back stick to get his header on target. Dan Martin would screw a half-volley wide after a bit of head tennis in the Dorking box, and Wheeler would find Prior from a corner, the header would land on target from the big number nine, but the referee blew up for a foul elsewhere in the area. Just before the water break Sam Howes would do really well to punch the ball away in an aerial 50/50 with sub Brunt, and the offside flag saved Wanderers after the defence were opened up for the only real time by a through ball from midfield. Following the second water break, Bath rallied to really try and rescue the game, and from the Wanderers perspective it generated a nail biting closing ten minutes. It was initiated after Pearson and Brunt looked to pull the trigger from point blank range as the ball bobbled about in the penalty area, Ben Dyett ultimately penalised for handling the ball in trying to block the resulting effort, penalty awarded. Brunt would step up and make no mistake, directing the ball hard and low into the bottom left corner. Howes would again win the ball well in the air under duress, Smith would blast an effort just past the top right stanchion, and most agonisingly, the ball sat up nicely for sub Andy Watkins again from point blank range, looking nailed on to score he squandered the chance, driving the effort over the top and wide. A spliced clearance right in the last action nearly opened the door for Bath again, but it was hoofed away, and Wanderers got over the line. In the unprecedented conditions, and with the form guide non-existent, the quality and flow of football was always likely to suffer in the circumstances, so concentration, discipline and taking advantage in key moments was always going to be difference, and Wanderers were superior to their opponents in both aspects today. The back three were imperious for the majority of the game, and at both ends of the first half the dependable McShane and Prior again demonstrated their quality with clinical finishes. Save for the fraught finale, Marc White will be hopeful of the same again next week from his side, as Weymouth await, and the opportunity to get through to the National League South Play Off Final. - Daniel Stobbart Bath City: 1 Ryan Clarke (c), 2 Dan Martin, 3 Connor Riley-Lowe (10 Ryan Brunt 46'), 4 Tom Smith, 5 Dan Bowry, 7 Adam Mann (8 Andy Watkins 58'), 12 Dan Ball, 15 Sam Pearson (11 Ross Stearn 88'), 17 Tom Richards, 18 Alex Hartridge, 20 LLoyd James (9 Zac Smith 71') Unused Subs: 6 Frankie Artus, 13 Harvey Wiles-Richards Goals: Brunt 80' Yellow Cards: Tom Richards 56' Dorking Wanderers: 1 Sam Howes, 2 Issac Philpot, 3 Sam Beard (5 Ben Dyett 32'), 4 Ed Harris (c), 8 Niall McManus, 9 Jason Prior, 10 Elliot Buchanan (14 Jake Gallagher 46'), 11 James McShane, 16 Jimmy Muitt (15 Matt Briggs 58'), 17 Lewis Taylor (6 Dan Gallagher 76'), 12 Nick Wheeler (20 Tom Richards 76') Unused Subs: 13 Slav Huk Goals: McShane 6', Prior 41' Yellow Cards: Prior 81', Marc White 66', 90' Red Cards: Marc White 90' Referee: Sunny Gill SOCIAL MEDIA @DORKINGWDRS Interested IN playing, supporting, sponsoring, or something else, then please  get in touch


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