Braintree Town 0 Dorking Wanderers 4
Vanarama National League South
October 17th 2020
Dorking continued their winning start to the season with a comfortable 0-4 win away at Braintree Town. Wes Fogden made the breakthrough just before the interval, before a brace from James McShane and goal for Jimmy Muitt sealed the victory in the second half.
Marc White was able to welcome Barry Fuller back from suspension in the only change from last weekend's victory at home to Slough, Callum Kennedy making way. He, along with Matt Briggs, Giuseppe Sole and Jake Gallagher would all miss out on a place in the matchday squad through injury.
Wanderers started brighter and through Jason Prior had a couple of decent early chances. Inside the opening 60 seconds in fact, the forward would head wide from a Niall McManus delivery from the left, then meeting Barry Fuller's overlapping cross from the opposite channel shortly after, this time heading on target, but straight at Preston Edwards.
The lively Rohdell Gordon and Liam Smyth both flashed efforts wide of goal as the visitors made their first ventures forward around the quarter hour mark. Prior would find himself in the thick of the action again, first not getting enough purchase on an attempted volley after Jimmy Muitt's deflected ball from the right found him in the six-yard box, before switching to defensive duty, heading away a dangerous whipped in ball close to goal.
As the half went on Wanderers continued to have greater command of the ball, but were unable to improve on what they had carved out early on in the final third, crosses and corners just not landing, opting to persist through the channels. In tandem with fouls accumulating for both sides including a caution each, and an improving work rate from 'The Iron' closing down in midfield, the half was fading out in scrappy fashion.
Then, right before the interval, successive moments at each end would prove to be defining. The bounce of a long ball up field deceived Slav Huk, and allowed Smyth to round the stopper, an open goal at his mercy. The striker misjudged his angles though, and ran the ball into the side netting.
In the follow up attack the other way, Wanderers would punish the home side. Working the ball into the Braintree area and with the defence unable to clear their lines, Wes Fogden struck hard and low, clinically finding the bottom left corner from near the edge of the box.
Half-Time: Braintree 0 - 1 Dorking
Nicky Wheeler would come on for Niall McManus at the interval in a like for like change on the left side of midfield. The sub would nearly make an immediate impact; Rutherford leading a quick counter and switching play to Fogden, the midfielder then laying off for Wheeler on the edge of area, but leaning back slightly, he blasted over the bar.
Two minutes later however, Dorking did manage to double their advantage. A long throw from the right was allowed to travel towards the back stick via an Ed Harris flick on, and amongst a cluster of bodies McShane managed to get a decisive headed touch, easing the ball beyond Edwards.
A couple of injury delays immediately broke up momentum after the goal; Harris suffering a facial injury and having to be replaced by Sam Beard, and Romario Dunne coming on for Olumide Oluwatimilhin who picked up a knock.
Dorking's final substitution was implemented just past the hour, and saw them switch to a 4-4-2 to try and consolidate control of the game. Dan Gallagher came on for Rutherford, slotting into central defence, meaning Fogden would push up top to play alongside Prior.
George Borg's youthful side continued to work hard and look to get on the front foot as they had done throughout the contest, certainly not sitting back, but were still not providing any tests for Huk, and perhaps becoming worn down, began to afford Wanderers more spaces to get forward as the half ticked on.
Isaac Philpot's deft touch from a Prior knockdown drifted just past the near post, and McShane would drive a couple of efforts off target after doing well to find space around the edge of the box, Kane Wills also having a crack from distance as Wanderers pushed on in search of more goals.
Beard and Fuller did have to produce a couple of key headed clearance's up the other end, but with just over ten minutes to go Dorking would seal the victory with two goals in five minutes.
Muitt would play in an overlapping Fuller down the right, his cut back finding McShane in the area in space, and the midfielder made no mistake netting his second goal of the afternoon with a first-time low finish. A shortly worked throw in taken by Fuller would then be fed quickly into Muitt down the same channel, and after neatly averting his marker to get into the area, he unleashed a measured finish into the far-left side of the net beyond Edwards.
Fogden and McShane were unlucky a one-two attempt from the left didn't come off, as Wills then rocketed a half-volley narrowly past the post, Wanderers unable to quite make it five in the final minutes.
Gary Pascoe spoke to assistant manager Tom Dukes after the game:
'First half thought we were comfortable, should have converted our chances, they only had a couple of chances which went over I think. Second half I thought they had more of the ball than I would have liked them to, the forced changes disrupted us a bit, but after the third goal we were okay.'
With Oxford City involved in the FA Cup next weekend, Wanderers are next in action away to Hungerford Town in a fortnight's time.
Braintree Town (4-4-2): 1 Preston Edwards, 2 Jamie Fielding, 3 Charley O'Keefe, 4 Ollie Kensdale, 5 Kyran Clements, 6 Tarik Moore-Azille, 7 George Forrest, 8 Rohdell Gordon (c), 9 Olumide Oluwatimilhin (12 Romario Dunne 60'), 10 Liam Smyth, 11 Louis Yamfam
Unused Subs: 13 Adam Przybek, 14 Johnville Renee, 15 Declan Cameron, 16 Alfie Payne
Yellow Cards: Moore-Azille 29'
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 2 Isaac Philpot, 5 Ed Harris (3 Sam Beard 57'), 6 Niall McManus (16 Nicky Wheeler 46'), 7 Jimmy Muitt, 9 Jason Prior, 10 Alfie Rutherford 20 Dan Gallagher 64'), 11 James McShane, 22 Barry Fuller, 23 Wes Fogden, 15 Kane Wills
Unused Subs: 21 Ben Dyett, 18 Luke Moore
Goals: Fogden 45+', McShane 49', 79', Muitt 84'
Yellow Cards: McManus 25'