• Dan Stobbart

Chelmsford City 0 Dorking Wanderers 1

Chelmsford City 0 Dorking Wanderers 1

February 15th 2021

Vanarama National League South

Dorking moved five points clear at the top of the table after a hard-fought victory over Chelmsford City at Melbourne Park. Matt Briggs goal on the half-hour was enough for Wanderers to take maximum points for the second time in three days following Saturday's home win over Welling.

There was just the one change to the side that started that game, Niall McManus coming in on wide left in place of Nicky Wheeler who dropped to the bench.

Through a frenetic opening to the game the combination of Barry Fuller and Matt Briggs picked up where they left off from the weekend with effective play down the right channel; a couple of near-miss deliveries in the opening minutes proceeding Briggs accurately picking out Alfie Rutherford outside the six-yard box, the striker's turn and shot blocked for what should have been a corner ball. From the opposite channel McManus found Wes Fogden at the edge of the box, but his strike drifted wide.

The Claret's attacking response was to continually look to release the pacey Simeon Jackson with through balls from central midfield. McManus, Sami El-Abd and Briggs all produced timely blocks and interceptions to prevent any goal threat manifesting, the home-debuting former Norwich striker going closest with a fierce effort from distance which Lewis Carey had to punch away.

Fuller and Briggs again combined to find McShane in the penalty area, skewing his shot into a wayward pass, before turning provider with a free kick from deep, finding Jason Prior who just couldn't get enough direction on his header, sending it straight into the hands of Lee Worgan.

The early pace to the game may have dropped off but the combative tone certainly wasn't easing up, plenty of physicality and endeavour in the middle of the park but neither side able to establish a rhythm, not aided by a 'no holds barred' approach from the referee, letting many challenges go and very much opting for 'play on' in the marginal calls.

On the half-hour, Wanderers managed to break the deadlock with a moment of quality from Briggs, cutting in from the right at pace and driving a powerful shot into the back of the net via a deflection.

Approaching half-time the Dorking backline were continuing to be solid in the face of increasingly direct play from the hosts, Callum Harrison manging to recycle a headed clearance with a half-volley over the bar, and Jake Cass smashing one in the same direction in frustration shortly after a penalty appeal was waved away.

Half-Time: Chelmsford 0 Dorking 1

Marc White made a switch at half-time, Luke Moore coming on for Alfie Rutherford, the change pushing James McShane into a more advanced position behind Jason Prior up top.

Inside the opening ten seconds of the restart, a pin-point delivery from midfield landed at the feet of Briggs in the channel, beating his man and driving into the area he couldn't keep his shot down, sending the ball into the cricket nets behind the goal. McManus found Prior from the left shortly afterwards, the Wanderers top-scorer cushioning a header down for Moore to strike from the edge of the box, forcing Worgan into a low save.

El-Abd was alert to a threatening delivery from Chez Isaac from the right after he did well to keep the ball in play, and also kept Harrison at bay after the midfielder burst from midfield into the penalty, deprived of getting a shot off.

Kane Wills instigated a couple of moves which were unlucky not to come off; first producing a brilliant through ball for McShane who managed to stay onside, the move breaking down when trying to then play in McManus, before the trio linked to tee up Moore on the edge of the box winding up a strike, a Claret's centre-half nipping in to make the interception just in time.

Dylan Asonganyi and Adeloa Oluwo struck and headed over the bar respectively, before Prior looked to drop a header down for McShane inside the area, 'Macca' rounding the advanced Worner but having his strike cleared a few yards from goal by a defender. Wills and Moore then shifted the ball across to sub Jimmy Muitt advancing on the far side of the area, his firmly struck effort very well saved by Worgan at his near post.

Robbie Simpson's side rallied late on with a couple of headers going close, including one cleared just in front of the post, but couldn't salvage an equaliser as Wanderers held on to keep the clean sheet and take maximum points.

Marc White said after the game:

'Yeah happy with the win, difficult place to come, pitch was a bit inconsistent in places, same for both sides of course. Robbie had his team well set up, shut down the half spaces well and made us work hard for it. We defended brilliantly, back to back clean sheets, well organised. Game was spoilt by the ref, good guy but just didn't want to make a decision, thought they had a pen, we had at least two. Great result, especially going Saturday - Monday.'

Daniel Stobbart

Chelmsford City: 1 Lee Worgan, 4 Anthony Church (c), 5 Michael Spillane (19 Robbie Simpson 90'), 8 Dylan Asonganyi (3 Cole Kpekawa 75') , 9 Jake Cass, 10 Adam Morgan, 11 Thomas Wraight, 12 Simeon Jackson, 15 Adeloa Oluwo, 16 Chez Izaac, 17 Callum Harrison

Unused Subs: 13 Guy Norton, 14 Reggie Gregory, 20 Anisius Lewis

Yellow Cards: Oluwo 64', Morgan 86'

Dorking Wanderers: 1 Lewis Carey, 3 Sam Beard, 4 Sami El-Abd, 6 Niall McManus, 8 Matt Briggs (7 Jimmy Muitt 73'), 9 Jason Prior, 10 Alfie Rutherford (18 Luke Moore 46'), 11 James McShane, 15 Kane Wills, 22 Wes Fogden (20 Dan Gallagher 80'), 23 Barry Fuller (c)

Unused Subs: 2 Isaac Philpot, 16 Nicky Wheeler

No Cards

Goals: Briggs 30'

Ref: Andrew Humphries

DWFCTV MOTM: Barry Fuller