Dorking Wanderers 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0
Vanarama National League South
November 17th 2020
Dorking drew for the first time in the league this season, contesting a goalless draw with Dulwich Hamlet under the lights at Meadowbank.
Wes Fogden was rested for tonight's encounter after picking up a knock on Saturday, meaning that Niall McManus would again start in central midfield, this time along side James McShane, making his return to the starting eleven. Matt Briggs would come into the side on the right of midfield, Jimmy Muitt making way.
Wanderers wasted very little time getting on the front foot, Alfie Rutherford bursting down the right channel inside the opening sixty seconds and cutting back for Niall McManus, who's strike inside the area was blocked for a corner. Deon Moore responded for the visitors minutes later with his own surge forward, turning past Sam Beard at pace before having his effort charged down well by Ed Harris.
It set the tone for an openly contested first half; the physically imposing visitors well organised but also getting the ball forward quickly, striving to find their hard-pressing front duo. The approach forced Wanderers to be more instinctive with their play and go more direct.
Jason Prior got up well to aerially flick on for Rutherford, his strike from outside the area straight down stopper Craig Grainger, and Barry Fuller was unlucky his cross from the right channel was just too high for the striker waiting in space towards the back stick. Up the other end, a lovely weighted through ball from midfield set Sadik Balarabe on his way, but on arrival into the penalty area he would drive his strike over the bar.
Around the half-hour Wanderers would spurn their best chances of the half; Matt Briggs getting to the byline and pulling the ball back to McShane, his shot blocked at point blank range, and Prior would again guide the ball on to Rutherford in similar fashion to his earlier effort, this time dragging his shot wide. Nicky Wheeler nearly forced an own goal with a dangerous delivery across goal as we approached half-time, and Prior and Harris would also head wide of target.
Right before the referee's whistle Aaron Barnes tested Slav Huk and forced a brilliant reaction save from the stopper, the attacker keeping the ball in play right on the touchline before unleashing a pacey effort across goal from the tight angle.
Half-Time: Dorking 0 Dulwich 0
The Wanderers defence came to the fore at both ends of the pitch just minutes into the restart. Beard would do really well to win an awkward bouncing ball under pressure outside the area, and in the subsequent attack Harris would ping the ball into the opposition box with precision, Briggs meeting it with a perfect knockdown to tee up McShane, who's strike would cannon back off the crossbar. Briggs would produce another excellent first touch moments later ahead of driving into area from the right, but lashed his strike over the bar.
Dulwich were getting increasing success down the right channel themselves and posed a couple of troubling deliveries close to goal around the hour mark, but with no one gambling in the six yard box to take advantage.
Marc White introduced Jimmy Muitt and Dan Gallagher shortly after, and with twenty minutes to go Muitt would initiate a succession of chances which summed up the Wanderers night in front of goal. His rapid delivery across goal deflected off a defender and looped over the bar; the follow up corner ball leading to Briggs striking over the top and Prior's header being saved comfortably by Grainger as play was recycled again.
Rutherford and McManus would have strikes blocked after finding space to run into, but the Hamlet defence were continuing to stand up well to what was being thrown at them, and were still getting joy on the attacking right, Sanchez Ming cutting back for Timlin to blast over, Giovanni McGregor also dragging an effort wide after the ball was worked across.
Dan Gallagher capped the frustration of the evening by collecting a second yellow card with a couple of minutes to go. Going in with a late challenge initially played on as an advantage, the referee came back to Gallagher as the chance concluded and brandished the red card.
Muitt and McManus tried to fashion something from the left in stoppage time as Wanderers shrugged off the dismissal and pressed on, but it was not to be.
Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:
"I felt we had the better of the first half, they had a great spell in the middle where we started going more direct, but for more composure in front of goal it should have been different. Second half we were turning our back on the ball, going too direct, they were doubling up, and I was disappointed we couldn't get back on the ball really. I'd say across the 90 a draw was probably a fair result."
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 3 Sam Beard (20 Dan Gallagher 58'), 5 Ed Harris, 6 Niall McManus, 8 Matt Briggs, 9 Jason Prior, 10 Alfie Rutherford (18 Luke Moore 75'), 11 James McShane, 15 Kane Wills, 16 Nicky Wheeler (7 Jimmy Muitt 58'), 22 Barry Fuller (c)
Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 14 Jake Gallagher
Yellow Cards: Rutherford 45+', Dan Gallagher 68', 88'
Red Cards: Dan Gallagher 88'
Dulwich Hamet (4-4-2): 1 Charlie Grainger, 2 Sanchez Ming, 3 Sandro Embalo (15 Jordan Agahatise 13'), 4 Michael Timlin (c), 5 Jessie Debrah, 6 Quade Taylor, 7 Sadik Balarabe (16 Tyrique Hyde 63'), 8 Giovanni McGregor, 9 Danny Mills (17 Reise Allassani 75'), 10 Deon Moore, 11 Aaron Barnes
Unused Subs: 12 Ruben Sammut, 14 Diogo Barbosa
Yellow Cards: McGreggor 84', Allassani 86'
Referee: Aji Ajibola
Sponsors Man of the Match: Barry Fuller