• Dan Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers 1-1 Sutton United

Dorking Wanderers 1 Sutton United 1

Pre-Season Friendly

September 26th 2020

Dorking finished pre-season undefeated as they drew 1-1 with Sutton United behind closed doors at Meadowbank.

Marc White had stated there would be a full squad available heading into the same, excluding Sami El-Abd who would be on commentary duty for the live steam of the game. However, it was confirmed before kick-off that Giuseppe Sole would not be risked after picking up an injury in training, and Callum Kennedy, initially named in the starting eleven, would also miss out after suffering a tweak during the warm up.

Both teams looked to feel their way into the game early on, the pace steady, with Wanderers seeing more of the ball but facing firm resistance from a compact Sutton shape, which was applying good pressure. Barry Fuller would lash the first effort of the game over the bar after a short corner made its way to the back stick, before Will Randall headed over for the visitors after the ball was well worked over to the right side and crossed in.

In the midst of chances dragged wide from David Ajiboye, Omar Bugiel, and then Rob Milsom from a dead ball situation, Nicky Wheeler and James McShane both went to ground in the same defensive sequence after being struck down by the ball. In Wheeler's case it was straight to his wrist, and it would unfortunately bring an end to his afternoon, as well as being a sign of things to come for later in the game. He was substituted for Matt Briggs just before the half hour.

With that succession of chances, 'The U's' were looking the more likely to get ahead and did open the scoring on 27 minutes. Ajiboye and Harry Beautyman linking well down the left before feeding Randall just inside the area, the midfielder dispatching a tidy near-post finish.

Despite continuing to have more of the possession, Wanderers became increasingly flat getting forward as the game went on, the players in the top end of the pitch just not clicking into gear. Niall McManus was the most likely to create something with deliveries coming in from the left, but the final ball coming up frustratingly short. The visitors would go close a couple more times before the break, Randall nearly punishing a giveaway outside the area, Huk comfortably getting behind the subsequent effort, and Ajiboye would turn away impressively from Sam Beard to create space in a similar position, but ended up driving his effort over the bar.

Half-Time: Dorking 0 Sutton 1

The second half would be punctuated by break up's in play throughout; the tone set inside the opening minute of the restart as Wes Fogden and Rob Milsom clashed heads, thankfully both able to recover fairly quickly with minimal treatment.

Another giveaway outside the area was nearly punished, this time Beautyman driving a hard effort at Sam Howes, the stopper producing a strong hand to divert it away. Dorking were unfortunate not to carve out a good opportunity immediately after; Fuller's long ping was headed down well by Rutherford, the arriving Jake Gallagher just edged out of a striking chance on the edge of the area.

Not long after, Jason Prior would go down in the middle of the pitch after a collision for the ball, the striker appearing to have injured his knee and looked in real discomfort. He was substituted for the returning Luke Moore, making his first appearance of pre-season.

The change pushed Wes Fogden into a more advanced role playing closer to Rutherford, and within a minute, he was the man that got Wanderers level. Receiving the ball from Jimmy Muitt down the left, the midfielder produced a good turn and quick finish on the left side of the area, driving his strike into the bottom right corner.

Matt Briggs was then the next player to go through the wars, going down after a hefty challenge from Colby Rowe just before the hour. Down for a few minutes, it knocked the wind out of the winger, Rowe rightly cautioned. Ben Dyett came on to replace Briggs and slotted into defence, pushing Sam Beard into the wing-back position on the left side, Muitt switching channels.

With twenty minutes to go, Sutton rattled the woodwork twice in the space of a few minutes. Sub Kenny Davis guided an ambitious header onto the top of cross bar from just outside the area, before Beautyman's direct free kick was tipped on to the post by Howes.

Into the last quarter of an hour, Wanderers stirred themselves, Luke Moore and the Gallagher brothers pushing the team on from midfield, and they began to carve out chances. Dan Gallagher would be just beaten out by Craig Bouzanis going up for a header, Beard would deliver well for Rutherford who headed just wide, and Moore would release Rutherford through on goal, but the striker drifted to his right, the angle tightened, the shot ending up straight down Bouzanis.

Fuller started and finished a flowing move also involving Muitt and Fogden, his eventual strike smashed over the bar. It proceeded Rutherford missing a chance in the last few minutes that will probably haunt him for the rest of the weekend. Doing well to nip the ball past a committed Bouzanis, who nearly handled outside the area, the striker was closing in on an open goal from the right, and from a few yards out, somehow struck the outside of the post.

Having managed injuries well through pre-season, it was typical that a week before the start of the next campaign so many were collected today. Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe and Alfie Gates after the game:

'It was a game of phases really, thought we started and finished the first half well, Sutton had a good spell in the middle. We have six or seven good moves in the second half, thought we shaded the half, obviously it was broken up a lot with injuries. We had a high turnover of possession in the game, some of the players had an off day, I've let them know that. Overall I think a draw was a fair result. We have work to do, looking ahead to next week and the start of the season we will aim to blend the 'new team' in gradually'

On Injuries: 'We will have a look over the coming days and will then know more - Nicky Wheeler has gone to A&E to have his wrist looked at, Matt Briggs looks like a possible kidney injury, Prior it's his knee, we'll know more in the coming days'

Daniel Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers First Half XI: Huk, Fuller, Harris, Beard, McManus, Wills, McShane, Fogden, Wheeler (Briggs 28'), Rutherford, Prior

Dorking Wanderers Second Half XI: Howes, Fuller, Philpot, Beard, Muitt, Dan Gallagher, Jake Gallagher, Fogden, Briggs (Dyett 62'), Rutherford, Prior (Moore 56')

Sutton United (4-4-2): 1 Craig Bouzanis, 2 Jonathan Barden, 3 Ben Wyatt, 7 David Ajiboye (21 Callum Kealy 75'), 9 Omar Bugiel (Trialist 75'), 10 Harry Beautyman, 11 Will Randall, 12 Coby Rowe (14 Craig Dundas 64'), 15 Craig Eastmond, 17 Tobi Sho-Silva (8 Kenny Davis 64'), 24 Rob Milsom (Trialist 64')

Unused Subs: 6 Louis John, 16 Bradley Pearce, 19 Wayne Brown, 23 Jason Mason

Yellow Cards: Rowe 59'

Ref: Paul Johnson