Dorking Wanderers 1 Bath City 2
Dorking Wanderers 1 Bath City 2
Vanarama National League South
December 5th 2020
Dorking were defeated for the first time at home in the league this season as Meadowbank welcomed back supporters for the first time since March.
Following Tuesday night's draw with Maidstone, Marc White made a trio of changes for today's game. Sam Beard and Ed Harris, returning from suspension, came in for Isaac Philpot and Sami El-Abd in a double switch at the back, and Jimmy Muitt would also make a return to the starting line up in place of Matt Briggs on the wing. Alfie Rutherford and Niall McManus would remain absent through suspension, as James McShane pushed further forward to play up top with Jason Prior.
Fittingly Wanderers began the game kicking towards supporters housed in the new stands, and inside the opening couple of minutes Nicky Wheeler provided the first chance of the game right in front of them, stealing half a yard on his marker and crossing for Prior at the near post, the striker not able to fashion a decent contact though, nodding just wide.
Tom Smith would have an effort closed down following a lapse in midfield a few minutes later, but Wanderers capitalised on the the expansive Bath set up to enjoy more of the possession, and fashioned further goal scoring opportunities inside the opening twenty minutes. McShane's header forcing a full stretch save from Ryan Clarke, before combining well with Luke Moore to poke a through ball in for Wes Fogen, the midfielder unfortunately scuffing his effort straight at the stopper.
Wheeler saw a lot of the ball down the left wing, feigning and turning well from deep a couple times beautifully to get forward, and dispatching several threatening deliveries that were well defended by 'The Romans'. As the half progressed Jimmy Muitt would get more involved on the opposing side, winning a free kick which would be worked out to Barry Fuller, taking on the strike his effort would be tipped over by Clarke. Prior would then smartly dummy the ball to allow McShane to carry on his run with the ball to the edge of the area, the strike blocked out for a corner.
Despite seeing more of the ball and carving out the better chances, the set up of the visitors ensured the attacking trio of Donovan Wilson, Tom Smith and Tom Mehew were quick to impose a threat around the Wanderers box, Bath switching swiftly to a pressuring formation up top when the ball got forward. Despite only having a couple of set piece headers saved and half-chances shut down, they broke the deadlock on 35 minutes. Tidy interplay towards the area leading to a neat through ball being played into the path of Wilson, who rounded the advancing Slav Huk to slot home.
Ed Harris produced a couple of key interceptions and Huk had to be bold blocking another Wilson hit at close proximity as Bath searched for a quick second before half-time, but it would be Prior who would miss another good chance for Wanderers right before the whistle, running onto a McShane corner and heading over the top.
Half-Time: Dorking 0 Bath 1
The general pattern of play continued after the restart, Dorking unlucky with a couple of central through balls not coming off, Harris nodding off target twice and McShane dragging an effort wide, on this of all days it started to feel like it may be 'one of them afternoon's' in front of goal, Bath's rear guard continuing to stand up to everything Wanderers were throwing at them.
Smith served up a reminder on the hour of the threat he and his attacking colleagues carried at the other end, taking advantage of a midfield giveaway to force Huk into a diving stop, and ten minutes later last season's player of the year for the division doubled his side's advantage. Wilson took down the ball well in midfield and layed the ball on for Smith, who advancing to the edge of the area caught out Huk with a central strike, the ball ultimately going through the keeper's shifting legs and into the back of the net.
Wilson would be on assist duty a moment later, outmuscling Philpot on the right and flashing a ball across goal, Tommy Conway getting on the end of it, side footing the pacey delivery over the bar.
Clarke was having another outstanding game against Wanderers, following on from his impressive displays in all three games last season. Keeping out a couple of Prior headers, one of which was then cleared off the line, and getting down well to a low delivery from sub Matt Briggs, the Bath goal continued to look impenetrable.
With just over five minutes to go, they did find a breakthrough. Prior got on the end of McShane's corner, heading back across goal for Philpot to bundle the ball home amongst the bodies. Shortly after the goal, desperation crept in among the Bath substitutes, and Frankie Artus was shown a red card for what looked like a combination of time wasting and dissent as the ball went out of play and towards the away dugout.
Wanderers upped the ante as we entered seven minutes of added on time, Kane Wills curling a low effort towards the bottom right corner, only for Clarke to get down brilliantly on the stretch and palm it away. Then, a dismissal on the field of play for the visitors, Tom Mehew given his marching orders for a second yellow card, handballing an incoming cross in the right channel. The resulting set piece was cut back to Prior who's strike found a way into goal via a hefty deflection. However, the celebrations were to be short lived, after consultation with his linesman, the referee adjudged Jake Gallagher to have guided the ball in with his hand.
Dorking continued pushing, Wills and Moore trying through balls and Muitt looking to conjure something through the left side, but it was not to be, and Bath held on to take maximum points.
Head Coach Tom Duke spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:
'Yeah extremely disappointed with the loss, they played well, their keeper had a worldy, they defended really well. Thought we were the better team though, played the better football, we played more like ourselves today (as opposed to Tuesday), but ultimately against a team who were brilliant at the back. The crowd were brilliant, it was excellent to see them back in.'
On Ed Harris substitution:
'Yeah he went off with cramp today, thought he was excellent, but obviously having not played Tuesday that might have had a bearing fitness wise'
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 3 Sam Beard, 5 Ed Harris (2 Isaac Philpot 72'), 7 Jimmy Muitt, 9 Jason Prior, 11 James McShane, 15 Kane Wills, 16 Nicky Wheeler (8 Matt Briggs 58'), 18 Luke Moore, 22 Barry Fuller (c), 23 Wes Fogden (14 Jake Gallagher 73')
Unused Subs: 19 Guiseppe Sole, 20 Dan Gallagher
Goals: Philpot 84'
Yellow Cards: J Gallagher 90'
Bath City (4-2-3-1): 1 Ryan Clarke (c), 2 James Taylor, 4 Tom Smith, 5 Jack Batten, 6 Dan Ball, 9 Donovan Wilson, 10 Ryan Harley, 14 Tommy Conway, 17 Will Dean, 19 Grant Horton, 21 Tom Mehew
Unused Subs: 7 Frankie Artus, 11 Lloyd James, 12 Tom Richards, 13 Will Henry, 15 Jason Pope
Goals: Wilson 35', Smith 71'
Yellow Cards: Ball 23', Clarke 57', Mehew 66', Mahew 90', Taylor 90+'
Red Card: Artus 85', Mahew 90'
Referee: Jack Packman
Sponsors Man of the Match: Jimmy Muitt
Stats: (provided by Olly Wyse @Olly_Wyse)
1 Goals 2
9 Shots (on target) 4
8 Shots (off target) 4
10 Corners 2
9 Fouls. 10
31 Crosses. 6
0 Offsides 3
1 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards 2
58% Possession 42%