Dorking Wanderers 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
Dorking Wanderers 1 Eastbourne Borough 0
March 6th 2021
Dorking continued to stay busy ahead of a possible league restart with victory over National League South rivals Eastbourne Borough at Meadowbank. Jason Prior's goal almost midway through the first half was enough for Wanderers to take victory in a good run-out for Marc White's men against fellow promotion contenders.
The game followed last week's unique friendly away at North division counterparts Gloucester City, leading the way on 'the other side' of Step 2. Ryan Barnett capitalised on a giveaway in midfield to put the hosts ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour, before Nicky Wheeler restored parity just before half-time. Gold Omotayo headed home at the back stick after a good delivery from wide right to ultimately seal victory for 'The Tigers' around the hour mark.
Today's encounter would be the third meeting between the sides during this season, following a memorable double-bill which opened the campaign back in October. 'The Sports' knocked Wanderers out of the FA Cup on penalties following an entertaining 3-3 draw at Meadowbank. Then, just three days later, a Jason Prior brace and an own goal saw Dorking get off to the perfect start in the league, winning 0-3 at Priory Lane.
With Lewis Carey's loan spell coming to an end, Sam Howes and a Trialist started between the sticks in the respective halves of today's match, as Marc White welcomed Niall McManus and Dan Gallagher back into his matchday squad after both missed out last weekend. Wes Fogden was the only player not involved for today's game.
Wanderers made a bright, confident start, getting their passing game flowing early, shifting the ball quickly through midfield. McManus was lively and keen to exploit space out on the left, and was involved through much of the opening half-hour. He had already been released down the channel and crossed to no avail a couple of times early on before providing for Luke Moore and James McShane to combine at the edge of the area, Moore dragging his strike wide after McShane's was initially closed down.
Matt Briggs had let the ball run away from him after being sent through on goal from the opposite channel, but did instigate the move which got Wanderers ahead on 19 minutes. He played the ball from the right into the advancing Barry Fuller, who combined with McShane to find Prior, who despite not getting the best contact managed to sweep the ball past Franco Ravizolli from several yards out.
Dorking continued to have the better of play for the remainder of the half, Prior striking McShane's free kick straight at Ravizolli just after the goal, Rutherford not quite able to get his head on Briggs superb cross from the right and unlikely front-man Ed Harris denied well by Ravizolli from close range after the ball broke through to him following a good advantage played by the referee.
It would be Harris who went closest again just before the interval, this time with two more recognisable looking efforts, heading both narrowly off-target. Chris Whepdale and James Hammond both struck wide as 'The Sports' went closer up the other end.
Both sides made a number of changes at the break, and whilst the tempo of the game had been fairly typical of a friendly, the endeavour to get forward did ease up for both sides through the second half as the game became more bogged down in midfield areas.
Around the hour mark Nicky Wheeler and Jake Gallagher both put teasing balls across the six yard box, no runners on hand to take advantage, Gallagher then providing again, this time sliding a pass into the path of Prior, who's strike from the right side of the box was at a good height for replacement stopper Luke Glover to palm away.
Joe Rollinson had caught the eye with a busy display from midfield for the visitors, Fuller was alert to clear his threatening delivery towards the far post, before El-Abd did well to block his strike after the midfielder capitalised on a ball spinning out of a 50/50 collision in midfield.
Up the other end Fuller nearly bagged himself a 'collectors item' after latching onto a give and go down the left, searching for the far post his strike just sailed wide. Wheeler then crossed from a similar area, managing to get the ball through a number of bodies to find Prior, but he couldn't keep his first time effort down.
Like last weekend Marc White again introduced youngsters James Dickson, Ollie Allen and George Membrillera within the final quarter of an hour, and the trio would play their part in a succession of counters which couldn't quite land the comfortable second goal. Jake Gallagher and Allen planted efforts from outside the area into the stands, before Jimmy Muitt's shot was blocked at close quarters after Membrillera cut back well to find him from the byline. 'Sports' skipper Luer and sub Lambert couldn't find an end product after surging into the box late on, as Wanderers Trialist keeper was largely untested throughout the course of the second half.
Wanderers 1st Half: Howes, Beard, Harris, Fuller (c), McManus, Wills, Moore, McShane, Briggs, Prior, Rutherford
Wanderers 2nd Half: Trialist, D Gallagher, El-Abd, Fuller (c), Wheeler, J Gallagher, McManus (Dyett 65'), Moore (Allen 82'), Muitt, Prior (Membrillera 85'), Rutherford (Dickson 77')
Goals: Prior 19'
Yellow Cards: D Gallagher 66', J Gallagher 90'
Eastbourne Borough: Ravizzoli (Glover 46'), Gravata (Towning 24'), Pickering, Vaguan, Dickenson, James (Blackmore 46'), Rollinson, Hammond (Lambert 46'), Luer (c), Cox (Howard 46'), Whepdale (Perez 73')
Referee: Dele Sotimirin
Last Weekend's Result:
Gloucester City 2 Dorking Wanderers 1
February 27th 2021, New Meadow Park, Gloucester
Gloucester City: Cole (Lovett 46'), James, Harrison (Trialist B 71'), Leadbitter (Trialist A 52'), Evans, O'Sulivan, Robert (Trialist C 76'), McGilp (King 68'), Mensah (Marsh-Brown 46'), Ryan Barnett, Omotayo (Di-Segni 68')
Goals: Barnett 14', Omoayo 58'
Wanderers: Carey (Howes 46'), Beard (Dyett 65'), El-Abd (Harris 46'), Briggs (Muitt 40'), Prior (Rutherford 80'), Rutherford (Moore 46'), McShane (Dickson 80'), Wills (J Gallagher 46'), Wheeler (Membrillera 80'), Fogden (Allen 80'), Fuller (c)
Goals: Wheeler 44'
*No cards issued to either side.