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Dorking Wanderers 1 Kingstonian 0

It may go on to be a monumental day for the game at national level, but the significance of the day for non-league football cannot be overstated either. For the first time in what has felt like forever, football and fans were re-united, and long may it continue.

For Wanderers it was a return to action at Meadowbank for the first time since mid-March where Southend United U23s were the visitors for a friendly as match practise and sharpness were sustained with the hope of the league season restarting. Of course, unfortunately, it was not to be.

We go again. A busy pre-season began with the visit of Isthmian Premier Division side Kingstonian, the team's last meeting just under two years ago in pre-season, Wanderers running out 3-2 winners in an entertaining contest.

Marc White was without Luke Moore, Charlie Hester-Cook and new signing Josh Taylor for today's game, and with Kane Wills looking set to head out on loan, Dan Gallagher started in front of a back three that included a debut for Bobby-Joe Taylor, playing on the left side. James McShane started just in behind Jason Prior up top.

Wanderers began brighter, much of the attacking play going through Nick Wheeler down the left side, driving the game's first effort wide via a deflection. He would then provide for Niall McManus at the edge of the box, the midfielder opting for a pass when the shot was on though, the chance fading out.

The attacking play down the left was supplemented by Taylor who impressed on his first start, given license to bomb forward, surging on down the left side and through central midfield to spur on attacking play throughout the game.

The fitness of both sides impressed as the match was played at a high tempo, both committing to possession football but lacking in sharpness, and the game fell to moments of scrappy play and a few poor tackles as the half went on.

Approaching half-hour K's high pressing was beginning to pay off as they carved out a succession of chances, Cooper's superb cross-field pass finding Murrell-Williamson in the right channel, twisting and turning he arrowed his shot just wide. Osbourne's slide rule pass into Cooper down the same side was crossed for Ajakaiye at the back post, Fuller doing well to keep the striker at bay. Clunis and Beanie both drove speculative efforts over the bar, before Beanie drove a good set piece opportunity straight into the wall.

Just before the interval, Wanderers had their best spell of the first half, McShane nipping in well to pinch the ball from Beanie, supplying for Fogden who's dragged effort won a corner. Prior then produced a similar effort, ahead of Briggs crossing from the right, his ball across goal somehow evading two heads in the air, the ball falling for Wheeler who's shot forced Tolfrey into an excellent diving save, turning the ball round the post.

Dorking 0 Kingstonian 0

Lee Worgan and Callum Kealy were handed debuts for the second half as Marc White switched up his side, McManus moved out to left wing and McShane dropped back into central midfield as striker Kealy played up top with Alfie Rutherford.

Jimmy Muitt was also introduced at half-time, and most of Dorking's work getting forward went through him throughout the remainder of the game. He was unlucky his cross to the back stick couldn't find a taker, Callum Kennedy faring better down the other flank, finding Rutherford who nodded just wide.

Taylor was the one player re-introduced to the game, coming on again at the hour mark for Gallagher, again impressing in getting forward from a deeper lying position and clearly showing the potential to be an effective 'utility' player for Wanderers.

Youngster James Dickson came on with twenty minutes to go, shortly followed by Callum Mannering and Cameron Black, both coming on for first team debuts.

The game started to open up in the last ten minutes, Muitt controlling a cross-field pass from McManus, not quite able to get the shot off, before doing well to win a free kick in dangerous range after cutting inside. On a day where set pieces were notably lacking in quality from both sides, Taylor went as close as either side, the effort just drifting over the left stantion.

K's quick break down the right led to chance well held by Worgan, the opportunity standing out as the only real moment a keeper had been tested during the second half.

However, in the last minute of regulation time, Muitt would get reward for his persistence down the right, receiving McManus measured through ball into the channel before crossing for Kealy to slot home for a debut goal and the match winner.

Wanderers continue pre-season with the visit of Horsham to Meadowbank next Saturday.

Daniel Stobbart

Wanderers 1st Half: Huk; Bobby-Joe Taylor, Harris, Fuller (c); Wheeler, McManus, Gallagher, Fogden, Briggs; McShane, Prior

Wanderers 2nd Half: Worgan, Kennedy, El-Abd, Fuller (c) (Black 81'); McManus, McShane (Dickson 71'), Gallagher, (Bobby-Joe Taylor 62') Fogden (Manning 81'), Muitt; Rutherford, Kealy

Goals: Kealy 90'

Assists: Muitt

Kingstonian: Tolfrey, Osbourne, Akono Bilongo, Cooper (c), Cook, Sow, Clunis, Beaney, Ajakaiye, Banton, Murrell-Williamson

Subs: 12 Samuel (45'), Skura, Buchanan (45'), Lamont (62'), Spencer (45'), Kurturan (72'), Pearch (72'), Whitnell (GK)

Referee: Alex Bradley

Stats (courtesy of @ollie_wyse)


1 Goals 0

3 Shots on 5

7 Shots off 9

8 Corners. 9

17 Fouls. 14

17 Crosses. 12

0 Yellows. 0

0 Reds. 0

52 Possession (%) 48

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