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Dorking Wanderers 1 Tonbridge Angels 3

Vanarama National League South

February 5th 2022

Dorking were denied an eleventh straight league win as they lost just their second home game of the season to Tonbridge Angels. Beaten by the visitors by the same score line in the reverse fixture at Longmead Road back in September, it was a similarly disappointing day at the office for Wanderers who will look to reset having been on such a good run of late.

For the third straight game, Marc White named an unchanged starting line up.

In a scrappy opening to the game, the visitors had the first chance as Jamie Fielding's header was comfortably blocked, but with their first real venture forward, it was Wanderers who opened the scoring. A long ball dispatched from the right back area caught out the high Tonbridge back line, Rutherford latched on to it and cooly lobbed the advancing Jonathan Henly.

A couple of minutes later Wanderers came mighty close to doubling the lead. Another long ball over the top got beyond the high line to find Fuller, who crossed from the right to find McShane in the centre of the box in space. The midfielder opted to place his effort into the top corner rather than go for power, and sent it just wide. Cheadle would then drive an effort just over the bar in the follow up move, before McShane headed an Ed Harris aerial flick-on over as well.

Approaching half-hour, McShane turned provider to send Josh Taylor through one-on-one after beating the offside trap, but Henly produced a good save. Cheadle then whipped in a pacey cross from the left, Rutherford just inches away from making contact as it flew across the face of goal.

Despite Wanderers having a range of good chances, general play had remained scrappy as Tonbridge's compact shape, often deployed high up the pitch, and hard pressing was denying Wanderers from finding their passing patterns.

In the lead up to half-time the press led by front-men Joe Turner and Tommy Wood, reliably re-enforced by their midfield, had Wanderers somewhat pegged back, and they managed to find an equaliser in this spell. Harris and Cheadle had made bold headed clearance's, but in a subsequent move Luke Jenkins cross from the right was met on the swivel first time by Turner, his well taken low finish getting just beyond the diving Lincoln.

Briggs nearly found an immediate response after good work from Taylor keeping the ball alive, the Wanderers player of the month for January firing an effort just past the post.

A couple of dramatic moments very late in the first half would change the shape of the contest. In the aftermath of Josh Taylor's penalty appeal being waved away to much protest, Fuller was cautioned for dissent, and the captain would then go in hard on a 50/50 challenge just outside the Tonbridge area in added on time. Referee Ben Atkinson deemed it a straight red card offence, and the Wanderers captain was dismissed.

Half-Time: Dorking 1 Tonbridge 1

Marc White made a triple substitution at the break. Darren Oldaker and Jordan Cheadle, who was cautioned in the first half, made way for Sami El-Abd and Bobby-Joe Taylor, and James McShane was replaced by Harry Ottaway. The changes maintained the back three as Niall McManus took up a deep lying position just in front and Bobby-Joe was given license to get forward down the left.

And it was his positive work down that channel that proceeded sliding a through ball into Rutherford, who advanced into the area and rounded the keeper, but forced himself into too tight an angle, and the shot at goal rolled past the far post.

Wanderers looked disjointed as the changes didn't immediately settle, and with Tonbridge not dropping off in their approach, the Kent side started to dominate much of the play. Tom Beere and Turner both fired warning shots from distance, Wood then going close with a header just off target.

They got reward just past the hour in a manner which will grate Wanderers. A poor free kick was given away in the right channel, El-Abd's attempt to clear the delivery ultimately came back off the crossbar, and Wood was quickest to react to thump the ball home.

Tonbridge remained in the ascendancy as James Taylor struck over the bar and Lincoln saved Jenkins header at point blank range, Wood then spurning a clear chance from close range, blazing it over the top.

The Angels striker did manage to notch his second of the afternoon though as we entered the final quarter of an hour. Lincoln couldn't get a hold of Fielding's shot cutting in from the right, and Wood was again first on the scene to stab the ball into the back of the net.

Former Wanderers fan favourite JJ O'Sullivan was introduced by Tonbridge for a late cameo as we reached the final few minutes. Rutherford went closest to pulling a goal back near the end of regulation time as he forced a save at the near post after working a shooting angle from the right of the area, but Tonbridge maintained the two goal cushion and saw out the game.

For the first time in three weeks Dorking don't have a midweek fixture, so the opportunity to bounce back and go again comes next Saturday as they travel to Bath City.

Daniel Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers: 34 Dan Lincoln; 22 Barry Fuller (c), 5 Ed Harris, 19 Jordan Cheadle (3 BJ Taylor 46'); 8 Matt Briggs, 26 Darren Oldaker (4 Sami El Abd 46'), 23 Wes Fogden, 17 Josh Taylor, 6 Niall McManus; 11 James McShane (24 Harry Ottaway 46'), 10 Alfie Rutherford

Unused Subs: 16 Nicky Wheeler, 20 Dan Gallagher

Goals: Rutherford 9'

Yellow Cards: Cheadle 28', Fuller 45'

Red Card: Fuller 45'

Tonbridge Angels: 1 Jonathan Henly, 2 Luke Jenkins, (16 Harry Hudson 72'), 3 Craig Braham- Barrett, 4 Tom Beere, 5 Sonny Miles (c), 6 Tom Parkinson, 7 Jamie Fielding (14 JJ O'Sullivan 84'), 8 Adam Lovatt, 9 Tommy Wood (12 Adam Coombes 79'), 10 James Taylor, 11 Joe Turner

Unused Subs: 15 Ibrahim Olutade, 17 Doug Loft

Goals: Turner 36', Wood 61', 75'

Yellow Cards: Miles 64', Hudson 90'

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Att: 1504

Sponsors Man Of The Match: Wes Fogden

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