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Dorking Wanderers 2 Chelmsford City 0

Vanarama National League South February 19th 2022

Dorking maintained their three point lead at the top of the table and capped a good week of results with victory over Chelmsford City at Meadowbank.

Callum Kennedy made his first start of the season in the Surrey Senior Cup in midweek, and came into the starting line up today in place of Jordan Cheadle, the only change to the side which started at Bath last weekend. Ed Harris returned to the bench having been ruled out of the trip to Somerset through illness. James McShane took the captain's armband as Barry Fuller's suspension continued.

The heavy storm from the previous day may have subsided, but torrential rain throughout the day had pointed towards a potentially testing contest for both sides. As they both emerged from the tunnel however, the rain eased off, blue skies appeared, and suddenly the conditions came good.

And Wanderers got off to the perfect start. With their first real venture forward, Oldaker produced what's becoming a signature for him, a measured through ball from deep, picking out Briggs coming in from the right flank. The wing back advanced to the edge of the area, and opted for a calm, placed finish beyond Jacob Marsden.

The chance to double the advantage arrived as we approached the quarter-hour, Kennedy's cross from the left instigating a flurry of activity in 'The Clarets' box; Wheeler and Briggs both having shots shut down before McShane's flick was cleared away from the goal line by Adebola Oluwo.

Wanderers bright start had been sustained throughout the opening half-hour as they took command of possession, but save for Kennedy's free kick being comfortably saved, opportunities in front of goal started to dry out.

Robbie Simpson's side were working hard, pressing centrally and disrupting Wanderers passing, and they did start to threaten in the latter stages of the half. Dara Dada, who had been key throughout the afternoon in linking play, stung the palms of Lincoln with a strike from distance, shortly before Wanderers had to be alert to fend off a couple of six-yard box scrambles from consecutive corners.

Half-Time: Dorking 1 Chelmsford 0

Dorking began the second half in similarly high tempo fashion to the first, Rutherford finding the back of the net early on from Taylor's dangerous cross, but the linesman deemed the striker to be offside.

However, just a couple of minutes later, Wanderers did make it count to double their advantage. Wheeler's cross from the left was well controlled by McShane just inside the area, and with a drop of the shoulder to buy space, the skipper for the afternoon clinically fired the ball low into the bottom right corner.

Wheeler looked to replicate his worldie from last weekend as the fast restart continued, aiming for the top corner but just over-hitting the ball, Kennedy also trying his luck from range but the effort just off target.

Past the hour mark 'The Clarets' again rallied despite the early set back and had their best attacking spell of the game. Dara Dada's cross from the right was met with an impressive angled header by Matt Rush several yards out, the on-loan Southend United man seeing his effort bounce back off the post. A couple of misplaced passes as Wanderers tried to clear their lines proceeded space opening up for Tom Blackwell in the area, Lincoln producing a top reaction save to keep the shot away, Dara Dada scuffing the rebound wide.

Dorking looked to respond as Chelmsford were deployed slightly higher up the pitch; Oldaker's through ball was well controlled by Rutherford outside the D, he laid off for McShane but it was Briggs who managed to get a strike off, sending it wide. Another through ball this time provided by Macca set Rutherford away again, in a foot race with Marsden the keeper came out on top to make the clearance, Rutherford pulling up shortly after and having to be substituted. Luke Moore came on to lead the line for the final fifteen minutes.

As both sides made further changes and the collective level of graft took it's toll, the pace of the game faded late on, speculative efforts from Dara Dada, ahead of Danny Imray and Briggs in the final minute were as close as each side would go. The Wanderers defence remained resolute as they had done for much of the afternoon, holding out to retain back to back clean sheets and take maximum points, also ending 'The Clarets' recent four game unbeaten run.

Dorking are back in action next Saturday at Meadowbank for the much anticipated top of the table clash with Maidstone United.

Daniel Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers: 34 Dan Lincoln; 2 Isaac Philpot, 20 Dan Gallagher, 12 Callum Kennedy; 8 Matt Briggs, 26 Darren Oldaker (4 Sami El-Abd 90'), 17 Josh Taylor, 8 Niall McManus, 16 Nicky Wheeler (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 67'); 11 James McShane, 10 Alfie Rutherford (18 Luke Moore 77') Unused Subs: 5 Ed Harris, 7 Jimmy Muitt Goals: Briggs 3', McShane 55'

Yellow Cards: Oldaker 89', Lincoln 90'

Chelmsford City: 1 Jacob Marsden, 3 Tom Dickens (13 Guy Norton 82'), 4 Christian Frimpong (18 Freddie Hockey 82'), 6 Adebola Oluwo, 7 Dara Dada, 8 Louis Dunne, 10 Matt Rush, 11 Dan Imray, 15 Zak Bradshaw, 16 Chez Isaac (c), 22 Tom Blackwell (17 Luke Deslandes 90') Unused Subs: 5 Mickey Spillane, 19 Robbie Simpson Referee: Callum Walchester Att: 1096 Sponsors Man Of The Match: James McShane

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