Dorking Wanderers 2 Hemel Hempstead 1
Vanarama National League South
January 9th 2021
Dorking capped a good week and start to the new year by coming from behind to defeat Hemel Hempstead at Meadowbank, ending the day at the summit of the league table.
Marc White went with an unchanged side, selecting the same eleven which started against Ebbsfleet on Tuesday evening. Ed Harris recovered from the knock he picked up in that game to start and make his 50th appearance for the club.
Wanderers continued their recent trend of beginning games in quick-fire fashion, as Matt Briggs also carried on his good form of late, causing immediate problems down the attacking right. He picked out Wes Fogden and James McShane in the box inside the opening minutes, Fogden just couldn't quite sort his feet as McShane fared better, but scuffed his effort wide.
'The Tudors' stuck to their shape well and from the outset demonstrated how quick they could turn play over and counter. On the quarter hour they had their first chances of the game, Ed Harris doing well to divert JJ Lacey's delivery out for a corner, and Ryan Kinnanne forcing Sam Howes into a stretched tip over the top from a header.
Dorking continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the half but lost that early momentum when it came to activity in the final third, Alfie Rutherford unfortunate not to capitalise when receiving the ball in a couple of good positions in the area, Harris ultimately going closest up from the back with two efforts from corners going wide.
Samir Carruthers had brought Howes into the game with a low save after taking on a strike from distance, and just under five minutes before the interval he played a part in the away side breaking the deadlock. The midfielder flicked on a central free kick delivery, Lacey quick to react and crash home the loose ball from several yards out.
However, a minute later, Wanderers got back on terms. A searching ball from deep was latched on to by Luke Moore who carried it to the byline, only to be bundled over by Liam McDevitt, the defender then presented with the first caution of the game amidst heavy protests. Perhaps with Moore's recent penalty miss at Hampton & Richmond in mind, frequent set piece taker Callum Kennedy put the ball on the spot, and calmly tucked it to Dean Snedker's left, his first goal for the club.
Briggs looked to 'bookend' the half with another double dispatch from the right in stoppage time, this time cutting back to find Moore and McShane, but both were denied by excellent blocks from the respective Hemel centre halves. In the very last action of the half it was Harris and Kennedy's turn to provide crucial clearances from consecutive threatening deliveries, rounding off a breathless end to the first 45 minutes.
Half-Time: Dorking 1 Hemel 1
Both sides were guilty of surrendering possession just after the restart, but Barry Fuller managed to keep the ball alive after one breakdown with a quick through ball into the path of Rutherford in the right channel. Carrying the ball to the byline, the striker struck an effort at goal from the tightest of angles, and the ball managed to jam between Snedker and his near post to find the back of the net. Reward for his overall effort's up top and recent frustration's in front of goal, all outfield players got up to celebrate the front man's first league goal since October.
After Briggs and Harris tracked back well to deny swift counters from the visitors, Wanderers started to take back a grip on possession. A lengthy retention of the ball proceeded a fast delivery into the box from Briggs, initially not met the ball then fell for Fogden, who's strike near the edge of the box came back off the bar. Kennedy then searched for Wills towards the back stick a couple of minutes later, the midfielder just not able to get over it, nodding wide.
Into the final quarter of an hour the game really opened up, the introduction of three attacking subs from the visitors within several minutes certainly playing it's part as the 'The Tudors' went for broke.
Rutherford's aerial flick on was collected by Jimmy Muitt, who cut in but struck straight at Snedker, and Rutherford was at it again in the air a moment later, this time going for goal from Kennedy's delivery, but heading wide.
Up the other end Fuller produced two outstanding, measured interceptions to keep Reggie Young and Kyle Ajayi at bay, Dan Gallagher coming off the bench and playing his part in the late defensive effort with a brilliantly timed sliding challenge as Young advanced through the area. Gallagher turned provider up the other end in stoppage time with a long pass reaching Briggs, who cut in and sliced his strike just wide of the far post.
Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:
'Defensively as a team today we were excellent - that's the best we've been. Thought the midfield pressed the game really well, great performance from them and I personally thought Wes Fogden was man of the match. Pleased for Alfie getting his goal. I felt we kept them in the game in the first half, loads of possession, felt like it was a game where maybe with a two goal advantage we kick on. Impressed with their set up, they have got players in from leagues below and they are playing for the manager - it's a good win for us and a good week'
On Niall McManus withdrawal for Jimmy Muitt in the first half:
'Yeah he had a quad issue - had to be withdrawn'
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 13 Sam Howes, 5 Ed Harris, 6 Niall McManus (7 Jimmy Muitt 37'), 8 Matt Briggs, 10 Alfie Rutherford, 11 James McShane (4 Sami El-Abd 83'), 12 Callum Kennedy, 15 Kane Wills, 18 Luke Moore (21 Dan Gallagher 65'), 22 Barry Fuller (c), 23 Wes Fogden
Unused Subs: 3 Sam Beard, 20 Ben Dyett
Goals: Kennedy pen 42', Rutherford 53'
Yellow Cards: Briggs 64', Fuller 67'
Hemel Hempstead (4-2-3-1): 1 Dean Snedker, 2 Gus Scott-Morris, 3 Liam McDevitt, 4 Chris Paul, 5 Ryan Kinnane, 6 Nathan Cooper (12 Reggie Young 72'), 7 Samir Carruthers, 8 Sam Mantom (c), 9 Bernard Christie (14 Matt Bateman 75'), 10 JJ Lacey (15 Kyle Ajayi 77'), 11 Ryan Sellers
Unused Subs: 16 Josh Oyinsan, 17 Danny Boness
Goals: Lacey 41'
Yellow Cards: McDevitt 41', Mantom 58', Christie 69', Carruthers 90+'
Ref: Isaac Searl
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Matt Briggs
Stats: (provided by Olly Wyse @Olly_Wyse)
2 Goals 1
7 Shots (on target) 3
9 Shots (off target) 3
7 Corners 5
13 Fouls. 11
24 Crosses. 23
2 Offsides 0
2 Yellow Cards 4
0 Red Cards 0
62% Possession 38%