• Dan Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers 2 Maidstone United 2

Dorking Wanderers 2 Maidstone United 2

Vanarama National League South

December 1st 2020

Dorking were denied maximum points late in the day as sub Joan Luque secured a draw for Maidstone just ahead of stoppage time in a competitive and entertaining contest under the lights at Meadowbank.

Suspensions to Ed Harris, Alfie Rutherford and Niall McManus forced Marc White to adjust the side that started against Oxford seven days ago. Sami El-Abd, Kane Wills and Wes Fogden, now thankfully relieved of injury and with suspension lifted, would all come in, as would Slav Huk, returning between the sticks in place of Sam Howes. Dan Gallagher was back in the matchday squad after serving his one match ban last week. In the absence of Rutherford, Fogden would play up top with Prior.

A frenetic energy possessed both sides throughout the opening exchanges and much of the game, neither side able to settle play down early on, but certainly no shortage of endeavour to hassle in midfield and get forward. Justin Amaluzor cut inside the right and forced a low save from Huk for the game's first opportunity on 3 minutes, James McShane having a strike blocked from outside the area in the follow up attack for Wanderers.

Amongst a run of free kick deliveries drifting wide at both ends, Luke Moore and Jason Prior looked to 'copy and paste' the same routine that was successful last time out in shooting range, but the 'The Stones' defence were wise to it, charging the strike down.

Both sides produced closer chances around the mid point of the half, Amaluzor getting joy down the right again and whipping a dangerous ball across goal, no takers. Charlie Seaman then forced a punched save from Huk, before George Fuller would lash a volley narrowly wide of the far post after the ball sat up well for him on the left side of the area.

For Dorking, McShane's short corner was quickly worked back to him and his cross into the near post was flicked on aerially by Fogden, in turn finding the head of Isaac Philpot, who nodded just over. Matt Briggs then did well to get the ball out of his feet on the edge of the box, striking straight down Chris Lewington.

Past the half-hour Maidstone began to establish more control of the game, and for several minutes Wanderers were set up to counter as 'The Stones' pressured without carving out too many chances. This pattern to the game was suddenly disrupted after a heavy challenge from Kreschnic Krasniqi on Fogden in the middle of the park, grounding both players for a good few minutes. Thankfully both were ok, Fogden rising to his feet first, Krasniqi rightly cautioned yet taking the longer time to recover with treatment.

Shortly after play resumed, Wanderers managed to secure a breakthrough. Prior kept the ball alive on the left hand side, volleying across the six-yard box, Stones skipper George Elokobi unable to prevent himself diverting the ball beyond Lewington and into the back of the net.

Amaluzor was at it again down the right as the visitors sought an immediate response, he picked out Seaman who pegged the ball back across goal, an anxious Huk reduced to following the ball cautiously as it floated just beyond the far post.

Half-Time: Dorking 1 Maidstone 0

Hakan Hayrettin's side stormed out the blocks after the interval, a couple of strikes blocked, Amaluzar's shot running through to Huk, Luke Moore in the thick of the action at the back with a couple of timely blocks, one met with emphatic appeals for a penalty, waved away by the referee.

The away side would continue to apply pressure in the Wanderers half, inducing a few nervy moments with balls being driven into the box, but not fashioning any chances. The Dorking midfield were grafting hard to win balls and set up counters, often going centrally, but chances were again in short supply; Fogden intercepting play with precision and releasing McShane, his shot blocked, before he and Noah Chesmain at the other end would both blaze over.

With less than twenty minutes to go, Kane Wills persistence further up field would pay off, the central midfielder getting down the right channel and calmly sliding the ball across to Prior, who slotted home from the centre of the box.

Charlie Seaman had become increasingly influential for Maidstone as the game progressed with his lively movement from midfield, and it would be his free kick from midway through the Wanderers half that led to the visitors grabbing a goal back within five minutes. Krasniqi got on the end of the set piece, and deftly headed home from close range.

Despite Nicky Wheeler and Fogden putting decent deliveries across goal, the momentum was still with Maidstone, Seaman managing to hold on to the ball impressively as he dribbled down the right and drift inside, his strike on arrival into the area rising though and sailing over.

On the verge of entering stoppage time, The Stones found a late leveller to break Wanderers hearts. Sub Joan Luque had picked up the baton from the man he replaced, Amaluzor, in causing problems from wide, and after cutting in from the left he managed to wrap his foot round the ball and guide it into the bottom right corner.

First team coach Tom Duke spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:

"With twenty to go, two nil up, you should be holding on, but looking at the game I felt we were pretty average, so looking at it that way the point did us a favour. We pressed quite well, restricted them, like they did to us, all the players worked really hard. We're a ball playing team, didn't really work out for us tonight so well, we go again Saturday."

Daniel Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 2 Isaac Philpot, 4 Sami El-Abd, 8 Matt Briggs, 9 Jason Prior, 11 James McShane (20 Dan Gallagher 69'), 15 Kane Wills, 16 Nicky Wheeler, 18 Luke Moore, 22 Barry Fuller (c), 23 Wes Fogden

Unused Subs: 3 Sam Beard, 7 Jimmy Muitt, 14 Jake Gallagher, 19 Guiseppe Sole,

Goals: Elokobi og 41', Prior 72'

Yellow Cards: McShane 47', Beard

Maidstone United (4-4-2): 1 Chris Lewington, 2 Gavin Hoyte, 4 Kreschnic Krasniqi, 5 Charlie Seaman, 6 Goerge Elokobi (c), 7 George Porter, 8 Sam Corne (18 Zihni Temelci 60'), 9 Scott Rendell, 11 Justin Amaluzor (14 Joan Luque 86'), 12 Noah Chesmain, 17 Joe Ellul

Unused Subs: 3 Raphe Brown, 10 Ibrahim Olutade, 16 Ravan Constable

Goals: Krasniqi 76', Luque 90'

Yellow Cards: Krasniqi 38'

Referee: Jason Richardson

Sponsors Man of the Match: Kane Wills

Stats: (provided by Olly Wyse @Olly_Wyse)

Dorking                       Maidstone

     2               Goals                2

     2      Shots (on target)    3

     7      Shots (off target)      7

     2          Corners              2

     7            Fouls.               16

     13          Crosses.              16

  2               Offsides              1

  2              Yellow Cards          1

  0           Red Cards              0

  50%          Possession            50%