Vanarama National League South December 12th 2021
Dorking bounced back from the disappointing defeat suffered last weekend with a comfortable victory over Welling at Meadowbank. The first home league game in nearly six weeks, the return didn't get off to the best start as Tom Derry opened the scoring for the visitors with a close range finish inside the opening minute. Niall McManus swiftly responded with a superb volley to level the scores, before second half goals from Barry Fuller and Alfie Rutherford ensured Wanderers got back to winning ways.
Marc White made four changes to the side which lost at Chippenham last weekend. Following the departure of Stuart Nelson in midweek, a first team debut was handed to Josh Wilson between the sticks, the youngster awarded a squad number earlier in the week after a number of impressive performances for the reserve side this campaign. There was a home debut and first start for Darren Oldaker, and return's to the starting eleven for Bobby-Joe Taylor and James McShane after recent absence. Dan Gallagher, Jordan Cheadle and Nicky Wheeler respectively dropped to the bench, as Oldaker took up the deeper lying role within a more attack-minded looking midfield, and Niall McManus started out wide left. Issac Philpot was included on the bench and part of the matchday squad for the first time this season as he continues working his way back from a hernia operation.
The bumper crowd at Meadowbank were rocked with only 45 seconds on the clock as 'The Wings' took a very early lead. Maxwell Statham's measured diagonal ball from deep travelled across the penalty area before being cushioned back nicely by Kristian Campbell into the path of Tom Derry who finished from close range.
Wanderers responded in quick fashion, however, getting themselves level on five minutes. With their first real venture forward, the ball broke for Niall McManus at the edge of the box, and the industrious midfielder added another goal of the season contender to his account following his opener at Hemel a few weeks back, dispatching a brilliant volley into the back of the net.
The pattern of the game began to become clear from this point as Peter Taylor's side maintained an organised shape, reverting to a back-five as the wing back's dropped in, inviting Wanderers to try and break them down. Darren Oldaker didn't put a foot wrong through the afternoon, and in tandem with the busy work of Josh Taylor and James McShane further forward, the midfield combination effectively controlled possession and really limited Welling's opportunities to breakaway.
McShane was denied shortly after the equaliser at close range by the feet of Jack Sims, the first of a number of top stops from the keeper through the course of the afternoon. McManus then dispatched a deft cross to the back post, nodded back across the six-yard box by Rutherford for Prior, who sent his header marginally wide.
Unfortunately the afternoon would not pass without another injury concern, Ed Harris appeared to be struggling as we arrived at the midway point of the half, and was duly replaced by Dan Gallagher. Marc White later revealed Harris had picked up a groin injury and would likely miss out on Tuesday's visit to Oxford.
In the lead up to half-time Bobby-Joe Taylor's strike from range sped across the six-yard box and nearly turned into a perfect cross, no one in red and white quite able to make a decisive contact. The roaming defender then went on an impressive run from deep and struck straight down Sims before Rutherford would find the back of the net with a header from close range, only for it to be flagged offside.
Half-Time: Dorking 1 Welling 1
After a slightly broken up beginning to the half, Wanderers raised the tempo and urgency of their attacking play to apply heavy pressure approaching the hour mark. McManus fired a shot heading for the bottom right corner, brilliantly kept out by Sims with a diving save, ahead of Josh Taylor striking wide via a deflection after neat close control from McShane. Briggs then had a couple of opportunities in close succession, striking wide after a burst down the right flank, and then finding the ball at his feet in space on the penalty spot, but splicing his shot outside of the post.
Unrelenting, Wanderers got due reward. Bobby-Joe Taylor's corner found Fuller towards the near post, and after taking an initial touch under pressure the skipper managed to fashion enough contact to guide the ball into the roof of the net. Showing no let up, McManus then sent an effort wide after a great run from Briggs, Prior then had a strike come back off the post.
'The Wings' responded to going behind with a triple substitution, which briefly had the desired effect as the visitors enjoyed their best attacking spell of the game in the ensuing minutes. Mason Saunders-Henry immediately showed eagerness to get on the ball, and led the surges forward for the away side, at one point standing up a dangerous cross which had to be scrambled away after difficulty clearing lines. Fellow sub Afolabi Akinyemi then generated enough power on a strike just inside the area and it cannoned back off the post.
Into the final ten minutes though, Wanderers re-gained control, Briggs having two very similar back-to-back efforts striking across goal from the right saved by the legs of Sims. Marc White had introduced Nicky Wheeler and Jordan Cheadle with a quarter of an hour to go, and the pair went close late on. Wheeler's deflected shot from the left rebounded into the side netting, before Cheadle was unlucky not to mark his home debut with a goal and instantly live up to his reputation as a dead-ball specialist, striking a set piece from the edge of the D just wide of target.
Into injury time, Wanderers added emphasis to the win by grabbing a third. James McShane was released down the right after the ball was well won back in midfield, and 'Macca' kept his cool arriving into the area to slide the ball across to Rutherford who slotted home several yards out.
Wanderers return to action this Tuesday with a visit to Oxford City.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 35 Josh Wilson; 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor (19 Jordan Cheadle 75'), 5 Ed Harris (20 Dan Gallagher 25'), 22 Barry Fuller (c); 6 Niall McManus, 26 Darren Oldaker, 17 Josh Taylor, 11 James McShane, 8 Matt Briggs; 10 Alfie Rutherford, 9 Jason Prior (16 Nicky Wheeler 75')
Unused Subs: 2 Issac Philpot, 18 Luke Moore
Goals: McManus 5', Fuller 61', Rutherford 90' Assists: Harris 5', BJ Taylor 61', McShane 90'
Yellow Cards: Fuller 36', Briggs 47', J Taylor 66'
Red Card: Marc White 45'
Welling United (5-3-2): 13 Jack Sims; 3 Aaron Barnes (18 Che Krabbendam 67'), 4 Maxwell Statham, 16 Arthur Penney, 8 Olumide Durojaiye, 11 Kristian Campbell; 21 Yannis Drais, 6 Ademola Shokunbi, 12 Joseph Muscatt; 7 Daniel Parish (10 Mason Saunders-Henry 67'), 14 Tom Derry (9 Afolabi Akinyemi 67')
Unused Subs: 2 Chibuke Ezennolim, 22 Bradley Stevenson
Goals: Derry 1'
Yellow Cards: Campbell 46', Drais 89'
Red Card: Peter Taylor 45'
Referee: Alex Blake
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Darren Oldaker