• Dan Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers 3 Bath City 4

Dorking Wanderers 3 Bath City 4

Friendly, January 30th 2021

With the National League's North & South still under suspension as talks over funding remain ongoing, Dorking continued to stay busy with the scheduling of another friendly. Following on from the fixtures with AFC Wimbledon U23s and Ebbsfleet United over the past week, fellow league opposition Bath City were the visitors to Meadowbank, going on to seal victory late on in an entertaining game, after both sides shared six goals in the first half.

Marc White again named a more recognised looking starting eleven to start with, going on use his squad and make several changes throughout the course of the second half.

Like Tuesday's contest with Ebbsfleet, there was an immediately competitive feel to the game, both sides playing at a good tempo and eager to shift the ball on the deck.

Tom Richards, not the one of previous Wanderers fame, capitalised on Fuller's spliced clearance to strike straight at Howes in the opening minutes for the game's first effort.

The even start both sides had made was epitomised inside the opening quarter of an hour as Wanderers opened the scoring, only to be pegged back within sixty seconds. Muitt's quick-feet and pin-point delivery from the right found Prior just outside the six-yard box; the striker afforded time to plant his header firmly beyond Ryan Clarke. The aforementioned Richards then got Bath back on terms after the ball was worked through the left channel, helped on by Tom Smith into a central position, and driven home decisively by the on-rushing attacker.

He would again test Howes, before Wheeler's cross from the left couldn't be reached by Clarke, falling for Muitt at the back stick the winger just couldn't keep his volley under the bar.

McManus faired better a few minutes later. Wheeler's delivery was not able to be controlled by the centre-half, ricocheting into the path of the industrious midfielder, who placed a measured finish into the top right corner.

Rutherford curled wide after cutting in from the left, and Alex Fletcher nodded wide of goal before Muitt managed to put Wanderers 3-1 to the good barely midway through the half. Seemingly intended as a cross, his dispatched effort from wide right caught out Clarke in goal and the majority of the officials in attendance who couldn't quite believe it as the ball nestled into the bottom left corner.

Smith won a corner with a deflected strike and volleyed the subsequent delivery over as Bath sought a response, but Dorking began dominating the ball to a greater degree running up to the interval. McShane tried the spectacular with an overhead kick, just drifting wide before Beard and Prior's tidy one-two at the edge of the box was curtailed abruptly and earned Wanderers a free kick in ideal shooting range. Prior took it himself, curling it round the wall with force, beaten away with an excellent diving save from Clarke. The stopper then made a further couple of top stops from Fuller at point blank range following a corner.

Against the run of play, Bath not only clawed one back but went into the break on terms. McManus was dispossessed in the Wanderers half stating the case for a possible infringement, as Smith quickly shifted the ball on into Fletcher, who produced a deft chip to ease the ball over the advancing Howes. Then, as Beard and Fuller unfortunately collided in the area amidst Wanderers trying to clear their lines, Fletcher capitalised by taking a moment to set himself on the far side of the six yard box, before drilling the ball emphatically into the top corner of the net.

The second forty-five wound up being a much steadier affair as the tempo eased up, the changes no doubt having an effect but both sides also losing discipline as several late challenges burdened the half. McManus found himself cautioned for one, and half-time sub Hester-Cook ended up on the receiving end of another, caught late after the Bath player had initially won the ball. The midfielder was assisted as he hobbled off the field, hopefully not a bad injury.

Smith struck the cross bar and Donovan Wilson forced a decent low save from Howes around the hour as Bath looked the more likely, neither side producing much in the attacking third through the remainder of the game.

And very late in the day, Wilson managed to seal the win for 'The Romans'. Receiving a throw in worked over from the right side he powerfully smashed the ball low and hard to Howes left from the edge of the penalty area.

With the possibility of a decision being made on the league's future this coming week, let's hope the right outcome is reached, and that this is not the last action we see for some time.

Daniel Stobbart

Wanderers: Howes, Beard, Harris, McManus (Taylor 62'), Muitt (Briggs 46'), Prior (J Gallagher 46'), Rutherford (Membrillera 84'), McShane, Wills (Hester-Cook 46', Dickson 67'), Wheeler (Muitt 73'), Fuller (c) (Allen 84')

Goals: Prior 11', McManus 18', Muitt 22'

Yellow Cards: McManus 55'

Bath City: Clarke (c), Trialist, Smith (Trialist 72'), Batten, Ball, Evans (Trialist 58'), Wilson, Harley, James, Richards, Fletcher

Unused Subs: Henry, Watts

Goals: Richards 12', Fletcher 42', 45', Wilson 88'

Ref: Daniel Austin