Dorking Wanderers 4 Potters Bar Town 0
Dorking made it three pre-season wins in three as they saw off Potters Bar Town 4-0 at Meadowbank behind closed doors.
Heading into the game it looked unlikely that Niall McManus, Sam Beard and Ben Dyett would not feature due to ongoing recovery from injuries, but all three were welcomed back into the squad, in McManus and Beard's case for the first time this pre-season. Luke Moore and Ed Harris did miss out, Harris rested following a hamstring twinge sustained at Leatherhead last weekend.
Immediately the pace of the game was notably steadier than the previous pre-season contests so far, the combination of a deeper 4-4-2 formation from the visitors in tandem with both sides just lacking that sharpness and pace in moving the ball around, leading to a more atypical pre-season vibe, with neither keeper tested much across the game.
That said, it would be 'The Scholars' who went closest in the early minutes, Thomas Gogo accelerating to the byline, his pacey cross blocked well at the near post, before a stray pass out from Howes was nearly punished by Yiannis Constantinou, but the forward could only hit it straight back at the keeper.
Wanderers had looked to make something happen down the attacking right early on, and their first chance came via that side, Fuller finding Briggs in a surprising amount of space in that channel, picking out Fogden in the centre of the box the midfielder struck first time, but straight at stopper Fred Burbridge.
Prior would flick a header just wide from a good Kennedy delivery from the opposite channel, and be flagged just offside after a good ball dinked ball in from Rutherford. This proceeded the No9 opening the scoring on the half hour, after really good pressing in the right channel from Fuller and Fogden, they got reward as the attempted clearance came back off Fogden and into the path of Prior, who in enough space in the area jammed the ball between the keeper and his near post to find the back of the net.
Joe Payne would sweetly strike a volley from the left side of the area and force a palmed save from Howes, before Prior would double Wanderers lead just before the break. After a solid spell of possession, Rutherford's strike from the left deflected into the path of Prior, again in the right time and right place, and whilst not making the best contact managed to guide the ball beyond Burbridge's left hand side.
Half-Time: Dorking 2 Potters Bar 0
Just like the opening minutes of the first period, Potters Bar would have their best opportunity to score, and this time went even closer. Charlie Ruff slotted Ben Ward-Cochrane through, beating the offside trap, his effort on goal trickling through an advancing Huk, but cleared from the goal line by Dyett. A minute later, Gogo would also go close, heading just wide of the post.
Wanderers gradually took further command of possession as the game went on, with the tempo also boosted by the introduction of Jimmy Muitt at half-time and move of Niall McManus into the middle of the park from the left. In tandem with effective bursts forward from Kennedy and Fuller coming up from the back, Wanderers started getting forward with greater purpose, but the deliveries from wide just weren't quite landing.
Nick Wheeler was also proving effective down the left, and it was his sumptuous ball into Jake Gallagher, who in turn fed Sole on the edge of the area, that led to Wanderers third goal. Looking to pull the trigger, Sole was brought down in exactly the sort of shooting range he likes from a set piece, and sure enough bent the ball around the wall and into the right side of the net.
George Membrillera should have made it 4-0 immediately after the goal, unable to punish a giveaway as Potters Town played out from the back, the keeper standing up to the effort, but the young striker would find the net just a few minutes later. A great build up from the back led Jake Gallagher to ping the ball out nicely to Muitt, who's quick fire delivery was tapped home by the arriving Membrillera from close range.
Wheeler picked out Dixon and Muitt in the last ten minutes, both taking up great positions in the box, but they couldn't quite add to Dorking's tally for the day.
Marc White had this to say after the win:
'Impressed with Potters Bars shape for their manager, set them up like you would playing a team from above, made it a challenge for us to break them down. Few of our boys switched off at times, it was never going to be a game for strikers given how deep they were set up. It was good though - meant we had to do different things which will help us develop.'
'Horsham will give us a game on a tight, fast pitch, and then Woking/Sutton will be a real barometer to see where we're at. Fans can come in for the VCD game on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll see some there.'
- Daniel Stobbart
Dorking 1st Half XI: Howes, Fuller, Philpot, Kennedy, Wills, Briggs, Fogden, McShane, McManus (c), Prior, Rutherford
Dorking 2nd Half XI: Huk, D. Gallagher, Dyett, Kennedy (Beard 60'), Wills (Fuller 60' then El Abd 75'), Wheeler, J. Gallagher, McManus (c) (Dixon 71'), Muitt, Sole, Rutherford (Membrillera 60')
Goals: Prior 30', 42', Sole 73', Membrillera 76'
Potters Bar Town (players used across the 90 mins inc subs): Burbridge (GK), Constable (GK), Pascal, Quarrington-Carter, Payne, Law, Tunbridge, Budden, Nngonga, Cathline, Kyei, Gogo, Young, Constantinou, Ruff, Ward-Cochrane
Yellow Cards: Ruff 88'
Stats - provided by Ollie Wyse (@Ollie_Wyse)
Dorking Potters Bar
4 Goals 0
8 Shots on target 4
2 Shots off target 4
3 Corners 1
12 Fouls 10
0 Yellows 1
17 Crosses 6
69 Possession(%) 31