• Dan Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers 4 Tonbridge Angels 1

Dorking Wanderers 4 Tonbridge Angels 1

Vanarama National League South

November 14th 2020

A Jason Prior hat-trick spearheaded Dorking to a comfortable win against Tonbridge Angels in their first game back at Meadowbank in just over a month.

Jimmy Muitt was welcomed back to the starting line up, coming into the side in place of James McShane, and Sam Beard would also come in for Isaac Philpot in defence, Philpot having not recovered from his injury picked up at Dartford last weekend. They were the only two changes to the side which started that game, the midfield change meaning Niall McManus would start centrally, with Muitt wide right.

From the outset the tempo of the game was notably steadier than last week's engagement at Princes Park; Wanderers allowed to get their foot on the ball and work in space as 'The Angels' ,whilst certainly not sat back, were set up with counter-play in mind.

The offside flag deprived Wes Fogden of taking on a strike in space after nice link up play coming in from the left with Prior, ahead of Tommy Wood nodding over from a Rhian Bay cross from the right, the first real opportunity of the game after ten minutes falling to the visitors.

Wanderers were then fortunate Khale Da Costa was unable to punish a missed header at the back, lobbing his effort just over the bar as the ball drifted into the area.

Perhaps sparking Dorking into producing something having had such a grip on possession, they did so emphatically, with two goals in the space of two minutes. Nickly Wheeler had fired a couple of warning crosses very early on, and would assist both the goals with precise deliveries from the left wing. Firstly picking out Prior at the back stick, the striker getting up well to nod home, before finding Fogden drifting towards the left side of the area, getting a deft touch to guide the ball past Jonathan Henley into the bottom right corner.

The goals gave Wanderers further command of possession, but they were locked into moving the ball side to side, reverting back to that early steady tempo, not striving so much to get on the front foot. Approaching half-hour, Tonbridge would punish them against the run of play. Da Costa was unable to build on a lapse in midfield, but Alex Akrofi would do a few minutes later, a long ball into the box mis-read by Barry Fuller in the air, and Akrofi able to keep his composure and dink the ball over Huk and into the net.

Again Dorking managed to rouse themselves though, and restored the two goal cushion just before the interval. Wheeler would complete a hat-trick of assists with another pinpoint delivery from the left, and Prior would again be on hand to nod home from close range. Straight after Rutherford cut into the area beautifully from the left side, beating a couple of defenders on route, but struck straight down Henley, ahead of being played in by Prior, but denied the opportunity to strike after an alleged foul in the build up.

Half-Time: Dorking 3 Tonbridge 1

Jimmy Muitt was substituted for James McShane at the break, the No11 taking his place in midfield as Niall McManus would move over to the right wing.

'The Angels' pushed further forward right after the restart to temporarily pin Wanderers back, but on 53 minutes Marc White's men effectively put the game to bed. McManus had already drilled over from the right after gut-busting work from Fogden accelerating forward, and another rapid move would see the ball make it's way over to the same channel for Fuller to latch on to, drilling the ball across the six yard box for Prior to complete his hat-trick with a tap-in.

With the rain coming down heavier, a few players staying down after a cluster of clumsy challenges and both teams utilising their maximum number of substitutions in quick succession, the game became broken up around the hour mark. Matt Briggs came on for McManus on the right in a like for like change, and perhaps channelling his inner Ronald Koeman, Marc White brought on Jake Gallagher for Sam Beard, a switch which would see Kane Wills take Beard's place in an unfamiliar position on the left side of the defensive three.

Of the trio of attacking changes made by Tonbridge, Jo Turner would be the most effective, going close from distance twice as the visitors otherwise failed to really test Huk, despite getting forward more inside the last twenty minutes and having opportunities from a few set pieces out wide.

Wheeler would continue his crossing masterclass with two excellent dispatches late on to find Prior, unable to quite control the first one, and heading the second just wide after finding him at the back stick. Rutherford would fire a couple of efforts at Henley, and Prior would turn well in the box to force a low save from the stopper in the final minutes as Wanderers couldn't add further emphasis to the score line.

Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:

"I thought we were poor, I'm not being disrespectful to Tonbridge, following their cup run they've had to patch things up with injuries and with a game on Tuesday coming up, which is the right approach from their management team. So I thought that fed into our boys and we were unprofessional in our approach, we played like we were going to win the game, we were in second gear, we could have been more dominant and gone on to score more goals. Nicky Wheeler was fantastic with the three assists."

Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 3 Sam Beard (14 Jake Gallagher 63'), 5 Ed Harris, 6 Niall McManus (8 Matt Briggs 58'), 7 Jimmy Muitt (11 James McShane 46'), 9 Jason Prior, 10 Alfie Rutherford, 15 Kane Wills, 16 Nicky Wheeler, 22 Barry Fuller (c), 23 Wes Fogden

Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 20 Dan Gallagher

Goals: Prior 15', 41', 53', Fogden 17'

Yellow Cards: Beard 51'

Tonbridge Angels: 1 Jonathan Henly, 2 James Folkes, 3 Kristian Campbell , 4 D'Sean Theobalds (14 Javaun Splat 60'), 5 Jack Parter, 6 Rian Bray, 7 Khale Da Costa, 8 Tom Parkinson (c), 9 Tom Wood (15 Jo Turner 60'), 10 Alex Akrofi (16 Jason Williams 60'), 11 Tom Beere

Unused Subs: 12 Ben Greenhalgh, 17 James Shaw (GK)

Goals: Akrofi 31'

Referee: Steven Hughes

Sponsors Man of the Match: Nicky Wheeler

Stats: (provided by Olly Wyse @Olly_Wyse)

Dorking                       Tonbridge

     4               Goals                1

     8      Shots (on target)    1

     7      Shots (off target)      6

     5          Corners              4

     13            Fouls.               11