Vanarama National League South January 18th 2022
Alfie Rutherford's third hat-trick of the season spearheaded an excellent Dorking midweek performance as they defeated Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill. Leading three nil before the break, Reise Allassani's goal on the hour proved to be a consolation in the end for the hosts as Wanderers made it seven league wins on the bounce and consolidated their place at the top of the table.
Marc White made a triple change from the side which started on Saturday against Hampton & Richmond Borough. Ed Harris returned to central defence in place of the rested Dan Gallagher, Bobby-Joe Taylor moved forward to the wide left position as Matt Briggs was also left out of the matchday squad, and Wes Fogden came into central midfield ahead of Josh Taylor who was on the bench.
The returning Harris headed over the bar inside the opening minute, before the hosts produced the first effort on target just a few moments later, Jordan Green bustling into the area from the right and striking straight down Lincoln.
Neither side had really put an early stamp on the game, but with 10 minutes on the clock Wanderers managed to open the scoring. A throw in from the left flank was helped on in the air by Harris towards Rutherford, who rose well against his marker to angle a header into the bottom right corner of goal beyond Charlie Grainger.
Bobby-Joe Taylor relished the license to get further forward throughout the night, and was unfortunate not to assist Prior and swiftly double Wanderers lead. Overlapping effectively on the left side, Taylor's ball across the six-yard box was met on the slide by Prior but between a combination of keeper and defender was cleared away from the goal line.
Wanderers were continuing to exert their quality in the final third against increasingly fraught counterparts, the tireless graft and urgency of Fogden and McManus driving the team on from midfield and forcing the home side into frustrations and mistakes on the ball. McManus dug out a cross for Muitt towards the rear of the penalty area, his looping headed had Grainger at full stretch to make the catch, and shortly afterwards Rutherford would cut in from the left channel and angle a shot seemingly destined for the bottom right corner of goal, save for another last-second block on the line.
He didn't have to wait much longer to grab his second of the night though. Prior's cross from the right was delivered on a plate for his strike partner to tap home from close range.
Just a few minutes after setting up the second goal, Prior would unfortunately be substituted in the one real downside of the evening. An innocuous coming together with an opponent running through the centre circle led to an awkward landing, and after a few minutes of treatment, the Wanderers No9 would walk off the field with his arm clearly causing him serious discomfort. Marc White confirmed after the game the striker had a broken collarbone, and would likely miss the next couple of months. A massive blow to Prior and Wanderers at a time where the striker was just getting back to his usual standard of form and match fitness after not long returning from several weeks missed earlier in the season.
Josh Taylor was Prior's replacement, the switch pushing Fogden up to play in behind Rutherford.
Hamlet had pressed after the goal as they sought an immediate response, but despite a good spell of pressure in the final third were restricted to crosses well handled by Lincoln in the air and speculative strikes from range closed down.
Further, briefer stoppages treating keeper Charlie Grainger and skipper Jack Holland for knocks took the tempo out of the game in the run up to half-time, but towards the end of the five additional minutes indicated, Rutherford secured his hat-trick. A smartly manoeuvred turn and measured pass from Oldaker in the middle of the park set Muitt away down the right, and his delivery into the six yard box was guided home, to the jubilation of the travelling red and white contingent behind the goal, who were in excellent voice throughout the night.
Half-Time: Dulwich 0 Dorking 3
Dulwich top scorer Danny Mills was introduced during the interval, as was Isaac Philpot for Darren Oldaker. Wanderers switch to a back four indicating the intention to manage the game steadily through the course of the second half.
Not long after the restart Lincoln was forced into a save from a Mills header, but in the follow up counter attack, Wanderers had three bites at making it four. Josh Taylor's slick through ball set Fogden away one-on-one, after his effort was blocked Rutherford then hit the crossbar, the rebound was then struck just wide by Bobby-Joe Taylor arriving from the left channel.
Around the hour mark the hosts had their busiest spell in the attacking third. Peppering the Wanderers penalty area, The Hamlet then went close with a direct free kick whistling narrowly wide of the far post before in the follow up attacking move Allassani managed to bundle the ball home from close range after an initial cross from the right was not cleared.
Having weathered this spell, Wanderers re-settled into looking after the ball and being steady in possession for the remainder of the game. In tandem with the introduction of Kane Wills for Rutherford this forced the hosts further back as Wanderers commanded greater control of possession and deployed McManus and Fogden as the furthest players forward throughout the closing quarter of an hour.
The ball was yet again blocked on the Dulwich goal line as Cheadle went to deftly flick on a near post corner delivery, and Bobby-Joe Taylor spurned a couple of efforts late on, cutting in from right and firing spectacularly wide before catching Muitt's cross perfectly on the volley towards the opposite side of the penalty area but the strike deflected wide.
Wanderers successfully closed out the game, and after two wins on the road in the space of four days, now set up a mouth-watering clash at Meadowbank on Saturday as first take on second and we welcome the visit of Ebbsfleet United.
Dulwich Hamlet: 1 Charlie Grainger, 2 Quade Taylor, 3 Andre Blackman, 4 Jordan Higgs (14 Danny Mills 46'), 5 Jack Holland (c), 6 Tyrone Sterling, 7 Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, 8 Giovanni McGregor, 9 Chike Kandi, 10 Reise Allassani (16 Ibra Sekajja 77'), 11 Jordan Green (15 Alpha Diallo 77')
Unused Subs: 12 James Dayton, 17 Jamal Abubakari
Goal: Allassani 60'
Yellow Cards: Holland 85'
Dorking Wanderers: 34 Dan Lincoln, 32 Jordan Cheadle, 5 Ed Harris, 22 Barry Fuller (c), 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor, 26 Darren Oldaker (2 Isaac Philpot 46'), 6 Niall McManus, 23 Wes Fogden, 7 Jimmy Muitt, 10 Alfie Rutherford (15 Kane Wills 63'), 9 Jason Prior (17 Josh Taylor 27')
Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 16 Nicky Wheeler
Goals: Rutherford 10', 24', 45'
Assists: Harris 10', Prior 24', Muitt 45'
Yellow Card: Rutherford 58'
Referee: Oliver Mackey