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Eastbourne Borough 3 Dorking Wanderers 2

Vanarama National League South

March 15th 2022

Dorking were defeated under the lights by Eastbourne Borough in a fast paced and entertaining game at Priory Lane, the result leaving Wanderers still top of the table but now via goal difference.

Marc White stuck with the same back four that finished Saturday's game against Hemel Hempstead, Dan Gallagher coming into the starting line up and Ed Harris retaining the captain's armband in the continued absence of Barry Fuller through illness. Davide Rodari dropped to the bench as Alfie Rutherford led the line up top. Dan Lincoln remained in goal as his suspension will begin this Saturday following his red card from the weekend.

Wanderers came out the traps flying and made a lightning quick start to the game, pegging the hosts back. Inside the opening two minutes Rutherford cut in from the left flank and tested Lee Worgan with a swerving drive from range, Kennedy then headed the resulting corner ball over the bar.

The rapid start was swiftly rewarded as Wanderers got themselves two goals to the good with less than a quarter of an hour played. A cross from the left flank was met by Muitt just beyond the back stick, he nodded across to Rutherford who in turn headed the ball home from close range.

Then, just three minutes later, the persistence down the attacking left paid off again as Wheeler cut into the area, only to be fouled by Luke Nippard, penalty awarded. Oldaker stepped up and drove the spot kick firmly to Worgan's right.

Wanderers had been relentless with their pressing and quick passing throughout the first twenty minutes, often getting success down that left hand side, but with their first real venture forward, 'The Sports' were presented with an opportunity to get back in the game. Nippard made good progress down the right channel and fed Charley Kendall in the area, the hosts top scorer was then brought down by Ed Harris leaving a leg out, the referee not hesitating in pointing to the spot. Kendall himself stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty to Lincoln's right.

Spurred on by a lively, bumper crowd, Eastbourne gained momentum and went close to getting back on terms not long after the penalty. After good interplay, Greg Luer crossed for Chris Whelpdale from the right channel, the experienced front man meeting the delivery on the volley but arrowing his effort just wide of target.

Wanderers squandered a three-on-three counter attack in the midst of the hosts good spell, McManus linking with Rutherford but the eventual strike blocked from just inside the box.

Veering back and forth in the lead up to half-time the pace of the game remained fast, Luer doing well to stay onside before again crossing from the right, finding James Hammond in the air towards the back post but Lincoln produced a good reaction save to keep the effort away. Oldaker then impressively strode forward from just inside his own half and found Wheeler, his threatening delivery was cleared ahead of Kennedy having a shot blocked and Harris heading the subsequent corner wide.

Half-Time: Eastbourne 1 Dorking 2

In not dissimilar fashion to how Wanderers started the first half, Eastbourne hit the ground running at the start of the second, and got reward within three minutes to level the scores. Jack Currie persevered down the left and crossed low towards the edge of the area, the arriving Jaden Perez taking advantage of the pace on the ball to calmly drive it home first-time.

The dynamic front combination for Eastbourne, with Whelpdale dropping off and becoming an increasing influence, continued causing problems as Wanderers lost their composure on the ball and often struggled to get out and upfield. Perez nodded wide ahead of Whelpdale blasting an effort over the bar and sending a threatening delivery across the six yard box, but with no takers. Gallagher produced an excellent recovery tackle to prevent Kendall getting a strike off as he closed in on goal, before Whelpdale again met a first time delivery and just sent it wide.

At the mid-point of the half, Marc White reacted with a double change, reverting back to the 3-5-2 formation with the introduction of James McShane and Davide Rodari, replacing Ed Harris and Jimmy Muitt. Niall McManus moved over to the right wing as part of the shake up.

Danny Bloor's side remained in the ascendancy though, Kendall turning well to buy space at the edge of the area after decent approach play from the right flank, his shot powerful but straight down Lincoln, McManus then having to make a key block as the ball came in from the left.

Into the final ten minutes good approach play from Taylor and Wheeler proceeded Rutherford having a shot blocked from the left side of the area by Mitch Dickenson, the striker then teeing up Rodari shortly after, but his shot was also closed down swiftly.

With two minutes of regulation time remaining, Eastbourne got reward for their second half exploits and broke Wanderers hearts. After losing the ball on the left flank, the ball was transferred over to full back Jake Elliott on the opposite side, he took advantage of the space that opened up ahead of him, cut in and curled home a superb strike from 25 yards out, finding the far corner of the net.

Wanderers could not find a leveller in the closing minutes, and were left to reflect on a disappointing night where their early two goal advantage was overturned through the course of the second half, effectively a reversal of what had happened in the home fixture back in October.

The opportunity to bounce back and go again comes on Saturday as Hampton & Richmond Borough are the visitors to Meadowbank.

Daniel Stobbart

Eastbourne Borough: 1 Lee Worgan, 3 Jack Currie (2 Jake Elliott 66'), 4 Luke Nippard, 5 Mitch Dickenson (c), 8 James Hammond, 9 Greg Luer, 11 Chris Whelpdale (10 Charlie Walker 81'), 17 Dominic Hutchinson, 19 Jaden Perez, 20 Trent Mahorn, 24 Charley Kendall

Unused Subs: 7 Joe Rollinson, 18 Leon Gravata, 21 Finlay Holter (GK)

Goals: Kendall pen 19', Perez 48', Elliott 88'

Yellow Cards: Whelpdale 45'

Dorking Wanderers: 34 Dan Lincoln, 2 Isaac Philpot, 5 Ed Harris (11 James McShane 67'), 6 Niall McManus (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 85'), 7 Jimmy Muitt (45 Davide Rodari 67'), 10 Alfie Rutherford, 12 Callum Kennedy, 16 Nicky Wheeler, 17 Josh Taylor, 20 Dan Gallagher, 26 Darren Oldaker

Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 19 Jordan Cheadle

Goals: Rutherford 9', Oldaker pen 12'

Yellow Cards: Philpot 51', McManus 83'

Referee: Michael Ryan

Attendance: 1027

Man Of The Match: Mitch Dickenson (Official Home Selection)

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