Dorking Wanderers vs Eastleigh
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
October 15th 2022 - 3pm
The 1st Round Proper Awaits...
Dorking will enter the FA Cup at the 4th Qualifying Round stage on Saturday afternoon, hosting fellow National League Premier outfit Eastleigh at Meadowbank.
For Wanderers it's an opportunity to go one better than last season and reach the 1st Round proper for the first time in the club's history. Wins over Burgess Hill Town and Weston-super-Mare last season carried Marc White's side into a first ever tie at the 4th Qualifying Round Stage, where two enthralling fixtures with Hayes & Yeading United followed. After drawing at Meadowbank 2-2, a replay at the SkyEx Stadium three days later on a rainy Tuesday night finished by the same scoreline after extra-time. Penalty kicks duly followed, and unfortunately Wanderers came up short, losing 4-3 in the shoot-out.
The cup fixture will be respite for Wanderers following last week's disappointing league defeat away at Altrincham, Marc White acknowledging post-match that a mix of the wrong tactics and personnel proved costly up in the North West. The manager arranged a friendly this past Tuesday evening at Meadowbank against Abbey Rangers to work on shape and allow player's throughout the squad to add match minutes, Harry Ottaway's close range finish early in the second half giving Wanderers a 1-0 win on a night where B team player's Ben Aubrey, Trevor Caborn and Jude Salmon all featured.
In regards to injury updates, Marc White kept his cards close to his chest in his weekly update broadcast earlier today, confirming that sickness is running through the camp at the moment and that could potentially lead to absence's on Saturday afternoon. Luke Moore and Nicky Wheeler did not feature in Tuesday's friendly and having missed the last few league games through injury both remain doubtful for the weekend.
Opposition Focus: The Spitfires
An established National League Premier side since their first ever promotion to the division back in 2014, Saturday's visitors from Hampshire not only face Wanderers in the cup but will also be the designated opponents in the traditional Christmas & New Fixtures just around the corner. In their inaugural campaign at non-league's top tier eight years ago, Eastleigh made an impressive start, finishing 4th and securing a play-off place. They would face Grimsby Town in the semi-finals, the Linconshire side progressing to the final after winning 5-1 over two legs. After just missing out on a play-off spot the following year, the 2018/19 campaign saw the club secure a 7th placed finish, overcoming Wrexham 0-1 away in the play-off eliminator tie before suffering defeat to eventual winners Salford City in the semi-finals. Last campaign would see Eastleigh finish in their lowest position since coming up to the National League Premier so far, 19th place. Former Bournemouth and Havant & Waterlooville boss and recent Crawley Town assistant manager Lee Bradbury took up the reigns back in February, and will no doubt be looking to push the team on this year and get them competing towards the top end once again. Currently sat in 10th, The Spitfires are currently 2 points better off than Wanderers in the league standings. Bradbury's side come into the cup fixture in good form after a 4 game unbeaten run, draws against Aldershot Town and Gateshead falling in the middle of 2-1 victories over Halifax Town and last Saturday over Chesterfield. Striker Danny Whitehall is the top scorer so far with 4 league goals, and is well supported in attack by Watford loanee JJ McKiernan and former Woking midfielder Charlie Carter, prolific from midfield for the Surrey side in his last spell playing in the National League back in 2018/19. At the back, central defender and skipper Aaron Martin will provide plenty of experience after extensive spells in the football league, he arrived from Port Vale in the summer after enjoying promotion success in League 2 last term. Eastleigh's time in the National League Prem has coincided with history-making venture's in the FA Cup over recent years. In the season they got promoted, 2014/15, they made it to FA Cup 2nd Round proper for the first time ever, defeating Lincoln City with a stoppage time goal to get there before being defeated 2-1 away at Southport. The following season, The Spitfires went one better, making it to the 3rd round proper, defeating Football League side Crewe Alexandra and then Stourbridge on route to facing Bolton Wanderers. After drawing 1-1 in the North West, the replay back at the Silverlake Stadium finished in a 2-3 defeat.
TICKETS AVAILABLE BOTH ONLINE & AT THE TURNSTILES!
PRICES: Adults £16 / Concessions £13 / U18s £8 / U8s £4
FAMILY OFFER! A family of 4 (2 adults, 2 U12s) can watch the Wanderers against Dagenham & Redbridge for only £35!
Matchday Programme: £3 (physical copies only, available at ground)
Why not join us for a drink in the FanZone? Open to home & away supporters from 1pm!
Not attending Saturday's match? Gary Pascoe will be providing matchday commentary, stay tuned to our social media channels for more information.
We will be providing action and score updates throughout the afternoon via Twitter (@DorkingWDRS)
VISITING FANS INFORMATION: Getting to Meadowbank, where to grab a pre-match drink beforehand and more...