Dorking Wanderers 2 Scunthorpe United 1
Vanarama National League
April 29th 2023
Dorking closed out their inaugral National League campaign with a comfortable win over already relegated Scunthorpe United in front of a bumper crowd at Meadowbank.
Ryan Seager opened the scoring for Wanderers just before the half-hour mark with a clinical first time finish inside the box, the striker doubling the lead and his tally for the afternoon early in the second half with another composed effort after excellent build up play involving Aaron Kuhl and Jimmy Muitt. Danny Elliott pulled one back for The Iron with less than ten minutes remaining to threaten the possibility of a positive season finale, but Wanderers held out to take all three points and sign off with a victory.
Josh Taylor, Luke Moore and Jason Prior were all ruled out in the build up to the game due to injury, so Aaron Kuhl, James McShane and Ryan Seager respectively came into the starting line up, the other change from last weekend's draw at Wealdstone seeing Barry Fuller return to the back three in place of Isaac Philpot. Not included in the matchday squad for a number of weeks but named among the substitutes for today's game were Sami El-Abd, Ed Harris and Matt Briggs, the latter ruled out since mid-March with a knee injury.
Unsurprisingly it was a steady start to the game as both teams took time to get into their rhythm, Wanderers beginning to establish control and dominate possession approaching the midway point of the half and work some openings. Bobby-Joe Taylor had struck a free kick in shooting range into the top of wall before delivering another set piece from the right flank. Only half-cleared, James McShane picked up the loose ball and tried a curling effort which was comfortably saved by keeper Owen Foster. Moments later Seb Bowerman also looked to profit from The Iron defence failing to clear their lines, the winger turning and twisting to find an angle on goal but seeing his resulting effort from 12 yards out closed down.
Just before the half-hour mark Wanderers managed to make the breakthrough they deserved; Bowerman driving inside and passing to Jimmy Muitt, who then found Ryan Seager towards the rear of the penalty area, the striker dispatching a clinical first-time side-footed finish into the bottom right corner of goal.
Harry Ottaway held the ball up and set for strike partner Seager in the run up to half-time, the Wanderers No9 denied his second of the game with a good headed clearance just in front of goal after turning sharply to get the shot off, McShane then stabbing a follow-up effort just wide after good approach play.
Half time: Dorking Wanderers 1 Scunthorpe United 0 Muitt was at the heart of much of Wanderers attacking play throughout the game with his close control of the ball and direct running, and set up two good chances just after the restart, providing a cross which Ottaway would nod wide at the back post ahead of dribbling inside brilliantly at pace and teeing off Bowerman to take on a strike, aiming for the top right bins he sent his strike just wide. Reduced to just a couple of half-chances in the opening forty-five, Jimmy Dean's side created their best efforts on goal early in the second half; attacking midfielder Sean Shields suprisingly opting to head the ball on to forward Danny Elliott rather than go for goal himself after a corner ball was swung in, the subsequent effort directed off target, Tom Pugh then able to turn into space vacated by Wanderers at the back and slide the ball in for Jake Leake, the full-back's shot fired straight down Dan Lincoln. On the hour Wanderers did manage to double their advantage and it was a sublime attacking move which created the opportunity; Aaron Kuhl, key in getting Wanderers on the front-foot all game from central midfield, cleverly dummying McShane's pass out to Muitt on the right flank, he then crossed low for Seager who after taking an initial touch finished clinically beyond Foster to grab his 15th goal in all competitions this term. Matt Briggs came off the bench to make a first appearance since mid-March, and looked like his vintage self with a few trademark, pacey runs forward down the right, combining with Fuller as he did so often and so effectively last season to flash a ball across the face of goal, Seager not able to quite get his head over the ball closing in on the six yard box. Both Ottaway and Briggs would be denied by good Foster saves towards his near post after cutting in from the flanks, the latter effort set up by a superb diagonal cross-field pass by Kuhl which Briggs was able to meet and run onto first time. Lincoln then produced an outstanding save up the other end after great inter-play between Elliott and Shields down the right, the Wanderers goalkeeper clawing a rising effort over the bar as he was having to slightly track back. With less than ten minutes to go, former Boreham Wood striker Elliott managed to half the deficit, receiving the ball and turning into space after good pressing from substitutes Jacob Butterfield and Josh Robertson, driving a low effort beyond Lincoln inside the box. Sami El-Abd came on for Seager in the final few minutes to make his 100th appearance for Wanderers, a great moment and way for the season to end as he joined the late effort to protect the lead and see the game out. In the last nine league games Wanderers have lost just once; the impressive late run of form ultimately securing their National League status for another season and continuing right through to the very end of the campaign after safety was confirmed at Gateshead ten days ago. The draw at Wealdstone last weekend and final day win against Scunthorpe ensures Wanderers finish their first ever National League season in 16th spot with 57 points.
Dan Stobbart Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Dan Lincoln, 22 Barry Fuller, 27 Tony Craig, 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor; 7 Jimmy Muitt, 20 Dan Gallagher, 25 Aaron Kuhl, 11 James McShane, 30 Seb Bowerman (15 Matt Briggs 63'), 9 Ryan Seager (4 Sami El-Abd 89'), 24 Harry Ottaway Unused Subs: 2 Isaac Philpot, 5 Ed Harris, 16 Nicky Wheeler Goals: Seager: 29', 60' Scunthorpe Utd (4-2-3-1): 1 Owen Foster, 2 Regan Ogle, 6 Andrew Boyce (c), 29 Will Smith, 25 Jake Leake; 30 Tom Pugh (35 Josh Robertson 63'), 31 Dean Rance (22 Finley Shrimpton 63'), 27 Dion Sembie-Ferris (19 Jacob Butterfield 75'), 11 Marcus Carver, 32 Sean Shields; 5 Danny Elliott Unused Subs: 23 Colin Daniel, 49 Richie Bennett Goal: Elliott 82' Yellow Card: Elliott 47' Referee: Paul Johnson Attendance: 3006 (185 Scunthorpe Fans) Sponsors Man Of The Match: Aaron Kuhl