Dorking continued to stay busy and prepared on the pitch with the visits this past week of two XI's from the football league, Crawley Town and Southend United.
As he has done in the recent friendlies with Gloucester and Eastbourne, Marc White would continue to fully utilise his squad options across both fixtures, able to welcome Isaac Philpot and Callum Kennedy back into the fold after both have missed out recently through injuries. Midfielders Lewis Taylor and Jamie O'Hara also returned to the squad for the first time since the friendlies which took place during the mid-season suspension several weeks back. A couple of trialists also featured for Wanderers in the game against Crawley, Jason Prior the only new abscentee across both fixtures, understood to be recovering from illness.
Dorking Wanderers 3 Crawley Town XI 0
March 11th 2021
In an unusual Thursday lunchtime slot, a Crawley Town XI made the short trip from Sussex to take on Wanderers in a midday kick off at Meadowbank.
James Tilley was bright for the visitors early on with a succession of chances, including combining well with Nick Tsaroulla before striking over the bar, ahead of forcing a low save from Sam Howes.
Wanderers grew into the game, Alfie Rutherford’s effort kept out by stopper Stuart Nelson, the keeper then reacting well to tip away a bicycle-kick from Wes Fogden. From the subsequent corner, an unmarked Rutherford headed home to open the scoring.
Tsaroulla looked to provide an immediate response, his effort blocked after a jinking run from Tilley put him through. Dorking were unlucky not to double the lead before the break though, Wheeler's cross nearly catching out Nelson and coming back off the bar, Jimmy Muitt then latching onto the winger's cross and having his strike blocked.
After the restart Howes stood up well to deny Davide Rodari as he came through one-on-one after a breakdown in play in the middle of the park, and Howes capped a fine display across the afternoon with a penalty save on the hour mark, Tilley winning and seeing his spot kick saved.
Howes would again deny Rodari at close quarters, sub keeper for Crawley Alfie Jones then producing a fantastic diving save to keep out a well-worked free kick and strike from Muitt from the edge of the area. However, just a few minutes later Muitt made no mistake and in some style; beating two defenders down the right wing before driving the ball into the top corner with a superb finish.
With ten minutes to go Rutherford bagged his second of the afternoon to put the game to bed, meeting Barry Fuller's excellent cross to guide the ball into the bottom corner.
Dorking Wanderers 3 Southend United U23s 1
March 13th 2021
With Alfie Rutherford joining Prior on the sick list, Jimmy Muitt started up top with James McShane playing in behind as 'The Shrimpers' U23s visited Meadowbank for a 1pm kick off.
After a steady opening, Wanderers started to lock in their passing game with slick interplay through midfield, and began to create chances around the quarter hour. Following a corner delivery breaking down, Luke Moore channelled his inner Bergkamp with an audacious flick around his defensive counterpart, the ball just getting away from him in front of goal as looked to unleash a strike. McManus then capitalised on a loose ball in midfield and surged forward, unselfishly laying off for Muitt who side-footed over the bar just inside the area.
Matt Briggs produced his own trademark surge forward through the right channel, the ball falling for Muitt who's effort was straight down stopper Collin Andeng Ndi. A few minutes later it would be third time lucky for the winger-turned-striker, Wanderers pressing well and forcing another loose pass from the opposition up top, McShane then playing Muitt in to round Andeg Ndi and slot home.
Wes Fogden nearly produced the spectacular, fashioning a rainbow flick before angling a dipping volley off the top of the crossbar from just outside the area, very unlucky.
Matt Rush had a half-chance for the 'Shrimpers', looking to make something of a long hoof up top but unable to direct his header goal-bound. The striker did produce a fine finish out of nothing though not long before the break to level the scores; receiving the ball at the edge of the area, turning and striking at pace to drill an effort into the bottom left corner.
Minutes before the interval, Wanderers not only managed to restore their lead but doubled the advantage. Reiss Chandler tussled with Fogden and brought the midfielder down, and despite the Bruce Grobbelar-style antics of Andeg Ndi on the goal line, Muitt stepped up and cooly rolled the ball down the middle. Muitt was then involved heavily a minute later, his strike blocked by Miles Mitchell-Nelson but cannoning off of Jimmy Wallace to rebound into the back of the net.
McShane saw his shot from the edge of the box saved just after the restart, Jake Gallagher then tapping home a Briggs pass across the six yard box, but the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play. The goal would have certainly capped what has been an interesting week for the 'viral' midfielder.
The lively Rush had a couple of close range opportunities for Southend, denied well at point blank range by Howes after his initial strike was blocked.
Jamie O'Hara started and finished the move that led to him striking over the bar from distance, Dan Gallagher the unlikely candidate going on to have Wanderers best chances through the remainder of the second half, unable to steer a couple of opportunities that landed for him at the back stick towards goal, and striking just wide of the far post after collecting Wheeler's blocked cross inside the area.
Matt Briggs was replaced midway through the half after appearing to land awkwardly on his hand, his replacement James Dickson went close with a low effort saved by Andeg Ndi at his near post not long after coming on. In the later stages he played in fellow sub George Membrillera close to the byline, but he was deprived of getting a shot away by some good defensive work from the centre half.
Rush combined with Oliver Coker very late on and forced an impressive save on the stretch from Howes several yards out.
Dorking vs Crawley
Dorking: Howes, Beard (Trialist 46'), Philpot (Kennedy 60'), Fuller, Wheeler, Taylor (O'Hara 46'), Fogden, J Gallagher (Taylor 60'), Trialist, Muitt, Rutherford
Goals: Rutherford 28', 80', Muitt 76'
Crawley Town XI: Nelson (Jones); Sesay, Trialist A (Adebowale), Trialist B, M. Wright; Tilley (Trialist C), Khaleel (Kowalczyk), J. Wright (Burnett), Tsaroulla (Allarakhia); Frost (Al-Hussaini), Rodari (German).
Dorking vs Southend
Dorking: Howes, Beard (Kennedy 46'), Harris (El-Abd 46'), Fuller (Dyett 61'), McManus (Wheeler 46'), Wills (O'Hara 46'), Fogden (D Gallagher 46'), Moore (J Gallagher 46'), Briggs (Dickson 61'), McShane (Allen 80'), Muitt (Membrillera 80')
Goals: Muitt 21', 40'pen, Wallace og 41'
Southend United U23s: Andeng Ndi, Chandler, Mitchell-Nelson, Wallace, Osmieh, Phillips (Brogan 59'), Stewart (Martin 79'), Benton (Brown 59'), Eastwood (O Coker 46'), Rush, Kinali (K Coker 78')
Goals: Rush 34'
Unused Sub: Mpenga
Stats (provided by @Olly_Wyse)
3 Goals 1
11 Shots (on target) 3
5 Shots (off target) 1
6 Corners 4
6 Fouls. 7
19 Crosses. 11
2 Offsides 0
0 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 10
61% Possession 39%