Vanarama National League South January 2nd 2022
Dorking began 2022 with a win after defeating Havant & Waterlooville by three goals to one at Westleigh Park. Completing a 'festive double' over the Hampshire side following last weekend's resounding Boxing Day victory, goals at the end of the first half from Nicky Wheeler and Jason Prior sent Wanderers on their way, and despite Tommy Wright's super strike halving the deficit in the second period, Niall McManus' goal two minutes from time sealed victory.
Marc White named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that kicked off at Meadowbank seven days ago. Ed Harris and Isaac Philpot made the bench for today's game as Jimmy Muitt and Luke Moore dropped out.
The home side started the contest brighter, closing down more aggressively in midfield and pushing Wanderers into forced and unforced errors on the ball, not quite able to find that cohesion through midfield. Whilst not generating much activity in the final third, Jamie Collins did get on the end of a Billy Clifford free kick, but from close range couldn't fashion a strong enough contact, ahead of Cheadle and Lincoln both making key interceptions from further dangerous deliveries as Havant enjoyed success down the left flank.
Cheadle turned provider up the other end of the pitch, finding McManus at the corner of the penalty box with a measured pass, the midfielder turned before striking just over the top right stantion, Wanderers first chance of the match.
Clifford was allowed too much space between the lines and forced Lincoln into a low diving save to his right, and at the midway point in the half the lively Tommy Wright spurned Havant's best chance of the game. Accelerating past his marker down the right flank and cutting into the penalty area, he hesitated getting the strike off rounding Lincoln, but with Wanderers gradually getting bodies back, drove his effort narrowly over the crossbar. Wheeler went one better in a the follow up attack as his cross-turned-shot clipped the outside of the post from the left.
Clifford had been cautioned inside the opening ten minutes for a late sliding challenge on McManus in the middle of the park, and would collect his second yellow card and dismissal just before the half-hour for a similar tackle in a similar area of the field, this time on Oldaker. For the second game on the spin, Paul Doswell's side would be reduced to ten men with substantial time left on the clock.
And very shortly after the red card, Wanderers punished the home side further by making the breakthrough. Fuller's cross from the right was stabbed home by Wheeler, timing his movement well to get past wing-back Benny Read on his blind side to finish from close range.
Jake McCarthy squandered a good opportunity to immediately restore parity as the ball came into the middle of the box from the left, 'The Hawks' top scorer splicing his effort wide of target.
Five minutes on from opening the scoring, Dorking doubled the advantage. Briggs this time with the delivery from the right, crossing into the near post where Prior edged past Joe Oastler to thump home a header, straight in front of the jubilant red and white support behind the goal.
Half-Time: Havant 0 Dorking 2
Sami-El Abd and Bobby-Joe Taylor were introduced at half-time for Darren Oldaker and Jordan Cheadle. With Oldaker on a yellow card for a late challenge towards the end of the half, Dan Gallagher moved out of central defence into his more familiar position sitting in midfield.
With the one man and two goal advantage, Wanderers were content to steadily control possession and keep Havant pushed back following the restart. Urgency getting forward was therefore restrained, but Briggs tried to take advantage of the increasingly rainier and windier conditions with a serving effort from distance, beaten away by Ross Wormer. Josh Taylor and Jake Andrews then both respectively wasted good set pieces opportunities in striking range by sending them straight into the walls.
Excellent control from Prior released Rutherford clean through on goal, the chance got away from the striker though and shifted across to McManus, who struck a post before Wheeler blasted the rebound over the bar.
A chance to kill the game off, Havant duly harshened the missed opportunity with twenty minutes to go. A misplaced pass in midfield led to an initial break forward from James Roberts being shut down, the ball then falling for Wright who struck a superb strike from outside the box which cannoned in off the underside of the bar beyond Lincoln.
Prior and Wheeler had strikes blocked at close range as Wanderers sought an immediate response, but despite the deficit being halved and Paul Doswell making an attacking double change with the introductions of Scott Rendell and Abdulai Baggie, Wanderers didn't find themselves under any real pressure in the late stages, switching to a back four as Kane Wills came on for Jason Prior and the tireless Dan Gallagher reverted back into defence.
The Wanderers killer goal did arrive just two minutes from the end of normal time. Tidy control to buy space and a sharp burst forward from Briggs midway into the Havant half proceeded the wing-back laying the ball into the path of McManus, who kept his cool to slot the ball home beneath the advancing Wormer and into the back of the net.
Dorking return to Meadowbank next Saturday for the first home fixture of 2022 as Braintree Town are the visitors.
Havant & Waterlooville: 1 Ross Worner, 2 Josh Passley, 4 Joe Oastler (c), 7 Jake McCarthy, 10 Billy Clifford, 12 Benny Read (19 Scott Rendell 82'), 14 Joe Newton, 16 Jamie Collins, 20 Tommy Wright, 21 James Roberts (11 Abdulai Baggie 82'), 35 Jake Andrews
Unused Subs: 9 Alex Wall, 13 Charlie Searle, 26 Leon Baker
Goals: Wright 69'
Yellow Cards: Clifford 10', 27', Oastler 22', Collins 86'
Red Cards: Clifford 27'
Dorking Wanderers: 13 Dan Lincoln, 6 Niall McManus, 8 Matt Briggs, 9 Jason Prior (15 Kane Wills 77'), 10 Alfie Rutherford, 16 Nicky Wheeler, 17 Josh Taylor, 19 Jordan Cheadle (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 46'), 20 Dan Gallagher, 22 Barry Fuller (c), 26 Darren Oldaker (4 Sami El-Abd 46')
Unused Subs: 2 Isaac Philpot, 5 Ed Harris
Goals: Wheeler 32', Prior 37', McManus 88'
Assists: Fuller 32', Briggs 37', 88'
Yellow Cards: OIdaker 38', Fuller 62', Rutherford 85'
Referee: Paul Johnson