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  • Dan Stobbart

Hungerford Town 2 Dorking Wanderers 0

Hungerford Town 2 Dorking Wanderers 0

Vanarama National League South October 31st 2020 It was unhappy Halloween for Dorking as Ryan Seager's brace proved enough for 10-man Hungerford to take maximum points at Bulpit Lane, condemning Wanderers to their first league defeat of the season. Nicky Wheeler came into the side in place of Jimmy Muitt in the only change from the last league game against Braintree a fortnight ago. Matt Briggs and Giuseppe Sole would be welcomed back from injury and would join Sami El-Abd, making his first appearance in the matchday squad this season, on the subs bench. Marc White confirmed prior to the game that Muitt, Luke Moore and Jake Gallagher would all miss out through injury, alongside longer-term absentee Callum Kennedy. Following a minute's silence for England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles who unfortunately passed away on Friday, Wanderers began the game on the front foot, winning a series of free kicks in the Hungerford half, Rutherford unlucky not to get on the end of a couple of deliveries, Ed Harris managing to connect with one, powerfully heading wide. McManus arrived just slightly too late at the back stick to direct a Wheeler cross on target, before 'The Crusaders' first chance of the game fell for Ryan Seager on the quarter hour. Playing a one-two with Mike Jones on the counter, Slav Huk did well to deny the striker with his legs as he managed to stumble through one on one. The game then became very scrappy; Wanderers still looking to push forward and persisted through the channels but had nothing to show for it in the final third, as both sides increasingly struggled to keep the ball on the deck in the middle part of the pitch and find a rhythm. Approaching the half-hour mark the game took a sudden turn as the hosts would be reduced to 10 men. With both sides gearing up for a Dorking corner to be taken, Matt Partridge would receive his marching orders for an off the ball incident, understood later to have raised his hands aggressively in the process of trying to mark his opponent. The hosts sat back into a 4-4-1 shape immediately but would almost get a reward against the run of play up the other end, as Kane Wills was nearly punished for a sloppy touch on the ball just outside his own area, but recovered impressively with a swift interception. Wanderers did press on and set about punishing the 10 men, managing to carve out a couple of great opportunities from the left just before the break. Jason Prior arrowed a diving header just wide from Wheeler's ball in, before the pair linked well to tee up Niall McManus, his shot blocked, but falling nicely for Rutherford who just couldn't keep it down from several yards out. McShane's delivery from the right would instigate multiple shots blocked in a penalty box scurmish right before the whistle, but no breakthrough was made. Half-Time: Hungerford 0-0 Dorking Neither side had settled after the restart, but Hungerford had already demonstrated what they could potentially do from a long throw, and at the second time of asking broke the deadlock on 51 minutes. The ball travelled into the area from the right touchline and reached Seager, who directed his header well into the left side of the net. The positional play, organisation and tireless effort of the hosts, particularly the defensive rear-guard, were standing up very well to what Wanderers were throwing at them. Rutherford heading straight at stopper Luke Cairney and Harris heading wide in similar fashion to his first half effort, as close as Dorking were getting as the second half ticked on. Hungerford would again get success from a long throw, and the ball would again end up in the back of the net, only to be ruled out this time for a foul in the build-up. Marc White introduced Matt Briggs and Dan Gallagher with twenty minutes to go in a bid to try and change things, and with his first action the former would pick out McShane on the edge of the box, the No11 digging out a strike which would cannon off the inside of the far post and roll across goal - unlucky. Skipper James Rusby would strike over the bar for the hosts after getting on the end of a free kick from deep, before Briggs would take on a strike himself, getting real pace on his effort from 25 yards, forcing a tip-over save from Cairney. Harris would then get amongst the action again in the opposition box, flicking on to Philpot who would be blocked off well as he pulled the trigger, before Harris himself headed wide and had an effort chalked off for offside. With ten minutes to go, 'The Crusaders' would get reward against the run of play and effectively kill the game off. Luke Hopper initially got away from Harris before being brought down by Philpot as he approached a one on one with Huk. First deemed to be outside the area, following consolation with his lineman the referee changed his decision to the award of a spot kick, but with no further punishment for Philpot. Seager stepped up, and calmly tucked the ball the opposite way to Huk's dive. Despite the best efforts of Gallagher and Fogden to drive the team on in the closing stages, the resilient hosts would hold out, Briggs having a couple of efforts blocked, McManus pushing an effort on the bounce just wide of the far post, and Fogden doing really well to fashion an overhead kick in tight proximity, the effort just drifting wide and virtually the last kick of the game. Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game: "I'll give credit to Hungerford - thought they were excellent, thought their backline played excellent with their positioning and the manager played a blinder with their formation. We were pathetic, in these days when you play on 3G in the league you have to be prepared to roll your sleaves up (when you're not). Felt it was a foul during the throw for the first goal and I don't think it was a penalty. Best way of wording today, the experienced lads had a good game and the youngsters didn't. Ultimately we have had one of them days, we did have lots of goalmouth action. Good opportunity to bounce back Tuesday - we go again." Wanderers will have a swift opportunity to get back into the winning habit with Surrey Senior Cup action away at Horley on Tuesday evening, before taking on Dartford away next Saturday back in league action. Daniel Stobbart Hungerford Town (4-2-3-1): 1 Luke Cairney, 3 Cutis Angell, 4 Matt Partridge, 5 Keith Emmerson, 6 James Rusby (c), 7 Mike Jones, 8 Callum Willmoth (2 Louis McGory 77'), 9 Ryan Seager, 17 Harrison Bayley, 19 Luke Hopper (11 Craig Fasamade 90'), 23 Rhys Tyler Unused Subs: 10 James Harding, 18 Jordan Edwards, 22 Matt Berry-Hargreaves Goals: Seager 51', 85' Red Cards: Partridge 28' Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Slav Huk, 2 Isaac Philpot, 5 Ed Harris, 6 Niall McManus, 9 Jason Prior, 10 Alfie Rutherford (8 Matt Briggs 69'), 11 James McShane,  15 Kane Wills, 16 Nicky Wheeler (20 Dan Gallagher 69'), 22 Barry Fuller (c) (3 Sam Beard 46'), 23 Wes Fogden Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 19 Giuseppe Sole Yellow Cards: Harris 13' Ref: Greg Rollason Stats: Hungerford                                             Dorking           2                   Goals                              0              3             Shots (on target)                2           1             Shots (off target)                7           1                    Corners                         6            15                   Fouls                            13           1                    Offsides                        1           0                 Yellow Cards                   1           1                    Red Cards                     0

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