Dorking Wanderers 3 Maidstone United 2
Vanarama National League
December 13th 2022
Dorking got back to winning ways in highly dramatic fashion on Tuesday night, coming from behind during stoppage time to defeat their promotion rivals from last term Maidstone United in an eventful encounter at Meadowbank.
James McShane opened the scoring in the 6th minute to give Wanderers the early lead, but as the first half progressed The Stones showed the greater threat going forward and got back on terms through former Wanderer Jack Barham, before Roarie Deacon then put the away side in front just ahead of the interval. Maidstone defender Reiss Greenidge was dismissed midway through the second period for collecting two yellow cards in the space of six minutes, but despite the extra man advantage it looked like Hak Hayrettin's side would hold out for maximum points, until Bobby-Joe Taylor, on as a substitute just after half-time, scored two headers in stoppage time against his former side to give Wanderers a first win in three matches.
Marc White made four changes to the side which started against Chesterfield on the weekend, Sami El-Abd and Archie Procter coming into the back three as Barry Fuller and Ed Harris were both ruled out through injury, the latter originally on the team sheet but replaced shortly before kick off after pulling his calf muscle in the warm up. Like Fuller, Luke Moore was injured during the first half of Saturday's game, so Harry Ottaway started for the first time in over a fortnight up top with Ryan Seager, captain for the evening James McShane dropping back into central midfield. The other change saw Nicky Wheeler come in for Bobby-Joe Taylor out wide.
It had been a lively opening to the game as play shifted end to end and at a high tempo, Maidstone going close in the opening minutes as Barham's near post header from a free kick went just wide, but it was Wanderers who opened the scoring on 6 minutes with their first real chance. McManus' free kick from deep fell to El-Abd at the near post, he vollied across the face of goal and it bounced out for McShane, who once again was in the right place at the right time to slot the ball home from close range. It was a special goal for 'Macca', the midfielder's 100th goal for the club, and also his 15th of the campaign, moving him up to second in the division's goalscoring table.
The game continued to veer back and forth, but approaching the midway point of the half the visiting side were starting to carve out good chances; the livewire Barham cutting in and firing straight down Walsh before Sam Corne rifled a fiercely struck effort just marginally wide of the post. The pressure paid off as The Stones found an equaliser, and it was a well worked goal as Corne slid the ball into Roarie Deacon at the edge of the box, his astute flick then releasing Barham into the area and he calmly stroked the ball into the bottom left corner from 12 yards out.
Regan Booty drilled another effort wide, and the influential Ryan Galvin operating down the attacking left caused a few problems coming in from that side, going close at the back stick heading just wide before Barham swung an effort just beyond the post. In the midst of the continued pressure, Marc White's injury woes were further compounded as McShane had to be withdrawn ten minutes before the break. Having already taken a knock to the head earlier in the half, the Wanderers skipper for the night took another knock and this time had to leave the field of play, replaced by Alfie Egan.
Just a few minutes before the interval, Maidstone got themselves ahead in the contest. An in-swinging free kick delivered by Booty fell for Deacon on the far side of the area, and the former Havant & Waterlooville man's firm first-time strike nestled into the bottom corner of goal.
Corne headed a good opportunity over the top straight after, but Wanderers nearly found an immediate response to going behind, Wheeler drifting in from the left and looking to bend one into the top corner, his effort from range coming back off the crossbar, Muitt arriving first to the rebound but lashing it over the bar.
Half-Time: Dorking Wanderers 1 Maidstone United 2
Within a few minutes of the restart Marc White brought on Bobby-Joe Taylor for Sami El-Abd, adding more pace to the midfield as Dan Gallagher dropped into the back three.
The away side picked up where they had left off after the restart, still shifting the ball quickly between the midfield and attacking lines, and carved out a few good chances to further extend their advantage. Walsh was forced into successive tip's over the bar as balls were floated in from the left channel, ahead of Barham gathering a defensive giveaway and aiming for the bottom corner, just sending it fractionally wide. Corne and George Fowler played a tidy one-two approaching the edge of the area with the former getting a shot off that flew just past the post.
Around the hour mark Wheeler again tried his luck from range but this time struck straight down keeper Daniel Barden, and within the next several minutes Maidstone put their lead in jeopardy as they were quickly reduced to ten men. Cautioned for a foul in the middle of the park, just six minutes later centre half Reiss Greenidge committed another late challenge right on the byline, and referee Gary Parsons issued the defender with a second yellow card followed by a red after consultation with his linesman stood nearby to the foul.
Shortly after the dismissal, Seager almost got Wanderers level, directing the ball at goal after keeper Barden missed it in the air, but it was scrambled clear off the goal line. Despite the extra man advantage and beginning to take command of possession, Hay Hayrettin's side looked the likelier to get the next goal, Walsh tipping the ball over the bar as a cross fell towards goal and Barham spurned an effort from the left side of the box.
It looked like the game had gotten away from Wanderers as six minutes of added on time was confirmed, but two quick-fire goals within the allotted time overturned the scoreline to send the Wanderers faithful behind the goal into absolute rapture and stun the travelling Stones contingent. Isaac Philpot's cross from the right found Bobby-Joe arriving towards the back post, and the wing back guided home a header to level things up. Then, just three minutes later, a corner ball dropped into the near post was missed by Seager initially but fell nicely for Bobby-Joe to nod home off the underside of the bar, to a wall of noise from the stands behind the goal.
After collecting just one point from the proceeding three games, the win moves Wanderers up to 15th with a bit more daylight between themselves and the dropzone, and only four points off the play-off places as the middle part of the table remains ultra-competitive. It's a break from league action for the next ten days now as attention turns to the FA Trophy 3rd Round this Saturday, where Wanderers will travel to fellow National League side Yeovil Town in a 3pm kick off at Huish Park.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 41 Joe Walsh, 2 Isaac Philpot, 4 Sami El-Abd (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 49'), 35 Archie Procter; 7 Jimmy Muitt, 20 Dan Gallagher, 6 Niall McManus, 11 James McShane (29 Alfie Egan 37'), 16 Nicky Wheeler (12 Callum Kennedy 79); 24 Harry Ottaway, 9 Ryan Seager
Unused Subs: 14 Jordan Cheadle, 15 Adam Mekki
Goals: McShane 6', BJ Taylor 90+2', 90+5'
Yellow Cards: Gallagher 24', M. White 64', Seager 90+3'
Maidstone Unied (4-2-3-1): 31 Daniel Barden, 5 George Fowler, 20 Reiss Greenidge, 24 Kodi Lyons-Foster, 18 Jerome Binnom-Williams; 15 Regan Booty (4 Joe Ellul 71'), 32 Sha'mar Lawson; 21 Roarie Deacon, 8 Sam Corne, 3 Ryan Galvin (16 Josh Fawole 80'); 10 Jack Barham (19 Hady Ghandour 88')
Unused Subs: 30 Yusuf Mersin (GK), 14 Dominic Odusanya
Goals: Barham 22', Deacon 41'
Yellow Cards: Greenidge 62', 67', Lyons-Foster 90+3
Red Card: Greenidge 67'
Referee: Gary Parsons
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Niall McManus