• Dan Stobbart

Maidstone United 2 Dorking Wanderers 1

Maidstone United 2 Dorking Wanderers 1

Buildbase FA Trophy - 4th Round

January 16th 2021

Dorking's FA Trophy run came to an end as they were narrowly defeated by fellow National League South side Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium.

For the third consecutive game, Marc White went with an unchanged Wanderers starting eleven, and was able to welcome Jason Prior back to the matchday squad following his recent achilles injury.

Wanderers had the first opportunity of the game inside the opening few minutes; James McShane locating Alfie Rutherford around the penalty spot, the striker directing a shot towards the bottom right corner, saved by Raven Constable.

It had been a quick paced, even start to game, Scott Rendell having a strike blocked by Ed Harris up the other end, just before the home side managed to open the scoring on 7 minutes. A free kick delivery from the left was initially deflected on to the near post, before spilling out for Saidou Khan, who drove an accurate finish into the top left corner from just outside the area.

In the wake of the early setback Rutherford was again denied by Constable, McShane's follow up shot blocked, before Callum Kennedy took on a curling effort from the right side of the box, sending the ball just over the far left stantion. The lively Joan Luque forced a strong handed save from Howes from a direct free kick after Ed Harris had brought down Charlie Seaman for the game's first caution.

Matt Briggs was beginning to ease back into his recent good run of form as the half progressed, and went on to be a thorn in the side of Maidstone for the remainder of the game down the attacking right. He began and almost got on the end of the move that got Wanderers level midway through the half. Feeding Rutherford in the channel, his ball across didn't quite fall for Briggs arriving into the area, but did for McShane, who tucked the ball home.

It was the same players combing again a moment later, this time Rutherford unselfishly opting to tee the ball on looking for McShane to no avail, Niall McManus winding up collecting the ball and blasting it over the bar. Rutherford then dummied the ball to successfully find McShane in the follow up move, the midfielder this time unlucky hitting the post.

Without really testing Howes, Maidstone were very much in the contest by pegging Wanderers further back then they would have liked, pressing well, and it was this pressure that paid off just before the half-hour. Luke Moore was guilty of taking on a risky pass too close to home, Luque pouncing on the loose ball and calmly proceeding to go on and slot it past Howes.

The lead up to half-time was broken up by a clash of heads and a poorly timed tackle on Rutherford by Stones' skipper Elokobi, rightly cautioned, but his side continued to push Wanderers back, threatening with dangerous deliveries from both channels, Barry Fuller having to make an excellent recovery challenge down the left.

Briggs again got success again down the right in the final actions of the opening period, having a cross blocked before once again finding McShane, who couldn't generate enough power and struck a low effort straight down Constable.

Half-Time: Maidstone 2 Dorking 1

Marc White brought on Sam Beard and Jason Prior at the break to freshen things up, Callum Kennedy and Luke Moore making way. McShane dropped a bit further back into midfield as Prior joined Rutherford up top.

Wanderers hit the ground running after the restart; Briggs forcing a tip-over save from Constable, and a couple of minutes later the winger won a penalty after he was clumsily taken down by Randell near the byline. Prior resumed spot taking duties on his return, but his kick was saved well by Constable down to his right. Wills kept the rebounded ball alive with a strong delivery into the area, McShane rising well but nodding just over the top.

'Macca' turned provider for Rutherford straight after. Holding the ball up well under pressure from the centre halves he clipped the outside of the post with his low drive. A searching through ball from deep found the striker and he again demonstrated good hold up play, this time trying an audacious dinked effort, the ball bouncing wide.

A couple of threatening deliveries across goal aside, Wanderers were continuing to dominate the ball as 'The Stone' sat increasingly further back, the rear-guard led by Elokobi and debutant Jayden Mundle-Smith standing up well to what was being thrown at them. Beard dispatched a couple of excellent cross-field balls for Briggs who picked out Prior with one of them, heading wide at the near post, Fuller then advancing well and finding McShane, his strike from central range bobbling into the hands of Constable. Fogden pivoted the ball well from deep to keep hold of possession under pressure, reaching Prior with a long ball but he ran it too close to the byline, Constable ultimately getting out and down to deal with it.

With Maidstone really backed up and managing the game effectively, the chances dried up late on despite the Wanderers continued push; Ed Harris chancing a hooked effort at goal that looked like it might just nestle into the bottom left corner, McShane and sub Jimmy Muitt both caught offside respectively after linking with each other down the left, and Prior nodding a last-gasp effort over the top as Wanderers ran out of time.

Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:

'I was fuming first half-hour, the way we start matches. We've lost league games in a similar manner, no disrespect to them, they were effective first half. They went against what I told them - we weren't aggressive enough, press was poor, gifted them the second goal, got to be able to play under pressure. At 1-1 we should have scored more goals. Second half by contrast it was one way traffic bar some physical moments, we were doing the right things. To get beat when you've got so much more in the tank, in terms of the final third, is very disappointing. They'll be changes in the next game.'

Daniel Stobbart

Maidstone United (4-4-2): 16 R. Constable, 2 Gavin Hoyte, 3 Jayden Mundle-Smith, 5 Charlie Seaman (4 Zihni Temelci 75'), 6 George Elokobi (c), 7 George Porter (15 Christie Pattison 81'), 9 Scott Rendell, 12 Noah Chesmain 14 Joan Luque, 18 Saidou Khan (8 Sam Corne 58'), 19 Dominic Odusanya

Unused Subs: 1 Chris Lewington (gk), 10 Ibrahim Olutade, 11 Justin Amaluzor, 20 Ibby Akanbi

Goals: Khan 7', Luque 29'

Yellow Cards: Elokobi 38'

Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Sam Howes, 5 Ed Harris, 6 Niall McManus, 8 Matt Briggs, 10 Alfie Rutherford (7 Jimmy Muitt 73'), 12 Callum Kennedy (3 Sam Beard 46'), 15 Kane Wills, 18 Luke Moore (9 Jason Prior 46'), 22 Barry Fuller (c), 23 Wes Fogden

Unused Subs: 4 Sami El-Abd, 13 Slav Huk (gk), 16 Nicky Wheeler, 20 Dan Gallagher

Goals: McShane 20'

Yellow Cards: Harris 13'

Referee: Lloyd Wood