Oldham Athletic vs Dorking Wanderers
Vanarama National League
Saturday 9th September
A trip to Boundary Park beckons for Dorking this weekend, as Marc White’s side look to kick on after picking up their first clean sheet of the campaign last weekend in a 0-0 draw with Eastleigh at Meadowbank.
In what was a tightly contested affair, Jason Prior had the opportunity to give Wanderers their first win in four games with just ten minutes left to play; JP9 taken down in the penalty area and stepping up to take the spot kick himself, but seeing his effort well saved by Joe McDonell. In spite of the positives of retaining a first clean sheet, post-match Marc White expressed a desire for more quality in the final third from his side and acknowledged defensively they were 'more open than he would have liked'.
The Spitfires started the game on the front foot, forcing some good stops from Wanderers Player of the Month for August Harrison Male. The visiting faithful thought their side had a reward for their early pressure, as Scott Quigley headed home Chris Maguire’s cross, Quigley’s celebrations were however cut short as the referee deemed his push on George Francomb to be a foul. Bobby-Joe Taylor, who came on mid-way through the first half for an injured Luke Moore, helped carve out some openings for his side as they gained more of a foot-hold in the game. Male went on to make some further good stops as the game slowly decreased in tempo on what was a very hot day in Surrey. Prior’s penalty presented a marvellous opportunity for Dorking to kick start their campaign after an inconsistent run of performances and results in their first six games, but Wanderers top scorer wasn’t able to convert.
Marc White revealed in his weekly update broadcast on Friday that Ryan Seager is back to full fitness, and that Prior played the game against Eastleigh whilst carrying an injury. With Seager and Ottaway carrying knocks, the Wanderers boss “had no option” but to play an unfit JP9. White also stated that Matt Briggs and Jimmy Muitt are nearing a return “within a few weeks” from their respective knee and stomach concerns. Luke Moore, who was forced off on Saturday, faces 4-5 weeks out.
Opposition Focus: Latics
A turbulent five years for the Latics has seen them marked with the unwanted tag of being the first former Premier League club to drop down into the National League since its creation in 1992. Their relegation from the Football League came in 2022, just four years after being relegated from League One, ending the clubs 115-year stay in the top four divisions. The dawn of the 2022/23 season would see local businessman Frank Rothwell taking ownership of the club, following vast protests from Oldham fans regarding the previous ownership. However, the Latics didn’t enjoy a pleasant start in the National League and with just two wins from their first eight games, manager John Sheridan was replaced by David Unsworth in September 2022, Unsworth would go on to guide Oldham to a 12th place finish.
A busy summer for Unsworth’s side has included a quartet of notable additions from the Football League, Charlie Raglan Kieron Freeman, Brennan Dickinson and James Norwood all arrived at Boundary Park from League One sides. Norwood, who was EFL League Two’s Player of the Year in the 2018/19 season, is Oldham’s top scorer this campaign.
Despite being tipped for promotion in pre-season, Oldham haven’t seen a turn around in fortunes in what is still the early stages of this season, and head into Saturday’s game without a win in five and with two red cards in their last two games, already totting up to three over the course of the campaign. Their last outing saw them lead twice at Gateshead before going on to draw 2-2. A red card for midfielder Mark Shelton in the 89th minute, two minutes after Gateshead’s equaliser, perhaps epitomising Oldham’s start to their second season in the National League.
Last Time We Met
Oldham recorded their first win in the National League against Dorking in the corresponding fixture last season, holding off a late Wanderers comeback to win 3-2 at Boundary Park. Goals from Hallam Hope, Chris Porter and Ben Tollitt put the leagues newcomers 3-0 up just beyond the hour mark, headed goals from Josh Taylor and Alfie Rutherford in the final ten minutes set the game up for an exciting finish, but the hosts safely held out for all three points. A truly memorable occasion for both sets of supporters, the fixture was broadcast live on BT Sport and was new Latics owner Frank Rothwell's first home game since taking over the club, a marching band and rendition of the National Anthem taking place before kick off.
Tickets for Saturday's game are on sale now, available online priced at Adults £20, Cons/U21s £10, U18s £7 and U13s £3 (accompanied).
Please note that prices will increase between £2- £4 on the turnstiles.
Visitors Guide To Oldham Athletic...