Lively January Schedule Get's Under Way
Dorking begin a run of competitive Saturday-Tuesday engagements tomorrow afternoon with a visit up the road to Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Marc White's side head into the schedule off the back of a positive week's work, a 'dry run' of what now lies ahead for the next three weeks on the bounce. Last Saturday Wanderers extended their winning run in the league to five games in a row with a 2-1 victory over Braintree Town at Meadowbank. December's player of the month Alfie Rutherford, presented with the award before kick off, continued his excellent run of form in front of goal this term with a quick-fire brace early in the first half, and despite Stefan Ilic pulling a goal back for 'The Iron' just before the hour mark, Wanderers held out to take maximum points. Then, a short-notice 'El Clasimole' friendly followed three days later at Fetcham Grove, the home side seeking a game as they continue their recent rebuild on and off the pitch. Utilising the opportunity to play on grass ahead of this weekend's encounter and get valuable minutes into returning squad members and members of the reserve side, Wanderers ran out 0-1 winners on Tuesday evening. As well as Isaac Philpot and Wes Fogden, Marc White was also able to provide minutes for keeper Slav Huk, making a first start between the sticks since his ankle injury sustained in October. Jordan Cheadle also returned from more recent absence, and it was he who grabbed the only goal of the game against a rejuvenated and spririted Leatherhead side.
For the first time since the very beginning of the season, Wanderers head into a matchday with a full squad available, a different kind of selection headache for manager Marc White to now comprehend as he has to taper the return of players still at differing levels of match fitness with a side that has been consistant in recent weeks and put an impressive run of league wins together.
Historically a tricky engagement for Wanderers, we look forward to what should be a competitve contest on Saturday ahead of another tough away fixture three days later at Dulwich Hamlet.
Hampton & Richmond Borough will be eager to turn their winter fortunes around and kick on in the second half of the campaign after enduring a difficult end to 2021. Play-off runners up just a few seasons back, and well in the mix over the recent Covid-affected campaigns, they head into this weekend's contest just below mid-table in 14th place. A mixed level of form in the league had proceeded a run of four straight defeats and three postponements throughout December and into the start of the new year, with a concerning 11 goals shipped along the way. Gary McCann's side stopped the rot last weekend with a 2-1 home victory over Concord Rangers, and followed that up with a 4-0 win midweek over Spelthorne Sports in the Middlesex Cup.
The disappointing run of results had coincided with the departure of a few key players from the club in the same period; long serving defenders Sam Cox and Charlie Wassmer both moving on, as well as midfielders Cole Brown and Ryan Gondoh also leaving, with Gondoh joining Wealdstone shortly after his exit. Ahead of the Concord win Gary McCann did re-address the balance in the squad with the loan signing of versatile defender Leo Hamblin and permanent signing of experienced midfielder Shane Dunne, both players acquired from Woking FC. Additionally, the manager has also used the loan market to recruit a couple of Zach's - striker Robinson from AFC Wimledon and defensive midfielder Dronfield from Wealdstone. Striker Jerome Slew was also recruited from 'The Stones' back in the summer, and he is the top scorer for the club in the league with 6 goals so far. #Throwback The sides last met at The Beveree just over a year ago, the second part of a double header over the festive period. The spoils were shared in a highly competitive game which saw Ryan Gondoh's penalty right on the stroke of half-time be cancelled out midway through the second half by Wes Fogden's diving header from close range.