Dorking Wanderers vs Maidenhead United
Vanarama National League
August 12th 2023
National League football returns home this Saturday afternoon as Dorking welcome Maidenhead United to Meadowbank for a 3pm kick off.
Last weekend the new campaign got under way in dramatic fashion for Wanderers away at Chesterfield on the opening day, Marc White's side immediately living up to their reputation from last season of being the division's 'entertainers' by sharing a seven goal thriller with the early promotion favourites , and coming agonisingly close to returning to Surrey with a share of the spoils and a first point on the board.
A see-saw encounter at The SMH Group Stadium saw the home side take a deserved lead midway through the first half via Ryan Colclough's strike, but Jason Prior continued his decent goal-scoring form from pre-season with a swift equaliser before putting Wanderers ahead not long after the restart, winning and converting a penalty after being brought to ground by Tyrone Williams. The game became increasingly open as the second half wore on; Chesterfield getting themselves back on terms after Colclough set up Liam Mandeville for a tap in after advancing down the left, and the dynamic of the contest would flip into the final ten minutes after Joe Cook was dismissed for collecting a second yellow card bringing down Colclough just outside the penalty area. Mandeville duly stepped up for the resulting free kick, and despite the best efforts of Male to get across and meet it, the Spireites No7 drove the resulting free kick into the top left corner with enough precision and power to send it over the line. Despite being down to 10 men Wanderers remained brave and committed in attack, and found an equaliser just into stoppage time after Harry Ottaway's pass got right across the box to find Seb Bowerman, who clinically slammed the ball into the roof of the net after drifting in off the left flank. However, a moment of quality from Joe Quigley deep into added on time made sure The Spireites would begin the campaign with a win, the striker producing a well angled header from an Ollie Banks cross to make it 4-3.
Post-match both Marc White and assistant manager Dean Milton were honest in expressing their disappointment with Joe Cook being dismissed and the excessive amount of time added on at the end of the match, but reflected on the positives of the performance as well, acknowledging the contributions of Harrison Male and Jason Prior at each end of the field amongst a brave and fearless overall display across the team.
The management team will no doubt be looking for the performance level to be maintained this weekend and into midweek as Wanderers follow up Saturday's home opener against Maidenhead with the visit of Southend United to Meadowbank on Tuesday evening in a 7:45pm kick off.
George Francomb suffered a groin strain during the first half against Chesterfield last weekend, and will be absent alongside Isaac Philpot (hamstring), Callum Kennedy (calf) and Luke Moore (hamstring) for at least another week. Jimmy Muitt will continue to be ruled with a stomach concern, and following his dismissal at Chesterfield, Joe Cook will be unavailable for selection due to suspension.
Opposition Focus: The Magpies
This season will be Maidenhead United's seventh consecutive campaign competing in the National League, but long term manager of the club Alan Devonshire will no doubt be looking for an improvement this term after his side finished just a place and a couple of points outside the relegation places back in April. Taking away the Covid-19 affected 19/20 season, it was the lowest finish The Magpies have recorded since gaining promotion from the National League South at the end of 2016/17.
A few key players have departed York Road in the close season, with top scorer and England C striker Emile Acquah moving up to League Two to join Barrow, and effective left sided attacker Sam Barratt departing for Barnet. Alan Devonshire will be looking to new strikers Tobi Sho-Silva and Harry Parsons, last seen plying their trade at Carlisle United and Swindon Town respectively, to provide the attacking impetus for the new campaign. At the back, with defender Cole Kpekawa making the switch to Bromley, experienced centre-half Kevin Lokko has been recruited from Farnborough, whilst between the sticks goalkeeper Craig Ross has joined the club after five consistent years at Woking, where he won back-to-back Fans, Player's and Manager's Player of the Year awards in 2020 and 2021.
Pre-season for Maidenhead began with a narrow defeat to newly promoted Championship side Ipswich Town, but an impressive run of four wins and clean sheets on the spin then followed against Flackwell Town, Thatcham Town, St. Albans City and Hayes & Yeading. Banbury United brought the run to an end with a 1-0 victory a week before the season got under way, the fixture generator pitting Maidenhead against National League North winner's AFC Fylde at York Road last Saturday afternoon. A Reece Smith strike and an own goal put The Magpies ahead with less than 20 minutes on the clock, Nick Haughton halving the deficit for the away side just past the half hour. Despite being reduced to 10 men in the closing minutes, newcomers Fylde managed to rescue a draw courtesy of Alex Whitmore's injury time header, meaning a share of the spoils for both sides on the opening day.
Last Time We Met
The two sides met at Meadowbank back in late March of this year, Wanderers beginning the positive run of results which would ultimately see them consolidate their place in the division by securing a comfortable 3-1 win. A trio of headers, two from Jason Prior and one from Josh Taylor, had put Marc White's men three goals to the good before the hour, a Charlee Adams penalty providing The Magpies with a consolation goal late on.
Tickets Available online or at the turnstiles, tickets are priced at Adults £18, Cons £16, U18s £9 & U8s £5.
Our family ticket return's for 23/24 with two adults and two children able to watch the Wanderers for just £45!
Save time at the turnstiles by purchasing your tickets online: https://dorkingwanderersfc.ktckts.com/event/dor23241/maidenhead-united
The printed programme remains in play for 23/24, and our first edition of the season will be available at the merchandise and food outlets on Saturday priced at £3!
The FanZone Is Back! The FanZone will be open from 1pm on Saturday afternoon, join us for a drink and soak up the atmosphere before kick off!
Match Updates Not able to to get to Meadowbank this weekend?
LIVE COMMENTARY: Tom Rogers has got you covered with live commentary of the game via Mixlr! Stayed tuned to our social media channels for more information.
LIVE UPDATES: We will be providing action and score updates throughout the afternoon via Twitter, give us a follow us @DorkingWDRS
Visiting Fans Information All the info on getting to Meadowbank, where to grab a pre-match drink beforehand and much more... https://www.dorkingwanderers.com/visiting-supporters