Bank Holiday Double Bill Begins In The Midlands
Dorking will travel to the Midlands for the first game of an August Bank Holiday weekend double bill, taking on Solihull Moors at Damson Park on Saturday afternoon before hosting Boreham Wood back at Meadowbank on Monday.
After picking up their first wins of the season away at Maidstone and at home to Gateshead last weekend, Wanderers will be hoping to extend the winning run and continue a start to the season which has them positioned in 6th place and on the joint highest number of goals scored so far with 10 in the very early going. James McShane's brace last Saturday, including an early contender for goal of the season with his second strike, ensured Wanderers ran out 2-1 winners over last season's National League North Champions. Unfortunately, knocks were picked up through the course of the game to McShane, Niall McManus and Alfie Rutherford, leading manager Marc White to re-organise his side with a back four entering the final half an hour. Gateshead went on to see more of the ball and did grab a goal back through Adam Campbell with twenty minutes remaining, but Wanderers held out despite the late pressure.
In his weekly update broadcast last night the manager acknowledged a few players were recovering from knocks, not shedding any light as to whether the likes of McShane, McManus or Rutherford would feature on Saturday afternoon. Dan Lincoln was due to return to the side last weekend but suffered a late setback with a back injury, he and Jimmy Muitt, still recovering from the groin injury he picked up in pre-season, are also doubts heading into the weekend.
Fresh off the presses, Wanderers yesterday announced the signing of Crystal Palace U23s defender Dan Quick on a season-long loan deal. Dan will be part of the Wanderers squad travelling up to the Midlands on Saturday, for more information on the new Wanderers man please see Thursday's press release:
Opposition Focus: The Moors
Wanderers share that joint highest number of goals scored statistic with The Moors themselves, who are one of four sides yet to taste defeat in the National League Premier so far. An emphatic 1-4 opening day away defeat of Aldershot Town was followed up with 1-1 draws at home to Southend United and York City, before a thrilling 7 goal encounter last weekend away at Scunthorpe United. Trailing 3-0 inside the opening 36 minutes, late first half goals from Jamey Osbourne and Fiacre Kelleher ensured The Moors got it back to 3-2 heading into the interval. Two goals inside the closing ten minutes from Andrew Dallas and Alex Reid saw Neal Ardley's side produce a remarkable comeback to take all three points and continue their unbeaten start.
Manager Ardley will be hoping his side can go one better this campaign after suffering heartbreak in last season's play-off's. After defeating Chesterfield at home in the semi-final stage 3-1, Grimsby Town were the victors in the final contested at the London Stadium, running out 2-1 winners after extra time. It was The Moors second play-off finish in the space of four seasons after finishing runner's up in the National League Premier back in the 2018/19 campaign under manager Tim Flowers. Straight into the semi-final stage, AFC Fylde were the visitors to Damson Park and came away with a 0-1 victory courtesy of Danny Philliskirk's very early goal. The two Covid-impacted seasons between play-off appearances would see The Moors only just miss out on top 7 finishes; by extremely fine points-per-game margins in 2019/20 and by 5 points in 2020/21.
Neal Ardley took over as manager at Solihull in June 2021 having led both his previous sides to play-off finals. He took over as manager of AFC Wimbledon in 2012, the club he played for for over a decade during the 90s, and guided a team which featured current Wanderers Barry Fuller and Callum Kennedy up to League One by winning the 2016 League Two play-off final against Plymouth Argyle, 2-0. He then took over as Notts County boss in 2018, leading the side to the 2020 National League play-off final as they looked to bounce straight back up to the football league. After defeating Barnet 2-0 in the semi's they were defeated in the final by Harrogate Town, 3-1.
Andrew Dallas was The Moors top scorer in the league last season with 20 goals, and the Scottish forward has already found the net in 3 of the 4 games played so far this term. Midfielder Joe Sbarra opened his account for the campaign on the opening day against Aldershot, the former Burton Albion man just a couple of goals behind Dallas last term with 18 and was subsequently included in the Vanarama National League Team of the Season. Left back Harry Boyes was also part of the team of the season XI on loan at The Moors from Sheffield United, however he has not re-joined the club for a second season having been instead sent to League One Forest Green Rovers.
With experienced forwards Adam Rooney and Danny Newton departing the club in the close season, Neal Ardley has added firepower up top in the form of Josh Kelly, who bagged 15 league goals for Maidenhead United last campaign, and centre forward Alex Reid, who joins on loan from last year's National League winners Stockport County. The loan market has been utilised to bring in centre back Fiacre Kelleher from Bradford City and winger Connor Parsons from Wycombe Wanderers, in addition to goalkeeper Louie Muldoon from Wolverhampton Wanderers, who Dorking fans may remember produced a man-of-the-match display between the sticks for Ebbsfleet United in the 1-1 draw at the Kufflink Stadium back in March.
KICK-OFF: 3pm TICKETS: Available Here: https://solihullmoorsfc.ticketco.events/uk/en/m/e/solihull_moors_v_dorking_wanderers Pricing (Cat B fixture, online booking fee of extra £1 applies): Adults £14 / Senior £10 / U18s £6 / U12s £2.50 (with paying adult) SUPPORTERS COACH: The Wanderers Supporters Coach still has availability, for all the info and to secure your seat click below! Priced at £35, Departs High Street at 10:30am: https://dwfc-online-shop.myshopify.com/collections/away-travel/products/solihullmoors
NOT GETTING THE COACH? See below for a guide to driving and parking, getting the train and all other matchday information: https://www.solihullmoorsfc.co.uk/club/match-day-information/