Bognor Regis Town vs Dorking Wanderers
Dorking will enter the second half of their pre-season schedule this Saturday afternoon with a visit to Bognor Regis Town, the first of three matches in the space of a week for Wanderers as the start of the new campaign edges closer.
Last weekend Marc White's side made their annual summer trip further afield, AFC Mousehole in Cornwall this year's destination of choice, and despite going a goal behind and losing keeper Harrison Male to a head injury very early on in the game, an equaliser from Bobby-Joe Taylor on the stroke of half-time and a composed finish from Harry Ottaway during the second forty-five turned the scoreline around, Wanderers running out 1-2 winners in the end to remain unbeaten through pre-season so far.
On an afternoon where George Francomb donned the goalkeeper's gloves and jersey for the vast majority of the contest due to no substitute goalkeeper being available, first pre-season match minutes were handed to Josh Taylor after the midfielder overcame a hip injury suffered towards the end of last term, and the young quartet of Spike Steggall, Jaevon Dyer, Jack Saunders and Matt Hay all featured again in the second half of the game having done so the previous Tuesday in the 5-4 win over Leatherhead in The Advertiser Trophy.
In his weekly update broadcast on Friday afternoon, Marc White confirmed that Jimmy Muitt is awaiting scan results for a stomach concern so will continue to be side-lined, whilst captain Barry Fuller (calf strain) and Aaron Kuhl (hip flex) won't travel down to West Sussex due to injuries picked up through the last week. The manager confirmed that midfielder's James McShane and Niall McManus will gain their first minutes of pre-season this weekend coming back from injury. Having received stitches for his head injury suffered against Mousehole, Harrison Male has trained this week and is expected to return on Saturday.
Opposition Focus: The Rocks
Competing in the Isthmian Premier Division for the sixth consecutive campaign in 23/24, Bognor Regis will be aiming to build on last season's mid-table finish of 14th and the achievement of finishing runner's up in the Sussex County Cup final, where they were defeated by Worthing on penalties after the match finished 0-0 at 90 minutes.
Manager Robbie Blake has strengthened his side in the close season with several new additions, particularly towards the top end of the pitch following the departure of top scorer Nathan Odokonyero to Ebbsfleet United and the conclusion of Dan Gifford's loan from Portsmouth. Forwards Dan Smith and Jasper Mather have arrived from Dulwich Hamlet and Met Police respectively, and attacking midfielder Lucas Pattenden, the brother of former Wanderers loanee Jasper, has also joined after making the move across West Sussex from Littlehampton Town. At the back, goalkeeper Ryan Hall has been signed from Aldershot Town and defender Kieran Douglas comes in from Dorchester Town. In addition to the new arrivals, Robbie Blake's squad has also been boosted by the retention of playmaker Isaac Olaniyan and key midfielder Sam De St. Croix.
A game ahead of Wanderers in their pre-season preparations so far, The Rocks defeated Horndean FC (0-4) and avenged last season's Sussex County Cup final loss to Worthing (0-2) either side of a draw with Portsmouth (1-1) back on home soil. This past Wednesday, Bognor suffered their first defeat, losing 2-0 away to AFC Totton.
Wanderers have had a close affiliation with Bognor Regis Town over the years with a number of players having plied their trade at both clubs. Former Wanderers goalkeeper Dan Lincoln and defenders David Ray and Sami El-Abd all previously featured for The Rocks, as did current players Joe Cook, Jimmy Muitt, Alfie Rutherford and Jason Prior. Last season, defender Cameron Black and wing-back Joe Rabbetts both enjoyed consistent spells at the Nye Camp on loan from Wanderers, with Black finishing the season by earning the Man of The Match award in the County Cup final and Rabbetts earning a few personal accolades throughout the campaign including three Player of The Month awards and Goal of The Season.
Last Time We Met...
Bognor Regis Town 1 Dorking Wanderers 3
August 2nd 2021
The two sides met at the Nye Camp in the pre-season of 2021 on a day of intermittent weather conditions in West Sussex. Wes Fogden tapped in from close range to put Wanderers in front approaching midway through the first half, Nathan Odokonyero pulling the hosts back level just before the interval with a decent strike from 25 yards out. Fogden would head in his second of the afternoon not long after the restart following a slick attacking move through midfield, Alfie Rutherford making sure of the win nodding home Barry Fuller's cross late on.
Tickets are available on the gate for Saturday's game, priced at £10 Adults and £5 U18s with cash or card payment option available. For a full away day guide for visiting fans please see the below link: