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Wanderers will travel to St Albans City on Saturday in National League South hoping to make it a league double over the Hertfordshire side. But with the regular league season coming to a climax, there is a sense of nervousness that will be felt from both sides in the lead up to this clash.

Dorking come into this off the back of an emphatic 7-2 win at Meadowbank against Concord Rangers. Man of the Match Alfie Rutherford made it to the top of the National League South scoring charts on 29 goals as a result of his four goals on the day. He will be hoping for more success in front of goal against St Albans after eight goals in his last three appearances. There are two injury issues concerning manager Marc White. Wes Fogden was introduced as a sub in the second half but limped off in the latter stages of the 7-2 win, with Dorking ending the game with 10 men. White confirmed post-match that Fogden and Wheeler both came off with hamstring tweaks, and Darren Oldaker finished the game with a dead leg but is likely to be fit for the St Albans game. Dorking have won four games on the bounce and 3-2 defeats at Eastbourne Borough and Dartford are the only defeats in Wanderers last twelve matches.

Optimistic St Albans supporters will say they are still well in the hunt to claim 7th and the final play-off spot. But a winless March and only one win from the last eleven league matches has put them four points off Havant & Waterlooville who currently sit 7th. You sense that anything less than a win over Wanderers will put paid to any play-off hopes. A win however, and with Havant facing 8th placed Chippenham on the final day of the season means that the Saints will still sense there is an opportunity to be taken, with favourable results elsewhere meaning there is still a minor possibility that their season could continue beyond 7th May.

It could be argued that St Albans’ run to the FA Cup 2nd Round has hampered their season. When they beat League Two’s Forest Green Rovers 3-2 at Clarence Park in the first round on 7th November, they were proudly sitting top of National League South and had only lost twice before then – to Dartford and Wanderers after the first two weekends of the season. Their 14 losses since that day has not been good enough, hence their slide down the table. The key man for the Saints arguably is Shaun Jeffers, with the former Coventry striker having grabbed 26 goals this season, including a goal in their 3-1 reverse at Dartford last weekend. Jeffers was partnered up front last weekend with youngster Joe Neal, a former Biggleswade Town forward who came through Cambridge United’s academy. The likes of Zane Banton, Mitchell Weiss and Romeo Akinola have been known to play out wide and support Jeffers, who would play in the centre forward role.

The Saints are managed by Ian Allinson. He spent four seasons at Arsenal as a player, before spending eight years as boss of National League side Boreham Wood in two spells. He has managed the Saints since 2016. There is a good mixture of youth and experience in his team, with the most notable stalwart of the team being club captain David Noble, who turned 40 in February and provides EFL experience. Further experience other than Noble include the likes of goalkeeper Michael Johnson, winger Banton and full back Tom Bender, who have spent most of their careers in non-league. Huw Dawson and Alex Lankshear are two of the more youthful players in the squad, being 18 and 19 respectively. Dawson has appeared in 20 and Lankshear 30 league games this season for the Saints.


A combination of Wanderers miraculous rise through non-league and the COVID-19 pandemic means these two sides have only met twice before. James McShane’s late goal helped Dorking win 3-2 at Meadowbank back in August, after Matt Briggs and Alfie Rutherford’s earlier goals. Their other meeting was back in August 2019, and Wanderers only previous visit to Clarence Park, when both sides played out a 1-1 draw. Defender David Longe-King cancelled out Dorking’s opener from Tom Richards.

Scott Kelly


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