Wanderers Hit The Road Again
Dorking make a swift return to league action on Tuesday evening as they take on Maidstone United at The Gallagher Stadium.
Following Saturday's defeat to Oldham Athletic manager Marc White didn't confirm any fresh squad concerns or injury news ahead of the visit to Kent. Before the game at Boundary Park the manager did confirm Jimmy Muitt had been close to a return following his groin injury suffered in pre-season but unfortunately had a set back with his recovery late last week.
Opposition Focus: The Stones
Victors in the thrilling National League South title race between the two sides last season, Maidstone will be looking to continue their positive start to life back in non-league's top tier when they host Wanderers on Tuesday night.
Hakan Hayrettin's side began the season with a 1-1 draw away at Altrincham. Taking the lead very early via an own goal, The Stones were pegged back just before half-time, and had to play the remaining half-hour with ten men as forward Hady Ghandour was dismissed for picking up two yellow cards. Back on home soil this past Saturday, the Kent side got their first win on the board with a 2-1 defeat over fellow newly promoted side York City. Despite falling behind in the contest after ten minutes, two goals in two minutes late on from Sam Corne secured maximum points.
Most of the key personnel from last-season's title winning campaign have stayed on with The Stones for the upcoming season, including the club's three National League South team of the year candidates; full-back Jerome Binnom-Williams, centre-back Joe Ellul and forward Joan Luque, who was the club's top scorer last season in the league with 20 goals. Unfortunately Luque is set to miss at least the first half of the upcoming season as he recovers from knee ligament damage suffered against Dartford back in April. Following the retirement of George Elokobi, experienced full-back Gavin Hoyte will take the skipper's armband for this season. Key midfielders Sam Corne and Regan Booty remain under contract for the new campaign, as does former Havant & Waterlooville forward Roarie Deacon. Former Wanderers striker Jack Barham, who weighed in with 18 goals in the league last season, has also agreed to stay on at The Gallagher Stadium this term.
The Stones have bolstered their squad with a few new additions in the close season. Soloman Wanjau-Smith was the first signing of the summer from Hungerford Town, ahead of fellow striker Hady Ghandour making a permanent switch from Charlton Athletic having spent two loan spells with Maidstone last season. Centre back Jack Cawley and former Leyton Orient striker James Alabi have both joined from Bromley, and to cope with a few early knocks and minor injuries sustained in the defensive area of the squad, young left-back Liam Vincent has recently joined on loan from Portsmouth.
Previously At The Gallagher Stadium...
Wanderers first met Maidstone back in their inaugural 2019/20 season in the National League South, and it turned out to be one of the more memorable away days of the season for Marc White's men. Jack Barham, now of course playing for The Stones, opened the scoring just past the half-hour, tapping home a Jason Prior header across the face of goal. Within two minutes, the hosts equalised, Ibby Akanbi smashing home from 12 yards after Wanderers failed to clear their lines. The striker would bag his second just before half-time, rounding Huk and sliding the ball into goal after a great through-ball down the left channel. Wanderers fought back impressively in the second half, Jimmy Muitt making an immediate impact from the bench to equalise with a clinical finish just past the hour mark, and Jason Prior secured the win late on, heading home a Luke Moore corner ball. Stones defender Luke Pennell was dismissed late on for collecting a second yellow card.
In the curtailed 2020/21 Covid season the side's did not meet in the league at The Gallagher Stadium but did end up facing each other in the FA Trophy 4th Round. First half goals from Saidou Khan and Joan Luque either side of a James McShane equaliser saw The Stones progress to the next round.
Last season Wanderers bounced back from a disappointing FA Cup exit to defeat The Stones 0-2 in October, on an afternoon where skipper George Elokobi was sent off for picking up a second yellow card late on. James McShane broke the deadlock for Wanderers in the first half with a finish inside the area and Callum Kealy doubled the advantage midway the second period, tapping home Barry Fuller's cross.
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