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Pre-Season Match Reports: Bank Holiday Weekend

Bracknell Town 1 Dorking Wanderers 2

August 29th 2020

Dorking kicked off their 2020/21 pre-season campaign with a trip to Larges Lane and Bracknell Town, situated two divisions below Wanderers in the Isthmian South Central Division.

In the run up to kick off it was confirmed that Sam Beard, Luke Moore, Niall McManus and Isaac Philpot would all miss out through injury, otherwise across the 90 minutes the rest of the squad would all get game time, this included Sami El-Abd, returning to action after a year out, and of course debuts for all those who have joined the club in the close season.

'The Robins' would have come into the game hugely encouraged by the previous weekend's rousing 4-0 defeat of Slough Town, and with keen pressing around the mid to attacking third of the field, started the game the stronger. No6 and No10 both had strikes charged down outside the area in the early going, and Ed Harris did well to clear the ball after a threatening wide delivery from No10. The home side would threaten from wide areas effectively throughout the game, the back three, particularly Harris, lively to most of the deliveries with numerous key headers away.

Wanderers couldn't really impose themselves on the game in an attacking sense, a couple of ball released from deep just beyond Rutherford and Fogden advancing into the area as good as it got, but on 19 minutes a moment of real quality did notch Dorking ahead. Jimmy Muitt neatly maneuverered the ball past No3 on the right wing, accelerated to the byline, and produced a cross which found Nick Wheeler at the back stick, the winger striking a half-volley into the bottom right corner.

The home side threatened increasingly with balls being driven in from both channels, culminating in a header coming back off the crossbar and then falling for a hooked effort back towards goal, Huk producing a brilliant tipping save to stop it finding the top right corner.

In the midst of this, Rutherford did have a great chance to double Dorking's lead, latching on to a Fogden through ball, but he couldn't quite nip the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

No11 would get Bracknell back on terms just before the interval, an indecisive attempt to clear lines falling for him in space outside the area, his strike taking a hefty deflection past Huk and into the back of the net. Huk would have to save from No9 from point blank range as the pressure continued right up to the half-time whistle.

Half-Time: Bracknell 1 - 1 Dorking

Marc White would switch the majority of his side at the break, and those coming on immediately strived to get Wanderers on the front foot. Matt Briggs would be released down the right, cutting back for Jake Gallagher arriving at the edge of the box, the midfielder unable to keep his strike down though. Not long after, Wanderers would get themselves back in front, a swift, slick passing move from back to front made it's way to an overlapping Barry Fuller on the right wing, who crossed for Giuseppe Sole to tap home. The youngsters James Dixon and George Membrillera then linked straight after, Membrillera just shut out by the keeper as he was closing in on goal.

Membrillera would go close again just beyond the hour mark, swivelling a shot from close range, saved by the keeper. Good closing down from the Bracknell front line then put Wanderers in danger up the other end, Sam Howes producing a top stop from point blank range, before Fuller had to clear the ball off the goal line.

Both sides lost steam as we approached the final quarter of an hour, No25 for Bracknell having strikes blocked and sail over the bar as Wanderers held on for victory in what had been a competitive opening pre-season contest.

First Half XI: Huk, Kennedy, Harris, D. Gallagher, Wheeler, J. Gallagher, Fogden, McShane, Muitt, Rutherford, Prior

Second Half XI: Howes, Kennedy (Dyett 60'), Harris (El-Abd 70'), Fuller, Wheeler (Muitt 60'), J. Gallagher (D. Gallagher 78'), Wills, Dixon, Briggs, Sole, Membrillera

Leatherhead 0 Dorking Wanderers 2

Surrey Advertiser Trophy

August 31st 2020

The latest instalment of 'El Clasimole' would see both sides again compete for the Surrey Advertiser Trophy, re-instigated last pre-season after a hiatus, and won by Dorking 2-1 at Meadowbank, a late goal from George Membrillera sealing victory.

Following on from Saturday, Isaac Philpot was the only addition to Marc White's squad, with no new injuries or knocks confirmed going into kick off.

Exactly like last year's corresponding fixture, Wanderers started brightly and got themselves ahead after just 3 minutes. Briggs turned on the afterburners down the right hand side, knocking the ball past his marker, before dispatching a low cross, buried at the near post by the arriving Rutherford.

Literally two minutes later, Rutherford would be at the double. From a delivery into the area, Jason Prior managed to produce a knock down, and Rutherford latched on to it, in just enough space to turn and swivel a shot through Zaki Oualah's legs and into the back of the net.

Muitt nearly got reward for closing down well on the left side of the area, but Oualah was equal to it to prevent any further early damage being done. Ryan Huckle would strike just wide of target after 10 minutes as Leatherhead produced their first effort at goal, the early pace of the game calming down, the competitive edge to the fixture beginning to dominate proceedings in the middle of the park.

Not under challenge, Ed Harris would pull up near the touchline in a worrying moment for Wanderers just before the half hour, Isaac Philpot coming on in his place.

In the run up to half-time, Wanderers would have a succession of opportunities to put the game completely beyond doubt. Fogden and McShane having efforts blocked, the ball eventually falling to Muitt inside the area, the winger unlucky not to win a penalty. Prior then squandered a good opportunity, opting for the pass when the strike was on after being played in well by Rutherford, and Callum Kennedy showed a sign of what he can add this season, his free kick from 25 yards out forcing a save from Oualah.

Half-Time: Leatherhead 0 Dorking 2

Rutherford came mighty close to getting his hat-trick right at the start of the second half, as Wanderers looked to replicate how they started the first. Kane Wills low cross from the right leading to a scuffed effort over the top, and Giuseppe Sole's neat through ball forcing a low save at Oualah's near post. Muitt would then go close with a couple of efforts, including Oualah spilling the ball after making the initial stop, just about recovering it before reaching goal.

Like the first period, the pace of the game again dropped off, play largely contested in the middle of the park, niggily fouls creeping in, with a couple of stoppages including a clash of heads, Wes Fogden involved and having to be replaced by James Dixon.

In a similar fashion to last year's fixture, Leatherhead rallied increasingly as the half progressed and began generating chances. Stefan Brown would curl one wide from distance before Charlie Hester-Cook danced his way into the box evading a couple of challenges, his effort comfortably saved by Huk. Great Evans and Crossley Lema would be unfortunate not to get a good contact when found in space inside the area, and Lema would strike over the bar and hit the top of the stand from a set piece just before full time.

Two wins in two for Wanderers to start pre-season, they go on now to face Potter Bar Town at Meadowbank next Saturday. Manager Marc White had this to say after today's game:

'Disappointed the game was broken down a lot with so many fouls, but a blistering start, good to see some of the quality we have here, Rutherford two good finishes early on. Credit to Leatherhead, they are on the way back, we appreciate the competition right now.'

On Alfie Rutherford: 'If i could have chosen anyone to score today it would have been Alfie. He's a finisher - he can score inside the box, outside, headers, his hold up and intelligence is great, good to see what's to come.'

Looking ahead: 'It's going to take a while for the team to blend in, might even take up to two weeks into the start of the season, lots of new players if you include Nicky Wheeler and Callum Kennedy barely playing last season. It's a work in progress.'

On Ed Harris Injury: 'It's just a tweak, we'll rest him next Saturday but he should be okay after that.'

- Dan Stobbart

Leatherhead: Zaki Oualah, Will Salmon, Mish Djemaili (Jack Curry 45'), Ryan Huckle (Dan Rowe 72'), Jerry Nnamani (Crossley Lema 60'), Will Seager, Charlie Hester-Cook, Craig McGee (Hector 82'), Great Evans, A. Bancroft (David Ompreon 45'), Andrew Briggs (Stefan Brown 45')

Unused Subs: Jacob Bennett (GK),  Charlie Dawkins

Yellow Cards: Hester-Cook 39', Seager 57', Ompreon 76'

Dorking First Half XI: Howes, Fuller, Harris (Philpot 25'), Kennedy, Briggs, J. Gallagher, Fogden, McShane, Muitt, Rutherford, Prior

Dorking Second Half XI: Huk, Fuller, Philpot, D. Gallagher, Briggs, J. Gallagher (El-Abd 81'), Fogden (Dixon 65') , Wills, Muitt, Rutherford (Membrillera 58'), Guiseppe Sole

Goals: Rutherford 3', 5'

Ref: Shaun Farrere

Stats - courtesy of Olly Wyse (@ollie_wyse)

Leatherhead/Dorking

0 Goals 2

6 Shots 8

11 Crosses 12

17 Fouls 9

0 Offsides 3

3 Yellows 0

0 Reds 0

41 Possession (%) 59

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