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Dorking Wanderers 'B' 1 Worthing United 0

Southern Combination League Division One

January 21st 2023

Dorking Wanderers B made it back-to-back league wins and clean sheets in 2023 after defeating Worthing United at a chilly Meadowbank on Saturday.

On an afternoon where five additional first team players returning to fitness and seeking minutes were named in the starting eleven, Ruben Gaspar's side produced a performance not dissimilar to that of their previous home win over Epsom & Ewell, an organised, controlled display on and off the ball keeping a competitive visiting side's chances down to a minimum, with another moment of quality late in the game ultimately securing the three points. This time it was Callum Kennedy stepping up to be the match winner, bending a sublime free kick into the far corner with just over ten minutes remaining.

The left back was one of five first team players starting in addition to regular 'B' team goalkeeper Josh Wilson, with Isaac Philpot and Archie Proctor coming into the eleven as centre halves, Alfie Egan into midfield and Adam Mekki deployed wide right. Captain Tommy Williams continued at right back as Hayden Gale pushed up to the left side of midfield on the opposite flank, Jude Salmon, Jack Saunders and Ben Aubrey all retaining their places from the previous home game against Epsom & Ewell. The 'B' team had not been in action since that fixture on January 2nd due to a gap in the fixtures the following week and a postponement away at Mile Oak last weekend due to a frozen pitch.

Worthing skipper Dean Sherwood was key in carving out chances for his side throughout the first half from set pieces; his strike from a free kick just outside the box in the opening minutes blocked but quickly latched on to by striker Dan Hills, who forced Josh Wilson into a good reaction save at the near post with his legs. Shortly after, a Sherwood delivery from the right was firmly headed wide by Brad Hunt.

Much of the play was being contested through midfield as Wanderers became increasingly on top of possession but without creating too many openings, Jack Saunders nearly finding Tommy Williams at the back post from an in-swinging free kick, Archie Proctor then sliding the ball down the left to release Hayden Gale, who almost forced an own goal towards the near post with a threatening cross.

Sherwood went close again for his side from a couple of set pieces around the outside of the box, driving both efforts narrowly wide.

H/T: 0-0

Wanderers were continuing to increase their domination of possession and not long after the restart began to show that greater urgency in the final third; Adam Mekki with a lovely pass round the corner to send Williams away, his cross into the near post headed wide by Ben Aubrey. Williams would cut in from a similar position moments later and smash an effort over the bar, Saunders then spurning perhaps the best opportunity of the game so far after receiving Mekki's cut back in space just inside the penalty area, the midfielder not getting over the ball and sending his strike over the top. Twenty minutes from time, Ruben Gaspar introduced Matt Hay and Tyrese Johnson in a double substitution to try and freshen up his attacking options, Hay gathering the ball centrally after persistent play down the left from Kennedy and Gale broke down, but also driving his effort over the crossbar. It looked like it may well be 'one of those afternoons' for Wanderers not being able to make their second half control of possession count, but a moment of real quality just over ten minutes from time broke the deadlock, Kennedy bending a free kick from 25 yards out up and down behind the wall exquisitely to find the bottom right corner of goal. Wilson produced a top reaction save to deny Brad Hunt as Worthing sought an immediate leveller, Egan then brought Mac Scott into action up the other end after good work from late sub Tyrese Ayeni down the attacking right. Wanderers suffered a late scare as a strike inside the box took a couple of deflections, Wilson comfortably gathering and diving on top of the ball with virtually the last action of the game. The win moves Wanderers up to second in the league table and two points behind the league leaders Shoreham, but the side sitting top of the standings do have four games in hand. Weather permitting, Ruben Gaspar's side will make a swift return to league action as they travel to face Forest Row on Tuesday night in a 19:45pm kick off at Oakwood FC. Dan Stobbart

Dorking Wanderers B (4-5-1): 1 Josh Wilson, 2 Tommy Williams (c) (16 Tyrese Ayeni 75'), 5 Isaac Philpot, 6 Archie Proctor, 3 Callum Kennedy; 7 Adam Mekki, 4 Jude Salmon, 8 Alfie Egan, 10 Jack Saunders (14 Matt Hay 70'), 11 Hayden Gale (12 Jack Bingham 90'); 9 Ben Aubrey (17 Tyrese Johnson 70')

Unused Subs: 15 Seb Tauta-Caballero

Goal: Kennedy 78'

Yellow Card: Mekki 40'

Worthing United: 1 Mac Scott, 2 Jaden Sparkes, 4 Dean Sherwood (c), 5 Andew Younger, 6 Alex Webber, 7 Brad Hunt, 8 Kieran Sellick (17 Joe Kinsman 63'), 9 Dan Hills, 10 Kliment Tanev, 14 Marcus Puddephatt (15 Zyran Dryer 78'), 16 Hadleigh De-Val

Unused Subs: 12 Sam Andrews, GK Kurt Jenner-Swain, 15 Flynn Barnes

Yellow Card: Hills 90'

Referee: Barry Cox


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