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Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd Round

December 18th 2021

Dorking's run in the FA Trophy came to an end as they were narrowly defeated by Southend United at Roots Hall. Alfie Rutherford had got Wanderers off to the perfect start by opening the scoring on five minutes, but a Sam Dalby equaliser just before half-time and superb individual strike from Matt Dennis in the second period proved enough for the National League Premier side to advance into the fourth round.

Marc White had to contend with the late withdrawal of skipper Barry Fuller due to illness, and in tandem with Jordan Cheadle and Darren Oldaker being cup-tied the manager was forced into three changes from the side which started against Oxford City in midweek. Kane Wills came into the back three where Dan Gallagher continued to deputise as well, and Nicky Wheeler and Luke Moore both returned to the starting eleven, Moore given the captain's armband in Fuller's absence. The switches pushed Niall McManus into central midfield as James McShane played behind Alfie Rutherford up top, Jason Prior starting on the bench alongside the returning Jimmy Muitt.

Initially pegged back in the very early exchanges as the hosts started brighter, it would be Wanderers who opened the scoring on five minutes, and who else but Rutherford to make the breakthrough. Beating the offside trap he latched on to a long ball out on the left flank, held off a couple of challenges as he steered into the area before firing a low strike beyond Collin Andeng Ndi. Kicking towards the away end the striker celebrated his 14th goal of the campaign with a knee slide in front of the jubilant travelling support.

Matt Briggs was unfortunate not to swiftly double the advantage, surging forward from midway through the Southend half he unleashed a strike closing in on goal but got too much lift on the ball and it rose up and over the bar.

The Wanderers opportunities had come as counter attacking moves, 'The Shrimpers' seeing more of the ball but not able to generate much in the final third until midway into the half with Sam Dalby having a shot blocked and Gard unlucky not to connect with a diving header at the back post.

McShane would go close at the end of another break forward, dragging his shot marginally wide of the far post from the edge of the box.

Just past the half-hour the home side were presented with an opportunity to level up as a penalty kick was awarded. Quick interplay on the right flank proceeded Luke Moore catching James Dunne with a late sliding challenge, the referee pointing to the spot. Top scorer Rhys Murphy stepped up, but drove his kick high over the bar.

Wanderers immediately responded up the other end, Rutherford doing well to hold the ball up in the right channel, he found Briggs in the middle of the box but the wing-back saw his effort clawed away brilliantly by Andeng Ndi, the stopper making his debut for Southend today in the absence of first choice keeper Steve Arnold.

Wheeler asked a couple of questions from the left with threatening deliveries, but in the lead up to half-time Kevin Maher's side began to show more cutting edge in the final third, and after a pacey attacking move concluded in Dan Lincoln saving well to deny Murphy at close range, Dalby was on hand to stick home the rebound and equalise.

A moment later Dalby had the ball in the net again after steering a 'backwards' header impressively into the corner of goal, but the linesman deemed the forward to be offside. Rutherford and Briggs combined well again to set up a strike for Wheeler in space on the edge of the area right before the interval, but the shot was shut down emphatically as a couple of defenders dived in.

Half-Time: Southend 1 Dorking 1

Several minutes into the restart, James McShane pulled up with what was later confirmed by Marc White as a hamstring concern, Jason Prior came on in his place.

Dorking had started the second half with greater command of possession, and shortly after the substitution were given an opportunity to re-take the lead with the award of a penalty. Shaun Hobson recklessly barged over Josh Taylor as the midfielder darted into the box, his namesake Bobby-Joe put the ball on the spot, but had his kick saved by the Andeng Ndi diving to his left and palming away.

Not deterred, Wanderers continued to dominate the ball and carved out good opportunities around the hour; Wheeler cutting in and blasting a shot right across the face of goal, before Rutherford had a shot blocked then a first time effort saved after Prior had provided the assist with a pacey ball zipped in from the right flank.

The lively Zak Brunt sent an effort over the bar after Dalby laid the ball off into space, and it served as a warning shot as the Essex side took the lead just a couple minutes later. On-loan Norwich striker Matt Dennis had replaced Rhys Murphy earlier in the half, and the substitute drove a superb strike into the top right corner of goal beyond Lincoln from just outside the box.

With their tails up, a few minutes of pressure rained down as Dan Gallagher produced an excellent block amidst a scramble in the area, Louis Walsh then had a heeled flick blocked and Dennis looked to notch his second of the afternoon with a header, but Lincoln got across well to make the save.

Dorking rallied entering the final ten minutes, McManus forcing his way into the area and stabbing a shot straight down Andeng Ndi, and they turned the screw further in the closing minutes. Sub Jimmy Muitt's dangerous ball across the six yard box was just about poked away, before Josh Taylor, who continued his recent run of excellent performances with another impressive display, narrowly struck wide of the post.

Ultimately Wanderers came up short on an afternoon where they were again more than competitive against opposition from the level above, not quite able to take the scalp like they have done in recent FA Trophy encounters. They return to league action on Boxing Day, as Havant & Waterlooville are the visitors to Meadowbank.

Daniel Stobbart

Southend United: 23 Collin Andeng Ndi; 3 Nathan Ralph, 5 Shaun Hobson, 24 Jason Demetriou (c), 12 Tom Clifford; 33 Zak Brunt (20 Will Atkinson 82'), 8 James Dunne, 15 Lewis Gard (17 Louis Walsh 46'), 14 Nathan Ferguson; 9 Rhys Murphy (30 Matt Dennis 65'), 10 Sam Dalby

Unused Subs: 13 Harry Seaden, 6 Josh Coulson, 18 Matt Rush, 40 John White

Goals: Dalby 42', Dennis 74'

Yellow Card: Dunne 41', Demetriou 61'

Dorking Wanderers: 34 Dan Lincoln; 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor, 20 Dan Gallagher, 15 Kane Wills; 16 Nicky Wheeler (7 Jimmy Muitt 75'), 6 Niall McManus, 17 Josh Taylor, 18 Luke Moore (c), 8 Matt Briggs; 11 James McShane (9 Jason Prior 51'), 10 Alfie Rutherford

Unused Subs: 2 Issac Philpot, 4 Sami El-Abd, 12 Luca Ash-Brazier, 35 Josh Wilson

Goals: Rutherford 5'

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis Attendance: 1728

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