VCD Athletic 1-4 Dorking Wanderers
Dorking continued their fine pre-season form with 1-4 victory away at VCD Athletic in Crayford on Tuesday night.
Manager Marc White confirmed ahead of kick off that Callum Kennedy would be rested for the game, and Ed Harris and Luke Moore would continue recovery from their respective knocks and injuries. This would present an opportunity for Isaac Philpot to play again in the middle of the defensive three as he had done at the weekend, and up top, James McShane would play just in behind Jason Prior as had done on occasions last season.
The hosts chased and closed down well early on, and forced Wanderers into a couple of dangerous free kick giveaways. Experienced striker Paul Vines was fouled just outside the box, and after No5's subsequent dead ball strike took a deflection, it fell into the path of No14 who from a few yards out tapped home on 4 minutes. It would be No4's turn to have a crack from similar distance a few minutes later, this time Huk getting down well to his right to get a hand on it and keep it out.
Dorking grafted their way out of the early pressure, spearheaded by the continued workman-like showings of Niall McManus and Kane Wills in midfield, and gradually began to work openings as the half went on. McManus would start and conclude a rapid counter, playing a one-two with Prior, his shot on arrival into the area testing the VCD stopper with a stretched save. Fogden would then drive an effort wide after a solid spell of possession, Wanderers starting to really dominate in that regard.
Just past the half hour it would pay off - the increasingly influential Nicky Wheeler working well down the left to create space, crossing for Prior who made no mistake heading in at the back stick.
A 'copy and paste' of the move would nearly come off a moment later, this time Prior heading just wide. Muitt would be unlucky not to pick out Wills in space straight after, the ball just out of reach, and McShane would drive a free kick just over the bar after Wheeler was brought down on the edge of the area.
With the very last action of the first half, Wanderers would take the lead. A slick passing move concluded in Wills reverse-ball finding McShane in the left channel, he would then drill a low cross to the back stick, Prior on hand to tap in.
Half-Time: VCD 1 Dorking 2
Despite the number of half-time changes in personnel, Marc White's side would pick right up where they left off at the start of second period. Briggs would get forward and blast over from the right, shortly before Fogden would play in Rutherford, who showed excellent control and composure to place his finish beyond the VCD keeper in the middle of the area, 1-3.
The tempo and domination of the ball would continue, and past the hour point Wanderers would carve out a succession of really good chances. Wheeler would pick out Jake Gallagher making a late run into the area, his first time shot whistling just past the post, Sole would have an opportunity to replicate his free kick magic from the weekend, this time just hitting the top of the wall, and Rutherford would again show lovely skill, this time on the edge of the box, a couple of cute drag backs proceeding hitting the ball flush against the foot of the post, very unlucky.
VCD had to weather the pressure, but didn't look to sit back into a deep shape, and did have a couple of brief spells to try and get back in the game, a couple of half chances then leading to a free kick in good range for No5, who forced a 'parry and catch' save from Sam Howes.
Jake Gallagher and Briggs would go close again, before Wanderers would cap the evening off with a fourth. Rutherford would ping a ball out to Briggs on the right, his near-post delivery deftly touched home by the arriving Dixon, again showing the same confidence expressed when he came on against Potters Bar at the weekend, and this time getting reward for it.
No7 would travel impressively through the Wanderers half late on, his eventual shot not troubling Howes though, as Wanderers saw out another 4 goal display, and continued their unbeaten and improving pre-season form, which will now be tested further with games against Horsham, Woking and Sutton United remaining in pre-season.
Marc White spoke to Gary Pascoe after the game:
'Yeah good game for us - loads of pace on it, big pitch, appreciate them entertaining us, thought they had some good players actually, but I thought we looked sharp. When you go from 3G to grass it does take you by surprise, shown in the first ten minutes, but our pattern and shape is improving every game, we showed that again today, the likes of Niall McManus lead that and the others are starting to follow that, the way that we play.'
- Daniel Stobbart
Dorking First Half XI: Huk, Fuller, Philpot, Beard, Wills, Muitt, Fogden, McManus, Wheeler, McShane, Prior
Dorking Second Half XI: Howes, Philpot (El-Abd 75'), Dyett, Beard (Membrillera 72'), D. Gallagher, J. Gallagher, McManus (Wheeler 61'), Briggs, Fogden (Dixon 68'), Rutherford, Sole
Goals: Prior 32', 45', Rutherford 54', Dixon 88'
No VCD Athletic Team Sheet Available