Very early goals in both halves were enough for Dorking to see off Chelmsford and secure their first home league win of 2020 in the wettest and windiest of conditions at Meadowbank.
Match report by Dan Stobbart
Marc White said "the weather was 'such a leveller' today"
Dorking Wanderers 2 Chelmsford city 0
NATIONAL LEAGUE SOUTH 15 February 2020
Very early goals in both halves were enough for Dorking to see off Chelmsford and secure their first home league win of 2020 in the wettest and windiest of conditions at Meadowbank. Discipline on the field reciprocated the weather off it, as both sides contributed to a fractious contest that saw ten cautions shown in all, and the dismissal of Isaac Philpot midway through the second half after collecting two of those yellows.
Niall McManus returned to the starting eleven in place of Tom Richards, in the only change from the side that started at Woking in midweek in the Surrey Senior Cup. Nick Wheeler joined David Ray and Jason Prior this week on the injury list, the trio looking likely to return to action closer to next month.
Both sides were just trying to get a handle on the conditions before Wanderers took the lead on 4 minutes. Luke Moore caught out the Clarets defence by going short with a free kick from just outside the area. Playing in James McShane, he in turn sent a ball across goal looking for Jake Gallagher at the back post, and the midfielder guided the ball home.
Elliot Buchanan searched for the far corner striking from distance, before meeting a deep Sam Beard cross with a header, meeting it well but not able to get enough power to test Laurie Walker, as Wanderers looked to quickly add a second goal.
The visitors started to get forward a bit more, a lovely flick over an advancing head from Jonny Giles teed up Shaun Jeffers, who pushed his effort just wide on the quarter hour mark. This proceeded skipper Tom Wraight and Tom Knowles nodding efforts just wide.
Chelmsford reacted with frustration to an Isaac Philpot challenge around the midway point of the first half, and this instigated the first of a few flare up's between players throughout the game. The 'Isaac' name was in the spotlight for a moment as referee Isaac Searle not only cautioned Philpot, but also issued a yellow card to Chez Isaac in the aftermath.
For the remainder of the half the combination of playing out from the back and the blowing conditions was seized on by the Clarets who pushed up to ensure Dorking were somewhat camped in their own half. In spite of the territorial advantage, chances at goal were kept to a minimum, and Wanderers held out until the break.
Half-Time: The Wanderers 1 Chelmsford 0
After their first venture forward, Marc White's side doubled their advantage two minutes after the restart. Capitalising on the windy conditions, Buchanan's corner from the right sailed over Walker and all the way into the top left corner.
The conditions not letting up, a couple of injury hold up's and further altercations, including Chelmsford player/manager Robbie Simpson going in the book, stagnated the contest in the wake of the goal.
In and around the hour mark Wanderers would make a succession of inroads forward for the first time, Barham and Buchanan receiving the ball in the area after good build up but unable to generate chances at goal. McShane unsuccessfully tried to rescue a ball at the back stick with a header, before Matt Briggs burst into the area and tested Walker with a low drive. The stopper palmed it away, the ball then flailing in tap-in territory, but eventually cleared out. A similar run from Briggs and well measured through ball set Barham away, but Walker got out well and just about won the race to gather it.
Isaac Philpot would pick up his second yellow card near the touchline for a late challenge, and with that, JJ O'Sullivan and Dan Gallagher came on to pad out the defence to a back four, as Jake Gallagher and James McShane made way.
The momentum swung back towards Chelmsford going into the last quarter of an hour, Oliver Muldoon clipping the outside of the post with a strike from outside the area, dangerous balls in from Wraight and sub Leroy Lita were well dealt with by Slav Huk, and after a threatening set piece was cleared, the returned ball in was overhead kicked over the bar by centre half Adrian Cascaval Oko.
In the midst of this Barham couldn't finish Dorking's best opportunity of the second half, latching on to a massive hoof upfield, he was in on goal but couldn't quite get full command of the ball. When he eventually got a strike off, it went through the legs of a centre half, but Walker got down well to shut it out.
In the dying minutes, Dan Gallagher produced a brilliant recovery tackle to deny fellow sub Joseph Chidyausiku when sent in on goal, and after a sublime touch to buy space up the other end, Briggs drove a sprawling effort just wide of goal.
As Marc White described post-match, the weather was 'such a leveller' today, that it would ultimately come down to good defending, taking your chances and 'lotto moments' in determining the outcome. Wanderers ticked all boxes, and had the better opportunities to make it more comfortable, against an industrious Chelmsford side. The dismissal of Philpot and upcoming suspension of two games stands as the real low point, on an afternoon where the victory further extends the gap between play off places and the chasing pack. Three unbeaten and three clean sheets in a row now for Dorking in the league, as the next test arrives swiftly, with a visit to Oxford City on Tuesday night.
Dorking Wanderers: 1 Slav Huk, 2 Isaac Philpot, 3 Sam Beard, 4 Ed Harris, 8 Niall McManus, 15 Matt Briggs, 9 Jack Barham, 11 James McShane (12 JJ O'Sullivan 67'), 14 Jake Gallagher (6 Dan Gallagher 67'), 18 Luke Moore, 10 Elliot Buchanan (16 Jimmy Muitt 54')
Unused Subs: 20 Tom Richards, 19 Gez Sole Goals: Gallagher 4', Buchanan 47' Yellow Cards: Philpot 21', 63', McShane 25', Moore 69', Barham 90+4' Red Cards: Philpot 68' Chelmsford City: 1 Laurie Walker, 5 Taofiq Olomowewe, 6 Adrian Cascaval Oko, 7 Shaun Jeffers (9 Joseph Chidyausiku 75'), 8 Jonny Giles, 11 Tom Wraight (c), 12 Billy Knott, 15 Danny Imray, 16 Chez Isaac (14 Leroy Lita 67'), 17 Oliver Muldoon, 19 Tom Knowles (3 Frazer Shaw 57') Unused Subs: 10 Chris Whelpdale, 18 Chris Gregan Yellow Cards: Isaac 21', Cascaval-Oko 40', Giles 45+', Robbie Simpson 50', Muldoon 70' Referee: Isaac Searle Attendance: 517 Sponsors Man Of The Match: Luke Moore