Barnet 0 Dorking Wanderers 1
Vanarama National League Premier
September 13th 2022
Dorking got back to winning ways and kept a first clean sheet of the season after defeating Barnet at The Hive on Tuesday night. Bobby-Joe Taylor's first-half goal was enough for Wanderers to leave London with all three points on a night where Marc White's side responded valiantly to the recent run of three straight defeats and numerous injury setback's.
The manager was able to welcome Dan Lincoln back to the starting line up for a first start of the season between the sticks, and he also gave a first appearance of the campaign to Harry Ottaway, who partnered Ryan Seager up top. Isaac Philpot returned from injury to play on the left side of the back three, the only other change to the side which started against Wrexham ten days ago. Midfielder Alfie Egan, signed by the club last Thursday from Boreham Wood, was included in the matchday squad for the first time and named on the bench.
Before the match a minute's silence and playback of the National Anthem was immaculately observed by everyone in the stadium to mark the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.
The rain was falling consistently at kick-off and throughout the game, making the excellent playing surface that bit more slippery. The home side made a fast start to the game, pushing Wanderers back in the early exchanges by winning the midfield battles and driving on, and spurned a couple of golden opportunities to open the scoring. Ryan De Havilland's cross from the right touchline was spliced over the bar from very close range by Danny Collinge up from the back, and after Fuller produced a superb block to deny Sean Shields, Lincoln then made a top reaction stop at point blank range to deny frontman Nicke Kabamba inside the six yard box.
Barnet's top scorer so far this season Kabamba would head another opportunity over the bar just before the midway point in the half, but the pace of the game was starting to steady and Wanderers began to gain more possession. The presence of Ottaway was inviting Wanderers to more frequently opt for a direct route up-field, the striker battling and standing up well to his defensive counterparts throughout the game, forcing pressured defensive clearances and enabling other's to come into play. Wheeler was sharp and took on a couple of efforts cutting in from the left, but keeper Laurie Walker remained untroubled until Jebb's strike from just inside the box cannoned off the stopper at the near post, seemingly not too aware of making the save.
Wanderers capitalised on their the positive spell and managed to break the deadlock just past the half-hour mark. Bobby-Joe kept the ball alive near the corner flag on the right flank, and swung in a dangerous left-footed delivery which just evaded a contact from Ottaway closing in several yards out and flew all the way into the bottom corner of goal.
Seager then had an immediate chance to double the advantage; Ottaway sliding his strike partner into the area with a neat through ball, but the former Hungerford man just dinked his effort marginally wide of the far post as Walker advanced from goal.
The Bees applied pressure just before the interval and won a succession of corners; Gallagher typifying his performance across the night with a couple of key aerial clearances prior to Lincoln getting a crucial hand on a threatening in-swinger from the left.
Half-Time: Barnet 0 Wanderers 1
Fuller brought Walker into action shortly after the restart with a low save as a corner ball was recycled, Bobby-Joe then volleyed the rebound into the side-netting. McShane's delightful forward pass set Seager away and he in turn laid the ball off for Bobby-Joe to go even closer as Walker pulled off another good save down to his left. Straight up the other end the lively Shields would force Lincoln into a top save after skipping past a couple of Wanderers player's, his rising effort tipped over the bar.
Heading into the final quarter of the game Marc White introduced Sami El-Abd as Wanderers switched to a back four, and also brought on Alfie Egan at the same time for his debut.
Dean Brennan also made a couple of substitutions around this point in the game, and combined with the change in Wanderers shape his side began to ask questions again in the final third; Shields and Harry Pritchard sent efforts over the bar before sub Idris Kanu cut into the box with a couple of rapid step-overs before driving a low shot straight down Lincoln.
Egan showed his willingness to get on the ball and composure with it as he drifted from central midfield out to the right channel, and wound up taking Wanderers best chance of the second half. Good build up play down the right side proceeded Jebb threading a ball into Egan advancing into the box, the midfielder then smashing a fierce effort across goal destined to nestle in the far side of the net, but Walker got just enough on it to divert away.
Late on the increasingly end-to-end nature of the contest was exemplified as both side's had the ball in the back of the net but swiftly ruled out; Ottaway first after stabbing home Egan's shot-come-cross from the right, before sub Moussa Diarra bundled the ball home from a corner, only for the referee to spot a foul in the build up. Gallagher produced another vital aerial interception to deny Kabamba from close range, then the home side felt aggrieved a penalty was not given for a hand-ball as the ball was driven in from the right flank, the referee waving play on amidst the protests on field and in the stands. A flurry of yellow cards followed for dissent from each side during a nervy six minutes of stoppage time, but Wanderers held out to collect maximum points after the recent run of three straight defeats and preserved a clean sheet for the first time this campaign, compounding Barnet to a first home defeat of the season as well.
Wanderers return to league action at Meadowbank this Saturday afternoon as unbeaten Notts County make the visit down from the Midlands.
Barnet FC (4-2-3-1): 1 Laurie Walker, 21 Ben Wynter, 4 Danny Collinge, 6 Jerome Okimo, 23 Sam Beard (27 Moussa Diarra 79'); 8 Dale Gorman (c), 10 Daniel Powell (11 Idris Kanu 62'); 32 Sean Shields (7 Rob Hall 72'), 14 Harry Pritchard, 33 Ryan De Havilland; 9 Nicke Kabamba
Unused Subs: 12 James Callan (GK), 18 Connor Smith
Yellow Cards: Shields 55', Gorman 75', Kanu 90+', Diarra 90+'
Dorking Wanderers: (3-5-2) 1 Dan Lincoln, 22 Barry Fuller (c) (4 Sami El-Abd 63'), 20 Dan Gallagher, 2 Isaac Philpot; 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor, 18 Luke Moore, 23 Jack Jebb, 10 James McShane, 16 Nicky Wheeler (29 Alfie Egan 63'); 9 Ryan Seager (15 Adam Mekki 71'), 24 Harry Ottaway
Unused Subs: 12 Callum Kennedy, 25 Dan Quick
Goal: BJ Taylor 32'
Yellow Cards: Moore 76', McShane 80', El-Abd 90+'
Referee: Aji Ajibola
Attendance: 1152 (109 Wanderers Supporters)