Dorking Wanderers 5 Leatherhead 4
The Advertiser Trophy
July 11th 2023
Dorking won back the annual Advertiser Trophy in a nine goal thriller under the Meadowbank lights on Tuesday night against Mole Valley rivals Leatherhead.
Luke Moore and Matt Briggs returned to the matchday squad and featured from the start after missing the pre-season opener against Walton & Hersham on Saturday, and recently signed first team youngsters Jack Saunders and Callum Backhurst were also included after being unavailable this past weekend. Nial McManus, Josh Taylor, James McShane and Jimmy Muitt remained side-lined through injury.
A re-occuring theme of the yearly fixture since it's re-launch in 2019 has been Wanderers making a fast start to the game and getting on the score-sheet early, and tonight very much continued that trend as Marc White's side raced into a 3-0 lead inside the opening quarter of an hour.
With just 5 minutes on the clock, Jack Jebb netted the first of the night; George Francomb rolling a free kick within shooting distance into the path of Jebb taking up a more central position outside the penalty area, and the midfielder stepped up to curl a measured low strike into the bottom left corner of goal.
A couple of minutes later, it was via another set piece where Wanderers managed to double their advantage; Seb Bowerman whipping in a free kick delivery from the left and finding Joe Cook in the middle of the box unmarked, and the former Chesterfield man made no mistake heading the ball home.
Gus Sow stung the palms of Harrison Male with a half-volley up the other end for The Tanners first effort on goal after the Wanderers defence had closed down an initial effort, Omarr Lawson then steered the ball into the back of the net from close range after play was recycled but his effort was chalked off for offside. Straight up the other end though, Wanderers got their third goal of the night, Seager partially rounding keeper Serine Sanneh and finishing inside the six yard box after his first strike had been blocked but not fully cleared by The Tanners defence.
Full back Alpha Diallo had success throughout the evening advancing down the right flank for Hayden Bird's side and after dragging a shot just fractionally wide of the back stick, another positive run forward did lead to reward not long before half-time; Diallo's strike at the near post blocked but spilling out for Dan Hector to tap home from several yards out, the forward having been denied by a decent reaction from Male not long before that.
Bowerman had curled an effort just wide of the post after finding space outside the box before instigating the play which would ensure Wanderers restored their three goal lead heading into the interval; the winger driving inside from the left and shifting the ball into the path of Seager, who at tighter angle than he would have perhaps liked managed to stab the ball past the advancing Sanneh to guide the ball into the bottom right corner of goal.
Within half a minute of the restart, Wanderers further extended their lead; Jason Prior had only just entered the field of play after coming on at half-time and was on hand to bundle the ball home after a low cross from the left deflected through to him in the middle of the penalty area.
Seager drove a first time effort just beyond the top right stanchion after Briggs and Aaron Kuhl exchanged passed down the right, and Prior went close to quickly doubling his tally for the evening stabbing the ball wide from a similar position to where he scored his first.
Just past the hour mark, The Tanners pulled another goal back, a delightful through-ball dispatched from central midfield was gathered by Brian Garzon, who stayed cool to slide the ball beyond Callum Backhurst from the right side of the box.
The young goalkeeper has come on for Male at half-time and shortly after conceding produced a top diving save down to his left to tip Louie Collins effort round the post, but a nightmare moment for the stopper a few minutes later allowed Leatherhead to further reduce the deficit. Keeping the ball at his feet that fraction too long, Tanners attacker Trevan Robinson was quick to press and managed to wrestle the ball away, opening up an opportunity to then slide the ball into an unguarded net.
A signature free kick from Calum Kennedy almost found the top left corner of goal but for an excellent save from Sanneh getting up to meet it, and not long after, Academy midfielder Matt Hay cushioned a volleyed pass into the path of Barry Fuller cutting in from the right flank, the Wanderers skipper picking out Prior in the centre of the box but the striker's effort was well blocked.
Ten minutes from time, The Tanners managed to set up a grandstand finish by pulling another goal back, and it was another tough moment for keeper Backhurst, chased down again by Robinson who this time gathered the loose ball and produced a cool lobbed finish from the right side of the box to make if 5-4.
Along with Hay, fellow Academy midfielder Jack Saunders had come on early in the second half, and could have put the game to bed for Wanderers in the closing minutes, facing up Sanneh one-on-one his effort on goal was blocked by the Tanners keeper but the option to square to Bobby-Joe Taylor up with him who also on as well.
Wanderers ultimately held out to get off the mark for pre-season and regain the Advertiser Trophy having lost it for the first time since the 2019 resurrection of the competition last summer at Fetcham Grove. Marc White acknowledged post-match that his side would need to tighten up defensively with six goals conceded in the opening two games and looked forward to more recognised first team players becoming available in the coming weeks, but praised the contributions of Ryan Seager and Barry Fuller so far, as well as Academy midfielders Jack Saunders and Matt Hay.
The annual trip further afield for pre-season is up next for Wanderers, who travel down to Cornwall this Saturday afternoon to face Mousehole AFC in a 3pm kick off.
Wanderers 1st Half XI: 1 Harrison Male, 37 George Francomb, 5 Tony Craig, 15 Joe Cook; 8 Matt Briggs, 20 Dan Gallagher, 18 Luke Moore, 23 Jack Jebb, 30 Seb Bowerman; 19 Ryan Seager, 24 Harry Ottaway
Wanderers 2nd Half XI: 31 Callum Backhurst, 22 Barry Fuller, 2 Isaac Philpot, 12 Calum Kennedy; 8 Matt Briggs (14 Spike Steggall 72'), 25 Aaron Kuhl, 37 George Francomb (32 Jack Saunders 57'), 18 Luke Moore (38 Matt Hay 62'), 30 Seb Bowerman (27 Jaevon Dyer 80'); 19 Ryan Seager (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 70'), 9 Jason Prior
Goals: Jebb 5', Cook 7', Seager 14', 40', Prior 46'
Leatherhead Squad: 1 Serine Sanneh, 2 Alpha Diallo, 3 Michael Elechi, 4 Fikayo Atewologun, 5 Ollie Cook, 6 Jamie Splatt, 7 Omarr Lawson, 8 Kenny Beaney (c), 9 Dan Hector, 10 Gus Sow, 11 Trey Masikini, 12 Tyler Cox, 14 Trevane Robinson, 15 Junior Savanne, 16 Louie Collins, 17 Luke Phair, 19 Brian Garzon, 20 Brad Manning, 21 Kacper Danielewicz, 22 Francisco Gomes, 24 Erald Memaj
Goals: Hector 38', Garzon 61', Robinson 68', 80'
Referee: Emmanuel Adebowale