Jimmy Muitt, Ed Harris and Barry Fuller were among a few names making a return to the starting XI, while Archie Procter made only his third start of the season. The Latics came into the game with one win in their last six league games, while Dorking were looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing at Eastleigh on New Years Day.
Early proceedings were relatively even, with both team’s creating some promising openings in the first ten minutes, before the home side took an early lead. Ellis Chapman registered the first shot of the game, with a sweetly struck effort from 30 yards forcing a strong save out of Dan Lincoln. What followed was a well-crafted Dorking opener, Procter picked up the ball just inside Oldham’s half, before picking out Seb Bowerman with a clipped ball into the left channel. Bowerman, with time to pick his pass, found the oncoming James McShane who gave his side the lead, at the second time of asking, after a strong initial save from Magnus Norman.
No less than ten minutes later, Oldham cancelled out McShane’s opener, with Fondop getting his first of the afternoon. Sydie Peck, who found joy down Oldham’s right-hand side for much of the afternoon, found Ben Tollitt just inside the eighteen-yard box, his effort forced a fine save out of Lincoln, who, rather unfortunately, could only palm it to a grateful Fondop to hit home the leveller.
Following their leveller, the visitors only seemed to continue to grow into the match, with both full-backs progressing up their respective flanks with much ease. The full backs’ license to go beyond the exposed Dorking defenders resulted in The Latics taking the lead. Will Sutton found his right side companion, Peck, who again was able to find an attacker in the eighteen-yard box. This time, Fondop was the beneficiary, but there was still much to do for the striker. Fondop, with his back to goal, flicked the ball up, while holding off oncoming defenders, and in one movement, swivelled and managed to connect sweetly with a half volley, which floated over Lincoln’s head and into the top corner, marking one of the best goals Meadowbank has seen this season.
A constant theme in the first half was Wanderers’ struggle to deal with long balls up to the two central strikers, the ball continued to bounce over the Dorking back three, with Fondop and Joe Nuttall’s physicality coming out on top. In stoppage time of the first half, Oldham won a corner for their nuisance. This resulting corner, floated over all red and white Dorking shirts to find Peter Clarke at the back post, who bundled in Oldham’s third of the day, changing the complexion of the second half for both sides, and leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb.
Half-time: Dorking Wanderers 1-3 Oldham Athletic AFC
The interval didn’t seem to nullify any stuffing which may have been knocked out of Marc White’s side, who struggled to maintain any possession in the early stages of the second half. Just over ten minutes after the restart, the visitors found a fairly expected fourth, based on the balance of play. Dorking were left incensed at the referee, who deemed Fondop’s challenge on Bobby Joe-Taylor to win the ball just inside the Dorking half, fair. After his contentious challenge, Fondop, already on a brace, charged towards goal with the ball, displaying an evident focus on taking home the match ball, the striker was left rewarded for an admirably determined display all afternoon, as his strike found its way past Lincoln, leaving the travelling Oldham faithful behind the goal in full voice.
Following the goal, Oldham looked in complete control, with White’s side struggling to contest with a dogged, physical display from The Latics, who pressed every pass in Dorking’s half, as if they were chasing a late equaliser. Their fifth goal came as a result of this, and a rather lazy pass from Bobby-Joe, who may have been feeling the affect of Oldham’s press. Chapman pounced on the loose pass and, after finding himself one on one with Lincoln, cleverly finished it into the corner, capping off a fine performance in front of goal from David Unsworth’s side.
Nutall nearly added his name to the scorers list, but was denied by a fantastic block from Gallagher, sparing his sides further blushes. Following the two quick fire goals after the restart, Dorking managed to eventually re-discover a foothold in the game, with Jack Jebb’s introduction off the bench bringing some much-needed ball retention in midfield, while progressing the ball through Oldham’s, admittedly less intense press as the game wore on. The last fifteen minutes for Dorking were honourable, Jebb and McShane created a few potential openings, but a combination of Oldham’s defence and Norman’s efforts in goal, kept the score line at 1-5.
The win lifts the visitors out of the relegation zone and six points behind Wanderers, who themselves remain eight clear of the drop zone. Kidderminster Harriers travel to Meadowbank next Saturday for the fourth round of the FA Trophy, as White’s side try to regain some winning form.
Dorking Wanderers [3-5-2]: 1 Dan Lincoln, 22 Barry Fuller, 5 Ed Harris (23 Jack Jebb 76′), 35 Archie Procter (3 Bobby Joe-Taylor 45’); 7 Jimmy Muitt, 20 Dan Gallagher, 29 Alfie Egan (24 Harry Ottaway 45’), 6 Niall McManus, 30 Seb Bowerman; 11 James McShane, 9 Ryan Seager
Unused Subs: 14 Jordan Cheadle, 16 Nicky Wheeler
Goal: McShane 9’
Yellow Card: McManus 55’
Oldham Athletic AFC [4-4-2]: 19 Magnus Norman, 32 Will Sutton, 4 Liam Hogan, 26 Mark Kitching, 18 Ben Tollitt (33 Benny Coutto 45’), 14 Nathan Sheron, 42 Peter Clarke, 28 Sydie Peck, 36 Ellis Chapman, 20 Mike Fondop (25 Alex Reid 69’), 45 Joe Nuttall (44 Josef Yarney 84’)
Unused Subs: 13 Matthew Hudson, 27 Timmy Abraham
Goals: Fondop 18’, 34′, 56′, Clarke 45+2’, Chapman 62’
Yellow Card: Chapman 33’
Referee: Farai Hallam
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Niall McManus