Andrew Dallas headed the visitors in front approaching midway through the first half, and Wanderers task to get back in the game was compounded by the dismissal of Joe Cook just before half time for bringing down Dallas inside the box. Dan Lincoln again this season produced penalty heroics to deny the Scottish forward from the spot, but couldn’t keep out a second penalty won and scored by Dallas just after the hour mark, Isaac Phipot this time guilty of bringing down Solihull’s lead striker. The returning Joe Sbarra would come off the bench and slam home a third with just under twenty minutes remaining to add further misery to Wanderers afternoon.
Marc White made two changes to the side which started against Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Trophy a fortnight ago; Luke Moore returning from recent leg injury to replace Jack Jebb in midfield, Bobby-Joe Taylor also coming into the side and starting wide right as Jimmy Muitt made way.
The Moors handed a debut to new signing Mark Beck, and the imposing National League North top scorer nearly opened his account for his new team inside the opening five minutes, planting Dallas cross from the right just wide, before Josh Kelly struck Ryan Barrnett’s delivery from a similar position just narrowly past the far post.
Neal Ardley’s side were showing greater productivity in the final third in what had been a generally steady and even start to the contest, and his side got reward for their positivity on 18 minutes. A corner ball was headed back across the face of goal by skipper Callum Howe at the back post, and from a yard out Dallas was able to nod the ball over the line.
It was nearly ‘copy and paste’ shortly afterwards as Justin Donawa, brought on for injured defensive colleague Alex Gudger earlier in the half, almost headed home another aerial flick on by his captain. Wanderers were becoming increasingly pushed back as the physicality and movement of Beck and Dallas in tandem with the running and quick feet of Barrett and Kelly flanking them causing continual issue up top, central midfielders Callum Maycock and Tom Whelan also able to drift through the the middle of the field as space was left vacated in central areas.
Further chances fell to Maycock and Ben Coker from range, the latter’s free kick comfortably saved by Lincoln, who then immediately set Bobby-Joe on his way with a signature long throw out, the roaming full back smashing his strike wide of target.
Just a few minutes before half-time the increasing pressure did pay off for The Moors who went into the break with an extra man advantage and almost a two goal lead. Kelly’s ball over the top sent Dallas on his way through at goal, Cook catching up with the striker but adjudged by referee James Durkin to have collided with the Scottish forward and brought him to ground. A straight red card was issued, with Dallas putting the ball on the spot. Firmly struck to his left, Lincoln got across to make the diving save, the ball then scrambled clear to prevent a rebound.
Half time: Dorking Wanderers 0 Solihull Moors 1
Either side of the break Marc White had brought on Isaac Philpot and Jimmy Muitt for Ryan Seager and Luke Moore respectively, resetting his side in a 4-4-1/3-5-1 shape with Ottaway on his own up top, Bobby-Joe Taylor alternating from left back making it a defensive four and sitting in front of a back three.
A well worked move down the Wanderers right led to a cross which fell nicely for Ottaway at the back post within the early minutes of the restart, but the striker trod on the ball as he struck it from a few yards out, the golden chance to equalise ultimately leading to a comfortable save for Ryan Boot.
With the extra man advantage Solihull again re-established command of the contest, Kelly showing great trickery before finding Dallas who headed wide, and just beyond the hour the persistence up top instigated another penalty being conceded. Philpot was this time the guilty man with the a trip on Dallas several yards from goal. The Moors top scorer again stepped up to take the kick, and this time sent Lincoln the wrong way, tucking the ball into the left side of goal.
Immediately after the penalty Neal Ardley introduced Joe Sbarra for Josh Kelly, Sbarra making his first appearance since injury suffered in mid-December. Within ten minutes of coming on, the substitute would make it three for his side, latching on to Beck’s aerial flick-on and racing into vacated space in the Wanderers right back area, and Sbarra drove the ball clinically beyond Lincoln right in front of the delighted travelling continent gathered in that corner of Meadowbank.
Chances were remaining very limited for Wanderers up top, Muitt and McManus both going closest through the second half as the duo put together mazy runs coming in off the right flank, Muitt’s shot at goal well closed down ahead of McManus steering a dangerous ball across the face of goal, crying out for a tap in but no one could get on the end of it.
A tough afternoon for Wanderers was compounded by referee James Durkin’s award of numerous, often harshly distributed yellow cards throughout the game, but ultimately, like the reverse fixture at Damson Park, Neal Ardley’s men demonstrated real quality with their play all over the pitch and were able to capitalise comfortably on a Wanderers side again reduced to ten men for the second time against the Midlands outfit this season.
On a day where other sides around them picked up points in the lower end of the table, Wanderers slip down to 19th, Solihull by contrast up one place to 12th after collecting their first win in five matches.
Marc White’s side now face back-to-back trips to Aldershot Town across the next two weekend’s in the league and then the FA trophy the following Saturday, February 11th.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Dan Lincoln, 22 Barry Fuller (c) (14 Jordan Cheadle 83′), 5 Ed Harris, 33 Joe Cook; 3 BJ Taylor, 18 Luke Moore (7 Jimmy Muitt 46′), 6 Niall McManus, 11 James McShane, 30 Seb Bowerman; 24 Harry Ottaway, 9 Ryan Seager (2 Isaac Philpot 45′)
Unused Subs: 23 Jack Jebb, 16 Nicky Wheeler
Yellow Cards: Cook 21′, McShane 38′, M. White 39′, Harris 40′, McManus 46′, Fuller 51′, Ottaway, BJ Taylor 90+4′
Red Card: Cook 42′
Solihull Moors (4-2-3-1): 1 Ryan Boot, 2 James Clarke, 5 Callum Howe (c), 6 Alex Gudger (17 Justin Donawa 28′), 3 Ben Cooker; 8 Callum Maycock, 18 Tom Whelan; 11 Ryan Barnett, 27 Mark Beck (19 Bart Cybulski 76′), 14 Josh Kelly (Sbarra 63′); 9 Andrew Dallas
Unused Subs: 15 Oisin Smyth, 20 Callum Whelan
Goals: Dallas 18′, 63′ pen, Sbarra 72′
Yellow Card: Donawa 85′
Referee: James Durkin
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Niall McManus