Seb Bowerman’s goal on the half hour was enough for Wanderers to record back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since September, on a night where Marc White’s side showed great continuity from the weekend win over Maidenhead United and maintained a clean sheet for just the fourth time in the league this campaign.
The manager named an unchanged line up and bench, Tony Craig again retaining the captain’s armband with Barry Fuller among the substitutes.
In much the same fashion as Saturday, Wanderers began the game brightly; Moore arriving onto a cut back at the edge of the box and having a side-footed effort closed down inside two minutes before Bowerman’s inviting cross towards the back post couldn’t quite pick out Prior.
Josh Taylor’s long throw-in’s launched into the penalty area were a continual threat for the Southend defence throughout the night. The midfielder found Prior at the near post and his looping header seeking the far left corner of goal was well tipped over by Colin Andeng-Ndi tracking back on his toes. Another throw could only be half-cleared and sat up for Bowerman to lash on the volley at pace, the effort well closed down before Andeng-Ndi clawed away a second attempt as Bowerman pounced on the rebound.
The visitors were making the pitch as wide as possible and looking to stretch Wanderers shape when advancing forward, but aside from a couple of offside calls were struggling to really penetrate in the final third. Bowerman and Muitt kept receiving the ball at early opportunities as Prior and the central midfielder’s continued to link up well, and on the half-hour mark Wanderers got the breakthrough they deserved.
McShane was able to gather the ball on the right side of the area as The Shrimpers defence hesitated in making an aerial interception, ‘Macca’ keeping his composure and sliding the ball across to the on-coming Bowerman, and the winger made no mistake slamming the ball high into the net, scoring his second goal in Wanderers colours after joining the club back in September.
Play was then predominately contested in the middle of the park for the remainder of the half as possession started to even itself out, Lincoln brought into action for the first time in the game catching a Shaun Hobson header after the defender got on the end of a Jack Bridge cross from the left.
Half-Time: Dorking Wanderers 1 Southend United 0
Wanderers got themselves back on the front-foot quickly after the restart; Cook gathering a cleared Josh Taylor throw at the edge of the box, spinning round and hammering a strike over the bar, Jimmy Muitt then closing in at a tight angle from the right and stinging the palms of Andeng-Ndi from several yards out.
Having been on the receiving end of a facial injury against Halifax a few weeks back, Cook took another blow to the face and had to receive treatment. The Shrimpers looked to capitalise on the temporary extra man advantage, a couple of shots flying in from outside the box, including Dan Mooney’s effort being well cleared just in front of the centre of goal by a composed Tony Craig. Deemed unable to continue, Barry Fuller came on to replace Cook just before the hour, Marc White also introducing Harry Ottaway for James McShane at the same time as Wanderers honed in on a more direct approach for the remainder of game.
Kevin Maher’s side continued to push for a leveller in the wake of the changes; half-time sub Jon Benton blasting a decent free kick opportunity straight into the wall before volleying the rebound over the top, Craig again on hand to make a timely interception as a low cross flew across the box just after.
Josh Taylor brought Adeng-Ndi into action with a comfortable save from a low effort before Bowerman forced the keeper into a spectacular diving save; Ottaway’s diagonal cross-field pass latched onto by the winger who then cut inside and took aim for the bottom right corner, Adeng-Ndi leaping across and tipping the ball round the post. Ottaway turned provider again a moment later, teeing up Prior with a headed knock down just in front of goal, the outstretched leg of ‘JP19′ unable to direct the ball on target though.
Into the late stages The Shrimpers upped their urgency getting forward and had Wanderers effectively camped in their own half. Craig and Fuller made vital clearances as threatening deliveries were swung into the box, sub Callum Powell trapping the ball neatly on the corner of the area and unleashing a strike Lincoln got right behind, the keeper a commanding, cool presence in stoppage time collecting a couple of high aerial balls and Gallagher blocking a Harry Taylor strike driven through a crowd of bodies.
Through a nervy six minutes of added on time, Wanderers managed to hold out, earning another terrific win this term under the Meadowbank lights, in front of another buoyant home crowd. Five points clear of the relegation zone in 19th spot, like Saturday’s result the gap to the teams ahead of Wanderers in the table has been reduced, York City and Aldershot Town now on the same number of points with Marc White’s team having played a game more. Southend remain in 12th, tonight’s loss their seventh in a row.
Next up, Wanderers take to the road this Saturday to face the side just a place ahead of The Shrimpers in the table, Dagenham & Redbridge, in a 3pm kick off at The Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Dan Lincoln, 37 George Francomb, 27 Tony Craig (c), 33 Joe Cook (22 Barry Fuller 56′); 7 Jimmy Muitt (3 Bobby-Joe Taylor 87′), 20 Dan Gallagher, 17 Josh Taylor, 18 Luke Moore, 30 Seb Bowerman; 11 James McShane (24 Harry Ottaway 56′), 9 Jason Prior
Unused Subs: 9 Ryan Seager, 25 Aaron Kuhl
Goal: Bowerman 30′
Yellow Cards: Gallagher 62′, Prior 90′, Moore 90+4′
Southend United (3-5-2): 30 Colin Adeng-Ndi, 5 Shaun Hobson, 6 Ollie Kensdale (21 Jon Benton 46′), 4 Louis Lomas; 24 Jason Demetriou, 16 Harry Taylor, 17 Cavaghn Miley, 7 Jack Bridge (35 Henry Sandat 85′), 3 Nathan Ralph (c); 10 Dan Mooney (11 Callum Powell 76’), 23 Harry Cardwell
Unused Subs: 2 Gus Scott-Morriss, 18 Wesley Fonguck
No Yellow Cards
Referee: Scott Tallis
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Seb Bowerman