Jason Prior netted his first goals on home soil since returning to the club last month, powering headers home in each half to set Wanderers well on their way to three points, Josh Taylor putting the game to bed with another headed finish just before the hour mark. Charlee Adams pulled a goal back for The Magpies ten minutes from time via the penalty spot, Wanderers seeing out the remainder of the game to make it three wins from their last four home matches.
Marc White made three changes to the side which started against York City last Saturday, two of the substitutes who made an impact in the second half of that game recalled to the starting line up in Dan Gallagher and Jimmy Muitt, the other change seeing Joe Cook, absent from the matchday squad last week, come into the left side of the back three. Calum Kennedy, Matt Briggs and Ryan Seager all made way, the latter dropping to the substitutes bench, which included Aaron Kuhl for the first time since he signed from Slough Town back in January.
After a fairly even opening ten minutes, Wanderers started to push The Magpies back and gain a foothold further up the field; Prior linking play effectively with the central midfielders and bringing Bowerman and Muitt quickly into the game out wide. Bowerman’s cross from the right was headed just beyond the top left corner by Prior, the striker then spurning a great chance a few moments later in space after Francomb’s delivery was only half-cleared, opting for a pass across the face of goal rather than taking on a strike, nobody in red and white able to get on the end of it.
Wanderers remained very much in the ascendancy through the midway point of the half, Muitt getting continual success down the right up against Idris Odutayto, taking the ball down brilliantly behind his marker and unleashing a cross for Prior at the back stick, the striker glancing it just wide. Persistent play from Taylor and Moore at the edge of the Maidenhead box teed up Bowerman to try a cushioned first-time strike from range, the sublime effort whistling past the post.
The deserved breakthrough was made just before the half-hour mark; Francomb’s corner ball from the right met on the run by Prior getting across the near post, and the striker planted a header emphatically into the bottom corner of goal.
Maidenhead pushed for an immediate leveller, Will De Havilland having a shot blocked after a corner broke out before Remy Clerima would go as close as The Magpies would go throughout the half, hooking the ball just wide as it sat up in the middle of the penalty area.
Muitt was continuing to carry a real threat for Wanderers down the right with his pace and turns, winning a free kick delivered well by Francomb but cleared, the Wanderers No7 then cutting inside and firing a low effort aiming for the far post, just dragging it slightly wide. Muitt and Taylor would combine well at the byline in the closing minutes of the half, another free kick won in that area of the field, this time dispatched by Taylor, Gallagher almost getting an aerial contact on the ball as he charged across the face of goal.
Half-Time: Dorking Wanderers 1 Maidenhead United 0
Two minutes into the restart, Wanderers did manage to double their lead. McShane with brilliant work in the build up evading a couple of challenges, threading a pass into Muitt down the right, his cross into the box reaching an unmarked Prior closing in, and ‘JP19′ made no mistake burying his header into the back of the net from several yards out.
Bowerman squandered an excellent chance to make it three immediately afterwards, Taylor making headway down the right and cutting the ball back, the former Bracknell Town man slamming his effort straight at Alexis Andre, stinging the palms of the stopper and the ball quickly cleared away.
Within a few minutes though, the duo of Bowerman and Taylor combined again and this time made no mistake in extending Wanderers lead. Gallagher’s well measured ball into the channel was gathered by Bowerman, his cross finding Taylor running into space in the middle of the area and he confidently steered another headed finish beyond Andre.
The Wanderers back-line had remained resolute and were untroubled for much of the contest, Magpies front-man and top scorer Emile Acquah kept quiet for the most part; Cook producing a brilliantly timed sliding challenge to deny the striker as he latched on to a diagonal ball before turned provider for Clerima in the aftermath of the third goal, he could only nod wide from close range though.
Aaron Kuhl had come on for James McShane with just over half-hour remaining to make his competitive debut, the new man slotting in seamlessly to an industrious central midfield looking to keep Wanderers on the front foot in spite of the three goal lead.
With twenty minutes remaining Prior went very close to earning himself the match ball, meeting a cross from the right with a deft flick looking destined for the top corner of goal, Andre forced into a fingertip save to push the effort over the bar.
Alan Devonshire had just made the last of his three second half substitutes around this point, and the trio did start to get The Magpies up the field and threatening in the latter stages of the game. Dan Sparks free kick from the left found the head of fellow sub Shawn McCoulsky inside the six yard box, the striker’s header smacking the crossbar and bouncing out. Bruno Andrade, signed within the previous 24 hours on a short term deal having left Boreham Wood, then progressed into the penalty area at pace coming in off the left flank and was curtailed by sub Barry Fuller, referee Paul Johnson not hesitating in pointing to the spot, penalty awarded. Charlee Adams stepped up, and despite Lincoln getting a hand to it, the midfielder managed to generate enough power on his kick to send it into the bottom right corner.
Wanderers held out through the closing minutes to get back to winning ways following back-to-back defeats on the road. The victory, in tandem with results elsewhere, tightened up the points gaps around the bottom end of the National League table, Wanderers ultimately remaining 3 points from safety as they were before kick off.
The opportunity to get more points on the board arrives in just three days time as Southend United are the visitors to Meadowbank in a 19:45 kick off on Tuesday evening.
Maidenhead United (4-4-2): 31 Alexis Andre, 2 Zico Asare, 4 Will De Havilland, 24 Alan Massey, 15 Idris Odutayto; 6 Remy Clerima, 10 Kane Ferdinand, 27 Charlee Adams, 7 Sam Barratt (36 Bruno Andrade 52′); 17 Reece Smith (9 Shawn McCoulsky 52′), 14 Emile Acquah (11 Dan Sparkes 71′). Unused Subs: 3 Sam Beckwith, 18 Adam Leathers
Goal: Adams pen 80’
Referee: Paul Johnson
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Jason Prior
Match Stats (with thanks to Aaron):
Shots on target: 6-4
Shots off target: 6-3
Yellow Cards: 1-1
Red Cards: 0-0