Marc White’s side came out worthy winners after going two behind within the first eight minutes. Goals from Jimmy Muitt, Harry Ottaway and Jason Prior completed the turn-around as Dorking took a huge step towards National League safety.
Aaron Kuhl came into the side for his first competitive start since arriving at the club in January, Kuhl, who impressed throughout the game, started in midfield with Josh Taylor and Luke Moore, as Ryan Seager returned to the starting XI to partner Jason Prior up front.
The visitors, who were full value of their early two goal lead, started the game much the brighter; Josh Lundstram providing Dorking with an early scare as he flashed a cross-turned-shot across the face of Lincoln’s goal within the first minute. No less than four minutes later, The Robins took the lead through Regan Linney. Wanderers were left with a depleted defence after committing a lot of men up the pitch as Jordan Hulme led a counter attack, Hulme then found Joe Hugill down the right, who had time to carry the ball forward, before perfectly weighting a pass to the oncoming Linney who, from the edge of the area, tucked away an impressive first-time effort beyond Lincoln into the top corner.
Marc White admitted post-match that his side were “disappointing” in the early stages of the game, being aware of Altrincham’s desire to press high, he suggested that his players didn’t nullify the threat effectively, and invited the early pressure. It was said pressure which resulted in the visitors doubling their lead, as Tony Craig’s mis-hit pass allowed Maxi Oyedele to pick up possession with only Lincoln to beat, which he did in assured fashion to put the visitors in the driving seat.
The opening exchanges showed little promise for the hosts, with a strong Joe Cook challenge and some clever play from Kuhl in midfield the most for Wanderers fans to be excited about. Dying for some quality in the final third, it was Seb Bowerman on the left who produced it to help his team get back in the game. The winger, typically, had the beating of his man early on, and on the thirteen-minute mark, he was able to square up Miles Welch-Hayes, cut back, beyond his marker, and deliver an in swinging cross to find Muitt at the far post, the winger firmly planting home a header as both he and Prior were queuing up.
The goal woke Dorking up, as they were able to find much more joy in progressing the ball up the pitch, Kuhl continued to look assured in midfield, Prior was becoming more of a troublesome presence for Altrincham’s backline and Bowerman and Muitt were able to take advantage in transition of a very open game.
Chances were still at a premium for much of the first half following the frantic opening quarter of an hour, Prior hit a header just wide from a deep cross from Kuhl, Josh Taylor scuffed an effort towards goal, which almost found Seager inadvertently. With the game poised, it felt like the next goal would be the decider in how the game would pan out.
Half-time: Dorking Wanderers 1-2 Altrincham
In similar fashion to the first-half, the visitors started on the front foot, Linney was denied a brace by a strong Lincoln hand as the visitors regained the control they found in the opening ten minutes. Their best chance to reclaim their two-goal cushion fell again to Linney, following a powerful run from Hugill down the left-hand side, he then picked out Linney in the eighteen-yard box, the midfielder would have been disappointed to not even test Lincoln, as he snatched his effort over the bar.
Marc White was eager to praise the impact his substitutes made in his post-match interview, it was Harry Ottaway, who was introduced at half-time, who made the telling impact off the bench, as he so often has this season. Just beyond the hour mark, Joe Cook picked up the ball just inside Altrincham’s half, and was able to pick out Prior, who won his aerial duel on the edge of the box to knock it down to Ottaway, in acres of space, the substitute was able to get the ball out of his feet and finish beyond the oncoming challenge to bring the scores level.
Following the goal, Dorking regained the ascendancy in a match which swung back and forth. Just minutes after going level, Luke Moore stood up a cross to the far post from a free kick, which can’t have been too far away from meeting Ottaway or Prior’s heads. As Dorking pushed for their third, gaps opened up in behind, and they were fortunate that Linney and Hulme couldn’t take advantage of a promising counter attacking situation, in which Linney could only find the gloves of Lincoln from a cross. Welch-Hayes found substitute Elliot Osbourne with a great pass in behind Bowerman, Osbourne, after breaking clear, hit his effort just wide of Lincoln’s post, two missed opportunities for the visitors to regain their lead against the run of play.
White, speaking post-match, praised the impact that Muitt and Prior had throughout the game, it was this pair that combined to complete the turnaround. Prior started the move, winning his header to knock it out to Muitt on the right hand side, the winger, in a seemingly unthreatening position, knocked the ball on the inside of Edward Jones, and ran on the outside, after a burst of pace to beat his man to the ball, Muitt had the presence of mind to stand it up perfectly to Prior, unmarked in the six yard box, the goal seemed a formality when you watched him rise to meet the header, as he wheeled away to celebrate in front of a joyous Wanderers faithful.
The hosts’ resolve, both following the goal, and throughout the game, particularly pleased White, he pointed out that his side did really well to not concede for the eighty three minutes after the quick fire double The Robins produced in the opening seven minutes. Isaac Philpot was introduced shortly after Prior’s header and enjoyed an impressive cameo as part of the defensive effort to see out the win.
Five wins in six games for Dorking sees them remain six points clear of the drop zone with three games now left to play, next up is the long trip to Gateshead on Tuesday night with a hope to continue their fine form in the run in.
Dorking Wanderers [3-5-2]: 1 Dan Lincoln, 37 George Francomb (20 Dan Gallagher 46’), 27 Tony Craig, 33 Joe Cook, 7 Jimmy Muitt, 17 Josh Taylor, 25 Aaron Kuhl (2 Isaac Philpot 74’), 18 Luke Moore, 30 Seb Bowerman, 9 Ryan Seager (24 Harry Ottaway 46’), 19 Jason Prior
Unused Subs: 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor, 16 Nicky Wheeler
Goals: Muitt 13’, Ottaway 62’, Prior 70’
Altrincham [4-2-3-1]: 1 Oliver Byrne, 34 Miles Welch-Hayes, 30 Harry Perritt, 6 Lewis Baines, 2 Edward Jones (27 Aaron Bennett 76’), 8 Josh Lundstram, 4 Isaac Marriott (11 Luke Burgess 84’), 28 Maxi Oyedele, 29 Regan Linney, 39 Joe Hugill (10 Elliot Osbourne 64’), 9 Jordan Hulme
Unused subs: 18 Ben Pringle, 21 Matthew Gould
Goals: Linney 5’, Oyedele 8’
Yellow Card: Jones 62′
Referee: Ritchie Watkins
Sponsors Man Of The Match: Jason Prior