First Team
National League Tue 24 October Hayes Lane
  • Elerewe (15')
  • Whitely (95')
Dorking Wanderers
  • Blair (6')

Wanderers make their delayed return to league action on Tuesday evening with a trip to Hayes Lane, following the postponement of Saturday’s fixture against Altrincham. After their clash with Oxford City was left untouched, Andy Woodman’s side moved above Altrincham into 4th with a win on Saturday, continuing to build on what has been a fine start to the season for The Lillywhites.

Dorking travel to South London without a win in their last three outings, as Marc White’s side are looking to bounce back from the FA Cup disappointment at Horsham nine days ago. Keen not to downplay Horsham’s performance, White emphasised The Hornets were full value for their win and place in the First Round, after labelling his sides’ performance as “abysmal”. A quick start to the affair preceded the first drama of theafternoon, with 12 minutes played the hosts thought they’d opened the scoring, Hornets skipper Jack Brivio saw his effort deflect into the bottom corner after meeting Daniel Ajakaiye’s cross, despite a lengthy amount of time elapsing, and the ball being on the centre spot for the restart, the officials controversially ruled the goal out for an offside, leaving all parties perplexed. However the hosts didn’t seem to stew in their injustice, continuing on the front foot for much of the first interval before finding the opener with seven minutes left of the half to play with a brilliantlycomposed goal. After picking up the ball midway into the Wanderers half, Charlie Hester-Cook found Lee Harding with an inch-perfect reverse pass, Harding then picked out Ajakaiye in the six yard area to knock in the opener. No less than two minutes later, Hornets doubled their advantage, Shamir Fenelon latched onto an overhit back pass from Matt Briggs, the number 10 was then able to work half a yardbefore releasing a thundering effort, leaving Harrison Male with no chance and Dorking an almighty mountain to climb in the second forty-five. Despite a slightly improved Wanderers performance in the second half, they were unable to ignite any hint of a comeback, falling at the final qualifying stage of the FA Cup for a third consecutive season. League One’s Barnsley await for Horsham in the competitions curtain raiser. Wanderers’ away form in the league may give them comfort whilst making the trip toHayes Lane, White’s men boast an impressive run of five successive clean sheets on the road in the league, taking three wins from their last three in the process. Dorking’s nine day rest, opposed to Bromley’s two, may also give the fresh travelling contingent some confidence. In his weekly update prior to the postponed trip to Altrincham, a positive White emphasised the mood on the training ground is excellent, as he and the players put the misery of Horsham behind them, “we’ve buried the disappointment, lessons to be learnt all round, now we have to carry that disappointment forward, be big and bold, and move on.”

Team News

The squad which made the short trip to Horsham last weekend included some welcome returns from spells out as Matt Briggs made way into the starting XI for the first time since September, whilst skipper Barry Fuller was an unused substituteas his return to full match fitness nears. New signing Charlie Carter, who arrived from Eastleigh on a permanent basis last week, suffered a broken wrist in training over the weekend, the 26-year-old is set tobe sidelined for around four weeks, bitterly unlucky for the midfielder, who was set to make his debut against Altrincham. As Carter came in, a few faces departed the club on loan last weekend. Aaron Kuhl joined National League South side, Farnborough, on a deal which leaves the midfielder in Hampshire until January, Kuhl will join up with former Wanderer Adam Mekki. Wanderers veteran Isaac Philpot joined Isthmian South Central side Raynes Park Vale on a one month loan. Completing the trio, Jaevon Dyer joined Isthmian South East Division side Phoenix Sports for the remainder of the season. Prior to the Altrincham clash, White confirmed he remains without Tony Craig, JamesMcShane and Seb Bowerman, whilst confirming that Niall McManus, who has been out of action since early August, is fit again for selection.

Opposition Focus

Now in their ninth consecutive season in the division, Bromley are looking to build on what has been an impressive three years, which includes two play-off place finishes and an FA Trophy win. Currently boasting the second best defensive record in the division, Woodman’s side have begun the season in play-off form once again. Following a shaky start to the campaign, the South Londoners have found another gear since, losing only once since mid-August, to league leaders Chesterfield, who ended a six game unbeaten run which included five wins. A contribution to Bromley’s defensive acumen this campaign may come in the form of a new man between the sticks, Grant Smith joined from Yeovil Town on a permanent basis at the start of the season, the goalkeeper has since been a mainstay in Woodman’s side. Another successful recruit at Hayes Lane has been Crystal Palace academy product Sam Woods, who arrived from Barnet. The 25-year-old, who arrived from fellow National League side Barnet, has enjoyed a strong start to life in South London. Michael Cheek is Lillywhites’ top scorer this campaign with seven goals, the striker, who finished the 2020/21 campaign as the leagues top scorer with 21 goals, will pose a strong threat to the Wanderers backline on Tuesday evening.

Last Time We Met

Dorking ran out 2-0 losers at Hayes Lane back in February, a headed goal from Omar Sowunmi and debut goal for Charley Kendall moved Bromley up into the play-off places and left Wanderers a point beyond the drop zone. The match serves as a satisfying depiction for how much Dorking have progressed in such a short space of time, the mood around the club is no longer one which engulfs an ever-present threat of a relegation fight, the side have battled an injury crisis which White described as “simply beggars belief, it’s remarkable”, following Carter’s broken wrist, to sit in a relatively safe, deserving mid-table position following some impressive performances this campaign, as the clubs journey to being an established National League side continues. Dom Bleackley