Dorking Wanderers ‘B’ 4 Banstead Athletic 2
Southern Combination Division One
Dec 30th 2023
Ruben Gaspar’s side managed to bounce back from narrow midweek defeat away at Roffey by overcoming Surrey rivals Banstead on the closing weekend of the calendar year.
The top of the table clash at Roffey on Wednesday night had seen Dmytro Solodilov put Wanderers ahead early on in the contest before the striker received a red card later in the first half, and despite a valiant effort to stay in front, the 10 men were seen off late on as Roffey clinched a 2-1 win inside the last ten minutes.
With Solodilov and attacking midfielder Sonny Albert suspended, the latter for accumulating a fifth yellow card of the campaign during the midweek game, a couple of enforced changes were made to the starting line up as Ollie Rawlins and Hwan Lee respectively came in for the aforementioned duo. Paddi Harland-Goddard and Seb Tauta-Caballero also returned to the starting eleven in place of Hayden Gale and James Laws.
Wanderers had began to build early momentum as Tyrese Ayeni saw his fierce effort headed clear after cutting in sharply from the left flank, Harland-Goddard then providing a through ball for Rawlins down the opposite side but the striker opted for a strike at goal rather than square for Lee who was lined up in the middle of the box, the shot drifting wide of the far post.
Against the run of play the visitors took the lead on 17 minutes; a corner ball driven in from the right diverted home with an emphatic first time finish from Toby Young, the effort carrying too much power for Isaac Ogunseri to keep out.
Ayeni fired a wavering effort straight down Kacper Orlowski and Luke Bejashvili scuffed a shot wide as Wanderers immediately chased a leveller, and they got it less than ten minutes after going behind. Ayeni with a brilliant run down the left to beat a couple of Banstead players before crossing for Rawlins, who made no mistake finding the target with a stooping header from close range.
Left-sided defender Luca Fulco unfortunately suffered an injury just past the half-hour and was replaced by Hayden Gale. Within a minute of coming on though, it was Gale who set up the goal which put Wanderers in front; his cross from the left spinning awkwardly in front of Orlowski and deflecting into goal off the under-side of the committed goalkeeper for an own goal.
Banstead responded well to going behind, the threat from set pieces continuing as a header from a free kick bounced off the top of the bar before Paul Meredith’s side restored parity on 39 minutes; forward Emeka Okakpu tapping home from a hooked-in cross after the Wanderers defence over-committed to clearing the ball on the left side of the area.
Bejashvili had been unable to find the net after spearheading a counter-attack earlier in the half and went even closer to getting on the scoresheet after seeing his near post flick from a corner somehow scrambled off the goal line late in the half. However, Wanderers were able to regain their lead before the interval, Rawlins firing emphatically into the roof of the net after finding space to get a shot off from the right side of the penalty area. The striker’s second of the afternoon was his 12th of the campaign so far.
The blend of harsh wind and increased rain made conditions more challenging for both sides after the restart, but Wanderers continued to have control over the majority of play, committing to retaining possession and shifting the ball forward at pace as they had done so effectively throughout the first half.
Both Lee and Tauta-Caballero went close with low strikes denied by outstretched Banstead legs as the pressure was ramped up near the hour mark, and at the midway point of the second half extra daylight was added to the scoreline to make it 4-2. Tauta-Caballero dispatched a superb through ball down the line for Rawlins to run onto, and at the second attempt, his cut-back picked out Laws arriving in the area, the recently introduced sub tapping home from close range for his second goal in three games after finding the net in the win at Worthing United a week ago.
Laws and Rawlins nearly reversed their roles for a similar attacking move not long afterwards, and the latter would hammer a strike into the side-netting as Wanderers went close to adding further gloss to the scoreline late on.
Finishing 2023 in second place in the Southern Combination Division One a point behind Roffey, who do have a couple of games in hand, Ruben Gaspar will be hoping his side can remain hot on the tails of the league leaders as the new year get’s under way.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Isaac Ogunseri (GK), 3 Neo Wooster, 5 Salvatore Marino, 6 Luac Fulco (14 Hayden Gale 34′); 2 Paddi Harland-Goddard, 4 Joel Brown (c), 17 Seb Tauta-Caballero, 20 Hwan Lee (15 James Laws 66′), 7 Tyrese Ayeni; 9 Ollie Rawlins, 11 Luke Bejashvili (12 Zach Cahusac 73′)
Unused Subs: 16 Mason Myles, 18 Jacob Todman
Goals: Rawlins 27′, 40′, OG 35′, Laws 68′
Referee: Peter Lindsey