Preview by Harry Blackburn
It was a desperately frustrating afternoon at Meadowbank on Saturday with AFC Fylde taking all three points after successfully withstanding a red and white onslaught. The boys will go again on Tuesday against an Altrincham side who have emerged victorious in five of their last six home games.
Dorking, on the other hand, have fallen victim to inconsistency with 3 wins and 3 losses since the turn of the year. In his post-match interview, Marc White agreed with the notion that it’s currently one step forward and two steps back for Wanderers at the moment, attributing it mostly to “simply puzzling home form”.
Saturday’s game culminated in a 3-1 loss at the hands of a Fylde side who capitalised on their chances, punishing Wanderers who squandered theirs. Two defensive lapses in concentration gifted Jonathan Ustabasi a brace and provided a gut-punch to the boys as the first half drew to a close. Dorking’s inability to find the net extended into the second half with chance after chance falling by the wayside.
A second half burst of brilliance by Fylde’s Connor Barrett sealed their first away win since October, rendering a late consolation goal by Matt Briggs too little, too late. A tough result to take for Dorking who dominated the majority of the game, enjoying large spells of possession but were ultimately unable to find the killer blow and put the resilient Fylde defence to the sword.
“It was a smash and grab really. That’s the bottom line.”
With Marc White convinced that “we have the minerals to get wins anywhere in the league”, Wanderers look forward to testing that theory with a trip to play-off chasing Altrincham. This will be our first clash with Phil Parkinson’s side this campaign with the fixture being thrice postponed.
Niall McManus, Tony Craig and Seb Bowerman all missed out at the weekend, with the latter still recovering from a hamstring problem, thus unavailable. TC and McManus’ status’ are still yet to be determined.
Barry Fuller remains sidelined, along with James McShane.
Luke Moore has served his four game suspension, following his red card at Macclesfield in mid-January, and will be available for selection.
Alfie Rutherford, who went off in the first half against Fylde, is unavailable for the trip to Altrincham.
The Robins are perched in 4th position this season, a substantial improvement on their 17th place finish last year. After winning eight of their last ten league games, Altrincham will pose a significant threat to Dorking’s defence having already netted 54 times this campaign; fifteen of which coming from 22-year-old attacking midfielder Chris Conn-Clarke. The Northern Irishman signed for a club record transfer fee last summer and has repaid that faith with goals.
Phil Parkinson has further bolstered his squad, bringing in Manchester United Under-21 centre-half Sonny Aljofree on loan last month, as well as extending the deal of free-scoring midfielder Alex Newby, on loan from Colchester United. Newby has netted eight times so far this season and is the man in-form scoring three in his last four appearances so will likely be a blip on the radar of the Dorking defence.
The Robins will arrive at the J. Davidson Stadium off the back of a 1-0 win away to Solihull Moors. A goal from the aforementioned Newby was enough to take the points back to the North West and leapfrog the opposition in the process.
Possible starting line-up:
Gould; Banks, Jones, Baines, Esborne; Newby, Conn-Clarke, Marriott, Southern-Cooper; Amaluzor, Linney
Last Time We Met
You have to go back to April last year for the previous fixture between the sides, in which Dorking came out 3-2 winners. A memorable comeback at Meadowbank sealed the win for White’s men with goals from Muitt, Ottaway and Prior.
Altrincham came out firing with a caressed effort from Regan Linney finding the top right corner within five minutes. The Robins then doubled their lead through Maxi Oyedele who pounced on a loose touch and confidently slotted home.
Wanderers got themselves back in the game soon after with Muitt latching onto a whipped Bowerman cross and nodding home well.
After the break, it was Ottaway who clinched the equaliser, bringing the ball down excellently inside the box and slotting the ball into the bottom left corner with panache. The boys completed their fantastic comeback via a bullet header from Prior, after the #9 gleefully met Muitt’s inviting cross.