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Dorking Wanderers 3 Brightlingsea Regent 2
Posted: 23rd September 2017
Dorking Wanderers secured back-to-back league victories for the first time since stepping up to the Bostik League Premier Division with a compelling first half display against fellow newcomers, Brightlingsea Regent.
With experienced former AFC Wimbledon midfielder Luke Moore returning from injury and providing a quietly composed performance, Dorking manager Marc White was able to rest top scorer Matt Briggs ahead of this coming weekend’s big FA Cup 3rd qualifying round tie at Concord Rangers.
The steadying influence of Moore also allowed the creative force of James McShane to shine in an attacking role.
It took just nine minutes for Wanderers to take the lead. Dan Pearse received the ball from McShane just outside the box, held off a defender and struck a sweet shot firmly into the bottom corner of the Brightlingsea net.
Playing very direct football on the tight pitch at Westhumble, the visitors also enjoyed some chances, with Billy Hunt and Phil Kelly looking lively in attack - and it was Hunt who drew Brightlingsea level from the penalty spot on 32 minutes.
But a minute later, Dorking were back in front as McShane shifted the ball along the edge of the D before sweeping a superb left footed strike into the top corner for the net.
“We’re still not playing our best going forward, but Pearse and McShane scored two excellent goals to take control of the game,” purred Wanderers’ boss Marc White. He had further cause to celebrate on the stroke of half time as striker Tom Tolfrey ran in from the left and fired the ball across the keeper and into the Brightlingsea net for a 3-1 lead.
“That’s three goals in three games now for Tolfrey,” observed White, “and it’s two in the last three for James McShane. After a slow start to the season, these are the small incremental improvements that make the difference at this level.
“We also know that, after a few weeks out, Luke Moore will get better still as he comes back to match fitness with a run of games now.”
Heading for a fourth straight win in all competitions, Dorking Wanderers switched to a back four for the second half. “Brightlingsea are probably the most direct team we’ve played against so far is season,” explained the manager. “So it wasn't pretty in the second half, but I thought it was important we went more defensive to neutralise their threat from long balls and see the game out.”
If the first half had been about the Wanderers attack, the second saw praise for keeper Harry Palmer and the defensive quartet of Hamlin, Boulter, Philpot and David Ray, who Marc White credited with a man of the match performance.
Now enjoying the best of the game, Brightlingsea created some nervousness among the home support by pulling a goal back through substitute Aaron Condon’s first class strike with 15 minutes remaining but, despite defending deep, the Dorking back line stood firm for the win.
Dorking Wanderers FC: Palmer, Hamlin, Boulter, Ray, Beckles (Philpot 45), Pearse, Moore, Summerfield, Beard (Sole 45), Tolfrey (Chendlik 71), McShane
Unused Subs: O’Neil, Pinnock