TOOTING & MITCHAM MATCH REPORT
The Incredible Huk saves the day
Posted: 26th April 2017
Wanderers number one Slavomir Huk was the hero of the hour as a resilient Wanderers side dug deep to reach this years’ Ryman South play-off final.
Wanderers Manager Marc White and his players showed amazing character just 48 hours after losing out on the league title on goal difference (despite amassing a huge 105 league points), coming back from 1-0 down against the country’s highest scoring football team Hastings United.
The match lived up to its billing with pulsating end-to-end action, with both sides creating several clear cut opportunities in front of a vociferous home crowd.
The prolific former Maidstone front man Frannie Collin opened the scoring for Hastings with a headed goal from close range after 73 minutes, leaving Wanderers an uphill task. With just 8 minutes remaining Wanderers Manager White bravely made a treble substitution, whilst changing the formation at the same time, and that decision clearly changed the game as Wanderers began to dominate proceedings.
The equaliser came from one of those substitutes, Giuseppe Sole, when he crashed home a thunderous strike with just 4 minutes to go.
With the away side now looking weary, and in search of the final whistle, Wanderers went agonisingly close on more than one occasion, as Matt Briggs began to stretch the Hastings defence.
The extra time period was equally as enthralling, as both sides were impressively prepared to put everything on the line, but neither team could find the winner so it was left to a penalty shoot-out to determine who progressed to the final.
Up step Slavomir Huk versus Lenny Pidgeley, the former Chelsea goalkeeper who boasts a Premier League winners medal amongst his honours. However, on this occasion the medal belonged to Huk, who after a magnificent one handed save then watched Pidgeley’s 5th penalty fly past the post to give Wanderers a famous victory on a night that will long be remembered.
FT 1-1 (Wanderers win 4-3 on penalties AET).
Manager Marc White said: “Credit to Darren (Hare) and his players. They gave it absolutely everything they had, were incredibly tough opponents, and extremely gracious in defeat. I have no doubt that if the core of that team stays together they will be amongst the title favourites next year. In respect of our lads, it was a terrific and tenacious performance. It’s not going to be pretty this time of year, as the summer pitches take effect, and games of this magnitude are played as cup ties. I thought every member of the squad did brilliantly, in particular the 3 substitutes who went on and made such a big difference. After the game the lads commented on how much they appreciated the large local support, as I do too, and we really hope they all come back down on Saturday to hopefully watch us make history with yet another promotion”.
The Play-Off Final is this Saturday, 29th April, when Dorking Wanderers welcome Corinthian Casuals to Westhumble (3pm kick off).
Wanderers: Slavomir Huk, Rob Sheridan, Chris Boulter (Dean Gunner 80’), Dean Hamlin, Ben Dyett (Giuseppe Sole 80’), Jake Beecroft, Jerome Beckles, Matthew Briggs, Sam Beard (Tom Summerfield 80’), Tom Tolfrey, James McShane
Subs: Tom Summerfield, Dan Pearse, Dean Gunner, Gareth Chendlik, Giuseppe Sole
Wanderers goal scorer: Giuseppe Sole (86’)
Pictured: Dorking Wanderers goalkeeper Slavomir Huk makes a superb save in the penalty shoot-out versus Hastings United in the Play-Off Semi Final at Westhumble
Picture courtsey of Steve O'Sullivan