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Leiston 1 Dorking Wanderers 0
Posted: 12th August 2017
Manager Marc White says there’ll be much more to come from Dorking Wanderers this season, after seeing his team slip to defeat on their Bostik Premier Division debut against ten-men Leiston.
“To be honest, we probably didn't challenge ourselves enough in pre-season, we didn't have enough continuity, and it showed in the lack of partnerships between the established and newer players, and no fluidity in our play,” said the boss.
Wanderers started brightly enough, passing the ball quickly through midfield, and out wide, in the attractive style that has enabled the club to rise to the highest level of football the town has seen. Winger Matt Briggs cut into the penalty area and had a shot deflected behind for a corner, while a 25 yard drive from Tommy Hutchings was tipped over the bar.
But Leiston responded by changing their shape and pressing Dorking - almost catching out keeper Slavomir Huk as he brought the ball out from the back - and quickly taking control. A penetrating ball out wide from Chris Henderson found Christy Finch who showed great desire to keep it in and loop over a cross, which Huk did well to scoop out from under the crossbar, away from the head of lurking striker Matt Blake.
Half an hour in and the Leiston pressure was building. Dorking Wanderers threw bodies in the way to block the shots on goal, and held their breath as Leiston hit the side netting.
Having weathered the storm, the game seemed to turn in Dorking’s favour as the hosts were reduced to ten men, Chris Henderson retaliating to a foul by stamping on James McShane’s face and receiving an unarguable red card.
It allowed Wanderers to start the second half on the front foot.
“Leiston came out after half time determined not to concede,” said Marc White, “They dropped off and, with their ten men, we were able to play our usual game, passing the ball in the opposition half.”
Despite the possession, Dorking were still unable to outrun or pass their way through a deep lying Leiston defence and, on their home side’s first forward foray of the half, the ball fell to Kyle Hammond 25 yards from goal. He tapped it down with his left before quickly unleashing an unstoppable right foot shot past Huk and into the top corner of the Wanderers net.
“What a goal. As good as you’ll see at this level,” conceded Dorking’s boss.
It was Leiston’s only goal attempt of the half, but it proved decisive, knocking Marc White’s men off their stride.
Wanderers enjoyed a late rally with Briggs and substitute Sol Pinnock beginning to get further forward on either wing, and James McShane dummied his way free in midfield before letting loose a shot that rose over the bar, but the stuttering performance and lack of invention allowed Leiston’s stubborn defence to stand firm.
With the experienced Giuseppe Sole and prolific striker Tom Tolfrey both absent, Marc White says Dorking Wanderers were short of their best but will be able to make changes for the home league game against Met Police on Tuesday evening.
Dorking Wanderers: Huk, Sheridan, Summerfield, Hamlin, Ray, Pearse, Beckles, Briggs, Moore, Hutchings, McShane
Subs – O’Neil, Pinnock, Philpot, Beard, Chendlik