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Havant & Waterlooville 3 Dorking Wanderers 1
Posted: 25th November 2017
A slow start to the second half and momentary losses of concentration proved costly after Dorking Wanderers more than matched National League opponents in the first half of their challenging FA Trophy tie.
Dorking arrived at Havant and Waterlooville on the back of a free-scoring run and four successive victories and began the game confidently. Early Havant pressure was comfortably absorbed by David Ray and Chris Boulter at the back, and it was Wanderers who created the first goal threat as a Giuseppe Sole free kick from deep was headed over the bar by Lewis Taylor.
The higher league hosts were stunned on 16 minutes when Dorking took the lead. It was a goal entirely made by flying winger Matt Briggs who picked up the ball deep in his own half and used sheer strength and determination to power past two opponents before squaring the ball to Giuseppe Sole for a two-yard tap in at the far post.
With Wanderers looking good value for their lead, a moment of clumsiness let Havant back into the game less than ten minutes later. Matt Tubbs was going nowhere as he looked to receive the ball in the penalty area, well wide of the goal, but Dorking keeper Slavomir Huk misjudged his challenge, and the forward went down. From the resulting spot kick, Huk went the wrong way but couldn't stop Jordan Rose’s kick that was planted low into the corner.
“It was a disappointing goal to concede, particularly at that point when we were in control of the game” said Wanderers’ boss Marc White. “Slav didn't really need to make the challenge and the player went down, as his manager would have wanted.”
Unbowed, Dorking continued to take the game to Havant and create chances. James McShane played a one-two on the edge of the box before squaring the ball to Taylor, but the midfielder’s shot sailed over the bar. Later, Sole split the defence with a superb through ball that was nicked off McShane’s foot as he was about to shoot from ten yards, with just the keeper to beat.
There was little surprise that Havant came out for the second half with renewed determination, but Marc White was disappointed by the way Dorking conceded just two minutes after the restart as Jordan Rose headed in unmarked at the far post. And, from a corner, Rose sealed the result on 62 minutes as he flicked a header into the far corner of the net, beyond the despairing dive of Huk.
“We dealt with Havant’s threat from open play really well for most of the game, so it was disappointing to concede two goals by switching off,” said White. “It gave us a big uphill task- but that’s the difference when we’re looking to compete with teams from a higher level and it’s something we’re going to work on as we continue to take this club forward to bigger and better levels.”
Even at 3-1 down, Dorking continued to look for a way back into the game. Taylor had a shot from a corner blocked on the line and Isaac Philpott planted a tantalising ball across the front of the goal, eluding the Havant defence - but also the Wanderers attack. Meanwhile, Luke Moore’s low 20 yard strike went just wide of the left hand post.
“We’ve given a team from the National League a very good game,” said White, “ but it's time to turn positive performances into results.” With a near-fully fit squad and ten games in December, the Dorking manager says he will know what his developing team is capable of by the new year.
Dorking Wanderers FC: Huk, Philpott, Summerfield (Beard 72), Boulter, Ray, Pearse (Beckles 72), Taylor, Briggs, Sole (Tolfrey 61), Moore, McShane
Unused Subs - Putman, Chendlik