Dorking Wanderers 0-1 Tonbridge Angels
Bostik League Premier Division - Saturday 1st December 2018
By Luke Hammond
A winner deep into injury time saw Tonbridge Angels snatch victory in a cagey top-of-the-table game at Meadowbank, where a flare in the corner of the ground proved one of the few bright sparks.
After 93 minutes in which the two teams had largely cancelled each other out, a floated corner was diverted back towards the far post with a clever volley by Tonbridge centre back Sonny Miles, and Dorking keeper Slavomir Huk, under extreme pressure, could only parry the ball into the top corner of the Wanderers’ net.
The Angels’ defence, particularly the centre back pairing of Sonny Miles and Thomas Parkinson, had kept Dorking distant for long periods of the game.
Miles was also involved in the second minute as Tonbridge made a fast start intercepting the ball and chipping it into the path of the influential Alex Read, whose left-footed shot was swiftly shut down by Huk.
After a few quick attempts on goal at either end, both teams then struggled to maintain possession in the middle of the park, with the defences proving hard to break down.
The dynamic changed in the 22nd minute when Joe Turner, who was involved in the majority of Angels’ attacks, played a quick one-two, scraping the left touchline and emerging with the ball for a sweetly struck curled shot which flew past the keeper’s left hand post. Then, with half an hour gone, a cross from the right dropped at the feet of Turner whose snapshot was blocked and diverted toward the left hand corner - a scampering Huk reacting superbly to push the ball away and stop a near-certain goal.
For Dorking, a succession of aerial threats saw Jason Prior put pressure on the Tonbridge back line and the Wanderers marksman came close to claiming the lead on 27 minutes, with a looped header at the far post scraping the bar.
The second half started with greater intensity and substitute Guiseppe Sole proved particularly effective with his runs opening up spaces in the Tonbridge midfield. Just before the hour, it was Sole who created Dorking’s best chance of the game, floating an inviting ball into the box from the left. It landed at the feet of Prior who connected well but, with his shot heading towards the right-hand corner, Angels keeper Jonathan Henly got down well and used his feet to divert the ball back into traffic, where it was eventually cleared by the spirited Tonbridge defence.
An off-field squabble around a throw in led to a disjointed final twenty minutes and the game seemed destined for stalemate until Miles’ moment of inspiration saw Tonbridge avenge their FA Trophy defeat by Dorking the previous month.
Dorking now face back-to-back away fixtures in the Bostik Premier Division before returning to Meadowbank on Saturday 29th December for the visit of Leatherhead in the first-ever Mole Valley derby at the new stadium.
Dorking Wanderers: Huk, Philpot, Boulter, Dyett, Taylor, McManus, Beard, Hall (O’Sullivan 90), Prior, Tolfrey (Sole 55), McShane
Unused subs – El-Abd, Sheridan, Beckles