Late Goals Deny Dominant Dorking
Dorking were left wondering how they lost after taking the lead in a second half they dominated.
In a thoroughly entertaining game and one of their most attractive performances of the season, the Chicks attacked swiftly and impressively, passing the ball through midfield to create numerous chances, so that they would have been disappointed with a draw – but somehow two late strikes by promotion-chasing Bagshot gave the visitors the most unlikely of victories.
The early signs gave little indication of the drama to come as fourth placed Bagshot had the early running and went ahead on 8 minutes after a mix up at the back saw the ball squirm from Charlie McTigue’s grasp, leaving Charlie Gordon with a simple task to pick up the loose ball and put it into an unguarded net.
But the young Chicks have been showing great belief and character under the new leadership of Steve Lunn and Simon Coffey, and they steadily worked themselves back into the game with Will Hearn and Steve Harcombe looking busy in midfield, and Louie Stanton-Cockle particulalrly impressive as he spread the ball around to launch attacks.
And eye-catching combination between Ryan Lunn, the returning Brandon Watts and Hearn opened up the Bagshot defence on the half hour, but Hearn just failed to get a foot on the ball as he broke into the box to receive Lunn’s pass.
The equaliser duly arrived just four minutes later. Paul Gough collected the ball from a throw in on the left and, from distance, lopped it over the Bagshot defence and into the far corner of the net.
The Chicks almost went ahead just before half time. Great work by Stanton-Cockle and James Herouvi on the left set up a goalmouth scramble, but Bagshot blocked three close shots in quick succession – although there was a suspicion of handball in the box by the defence before the ball was finally cleared.
If the first half had been closely contested, it was Dorking who made by far the brightest start after the break, with Steve Harcombe in particular driving forward from midfield and a goal bound James Herouvin free kick from the edge of the box, deflected behind for a corner.
The Chicks were rewarded on 56 minutes when confusion between Bagshot’s keeper and defence left the ball free for Stanton-Cockle to poke into the net for a 2-1 Dorking lead.
The advantage lasted a mere five minutes, when Jordan Merriman was givena little too much time to turn in the box and fired the ball high into the Dorking net to bring Bagshot back level.
Undeterred, the Chicks continued to press and, in the move of the match, a superb Ryan Lunn ball set Stanton-Cockle free who, with a defender and keeper to beat, elected to hold the ball up and unselfishly square it for Stuart Russell, arriving unchallenged on the left, but the second half substitute’s shot took the slightest of deflections on to the crossbar.
Frustrated by the Dorking pressure, Merriman saw red after hitting out at Luke Longhurst, and the Chicks looked likely to make their man advantage count as they mounted wave-after-wave of attacks – the best chance coming after Hearne cut the ball back to Russell, whose shot from ten yards was sliced wide.
Unable to make the most of their dominance, Dorking were made to pay five minutes from the end when, completely against the run of pay, a Bagshot free kick from wide left glanced off the head of Sam Hanger and into the net to give the visitors an improbable lead. And the scoreline was made all the more flattering in stoppage time when Tony Kavanagh found himself unmarked on the edge of the Dorking box with time to strike an excellent shot into the top corner of the net.
Even a draw would have been harsh on Dorking, which made the final score all the more suprising for players and supporters alike. But, in a game that was full of entertainment value, Steve Lunn and Simon Coffey will have taken great encouragement from the performance and style of play shown by their young team, and can look forward to the last six games of the season.
Dorking are back home at Westhumble again on Saturday 11th March for the visit of Staines Lammas, before another home game on Tuesday 14th against South Park Reserves
Dorking FC: McTigue, B Watts, Mothee (Russell 60), Conroy, Gough, Harcombe, R Lunn (Bouzida 87), Hearn, Herouvin, Stanton-Cockle, Longhurst (Webber 71)
Subs not used – Finn, Wisbey