First Half Errors Cost Youthful Chicks
Two first half defensive lapses cost Dorking the game against Staines Lammas, despite staging a strong second half display with an exceptionally youthful squad.
With little to compete for in the remaining games of the season, Dorking have kept their eyes fixed firmly the future and accelerated their development of talented young and local players, fielding no fewer than seven teenagers the starting line-up.
For nearly half an hour, the young Chicks matched their more experienced visitors. Louie Stanton-Cockle was combative, supported by Steve Harcombe and Will Hearn, while,Will Conroy was cultured at centre back alongside the ever-dependable Paul Gough.
Chances were scarce at either end, a scuffed shot from Andy Miller after good work on the right from Ryan Lunn the closest that Dorking came to breaking the deadlock. But there were warning signs that the Chicks would need to maintain their concentration to keep Staines Lammas at bay when, from a long throw, a free header by Jamie Pearce glanced just wide of the right hand post.
If that was something of a let off, Dorking paid the price for failing to close down their opponents on 29 minutes. After a spell of Staines pressure, the Chicks stood off in the box, allowing Lammas striker John Nunn the time and space to fire off a shot from ten yards, rattling the left upright before rebounding into the net and giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Undeterred, Dorking responded well - the Staines keeper was at full stretch to palm away a dangerous ball swung in by Stanton-Cockle, and Andy Miller turned well in the box but his goal bound shot was blocked.
The Chicks were showing an admirable determination to play out from the back, but were exposed on 40 minutes by a rare slack pass from the defence into midfield. Accepting the gift, the ball went straight to Staines' Tim Hayden on the right of the box and he slipped it low past the onrushing keeper Charlie McTigue for a 2-0 lead.
If the errors disrupted Dorking's fluency towards the end of the first half, they certainly put it behind them after the break, playing largely in the Staines Lammas half. But with a two-goal cushion, the visitors were able to sit back and proved difficult to break down - a header over the bar from a corner was the only real section half chance before the hour mark.
Gradually, the determined Dorking pressure began to open the game up, with Louie Stanton-Cockle impressively offering the most sustained attacking threat, alongside a battling Steve Harcombe. A cross field ball by Richard Webber from deep found Stanton-Cockle on the left and the former AFC Winbledon player cut inside before playing a delightful reverse ball to free up Darrell Mothee, but the second half substitute's shot was dragged just past the far post.
As the game wore on, 16 year old Haris Bouzida on his first senior start became more influential, and came close to providing a way back for the Chicks - a looped cross from the dead ball line left the Staines keeper stranded, but Harcombe's six-yard header was blocked on the line.
With just minutes to go Dorking went for broke, sending defenders to the forward line, but leaving vulnerabilities at the back. And so it was that Aaron Fraser stole the ball on the left and broke to unleash a fierce strike for Staines Lammas' third goal on 86 minutes, sealing an entertaining game in which the Chicks, despite the result, played their full part.
Dorking welcome South Park to Westhumble on Tuesday evening before playing their last home league game of the season this coming Saturday 18th March, when Farleigh Rovers will be the visitors, kicking off at 3pm.
Dorking FC: McTigue, Finn (Webber 60), Gough, Conroy, Wisbey (Mothee 63), Bouzida, Harcombe, Hearn, R Lunn, Stanton-Cockle, Miller (Torpey 45)
Subs not used - Turner, Herouvin