Ten Man Chicks Take the Points
Dorking combined stylish football with resilience as they earned a deserved win in the last home league game of the season, despite going down to ten men.
Starting with seven teenagers in the line-up, the Chicks showed that football in the town has a healthy future as they dominated the first half against more mature opponents, in a game both sides were keen to win to create distance from the lowest reaches of the league table.
Dorking threatened as early as the fifth minute when the captain Andy Miller, who led by example throughout the afternoon, cut out a ball in midfield before driving forward and playing in Jimmy Brazil, but the ball bobbled as the striker received it, taking him a little too wide, and the Farleigh defence had time to recover.
But the Chicks took the lead just a minute later as Louie Stanton-Cockle fed Ryan Lunn who, spotting the keeper off his line, lobbed him from distance, the ball bouncing once before nestling in the Farleigh net.
The goal led to a period of sustained Dorking pressure, albeit without much in the way of a goal scoring chance, so it was somewhat against the run of play that Farleigh found an equalizer on 16 minutes, as a free kick was floated into the box and Ross Malyon rose highest to power a header into the Chicks’ net.
The goal gave the visitors a lift, but assistant manager Simon Coffey instructed his young team just to keep playing the passing football that had been serving them well and, with Stanton-Cockle a marauding presence in midfield alongside battling performances by Miller and Brazil, the Chicks steadily resumed control.
A 20 yard low free kick by Miller broke through the wall to Brazil in the box. Brazil spun on the spot but couldn’t quite get the right connection on his shot and the Farleigh keeper saved.
The Dorking lead was restored just after the half-hour mark. From a corner, youth team defender Will Conroy executed an excellent high volley and, with the keeper beaten, the ball rattled the cross bar, and Steve Harcombe was first to the rebound to head home from three yards out.
For all the Chicks’ dominance, Farleigh looked dangerous from set pieces. So it was an ideal start to the second half as the ball broke fortuitously to Jimmy Brazil wide on the left and he took his time before threading it from a tight angle past the onrushing keeper, for a 3-1 lead on 47 minutes.
Frustration showed in the Farleigh players, and niggly fouls led to a scrappy period of play which probably suited the Chicks, although the visitors came close to pulling a goal back as Louis Blake scythed through the home defence too easily, and Dorking had keeper Charlie McTigue to thank for an excellent close range save.
With Dorking looking set to see out a comfortable win, the youthful team had its determination tested on 75 minutes when the referee showed a straight red card to centre back Matt Finn after going in for a 50-50 ball near the half way line. It was a decision that appeared to surprise managers in both dugouts, but Farleigh looked to take full advantage. With the Chicks still coming to terms with their numerical disadvantage, the visitors capitalised on a goal mouth scramble and forced the ball into the net to give themselves a lifeline with ten minutes still to play.
Dorking showed great maturity, defending resiliently and looking to slow the game down. Still, Farleigh had their chances. As the game moved into added time, a header flashed past the post, and McTigue palmed a shot onto the post before reacting fastest to pounce on the loose ball, but the ten men held on for a creditable win.
The Chicks travel to Balham on Saturday, before a home game against Dorking Wanderers Veterans in the Dorking Charity Cup on Sunday 26th March, kicking off at 11am at Westhumble.
Dorking FC: McTigue, Turner, Wisbey, Conroy, Finn, Harcombe, Miller, Hearn, R Lunn (Bouzida 70), Stanton-Cockle (Shaw 55), Brazil.
Subs not used - Webber, A Watts, Trower