2 - 1
Hayes Lane, Tue 24th Oct
Andy Woodman’s soaring Ravens swooped in on Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday night, with the Surrey side without a win in their last three games, including a disappointing 2-0 loss to nearby rivals Horsham, who currently operate in the Isthmian Premier Division. The Ravens strode into the fixture hoping to extend their home unbeaten run in the league to eight games, raring to go off the back of an all-important 3-1 win against Oxford City.
Ben Krauhaus kick-started the game, and the first chance of the evening fell to the visitors – a defensive error gifted a golden opportunity for Thomas Blair to slot cooly past Grant Smith, and the number 29 did not disappoint, rolling past the Bromley number one for his first goal of the season.
Bes Topalloj was quick to retort – after showing admirable determination by winning possession in his own half, the fullback steamed forward, jinking past the men in orange, before unleashing a rocket that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Lewis Leigh continued in that same vein of attack, firing goal-bound from outside the box, and winning his side a corner. Leigh swung a looping ball in, arrowed perfectly towards the head of Charlton loanee Deji Elerewe, whose bullet-header cascaded past the outstretched gloves of a defenceless Harrison Male, the perfect re-introduction for the centre back’s second game back in BR2.
Blair came close to notching his second of the game, after a tidy pass from Dorking captain Luke Moore allowed him to cut inside onto his left foot, and arc a shot towards the top right hand corner; a deflection changed the trajectory of his effort.
Dynamic dribbling from Corey Whitely 35 minutes in provided the Ravens with an opportunity to edge ahead from a close range free-kick. Michael Cheek and Leigh stood over the ball, with the latter’s effort narrowly evading Male’s net. It was Cheek’s turn to shoot seconds later, and the prolific number nine powerfully projected an effort goalbound; the Dorking number one stood firm to deny Cheek his eighth of the season, with the goalkeeper continuing his impressive display of shot-stopping under the lights.
Leigh came close again on the stroke of half time, after a looping free kick caught out Male between the sticks; the number four’s teasing effort grazed the post. Dorking thought they’d gone ahead at the other end moments later, an exquisite Passley block the only thing preventing Marc White’s men from leading going into the break.
The second half commenced, and the hosts were quick to threaten once more; a catalogue of impressing saves from Male allowed the Wanderers to repel any danger.
Much like the start of the first half, the visitors commanded possession, but their cohesiveness was disturbed by a short break in play following a late challenge from Whitely that resulted in a yellow card for the number 18.
Marc White opted for the bench early on in the half, with Bobby Joe-Taylor replacing goalscorer Blair. Andy Woodman followed suit, introducing Louis Dennis and Sam Woods into proceedings, in place of Leigh and Olomola.
Luscious link-up play between Dennis and Whitely 60 minutes in carved out an intricate chance, culminating in the latter calling Male into action; the number one proved impenetrable once again.
Krauhaus exhibited his excellence on 70 minutes, accelerating forward before slipping in substitute Woods; the number six’s lofted cross agonisingly avoided the head of Whitely at the back post.
An outside-of-the-boot ball from Dennis picked out Cheek inside the Dorking box, but Dan Gallagher glided across the turf to squash any danger. The Wanderers number 20 thought he’d given away a penalty moments later; the referee opted for a free-kick just outside the box, which was eventually deflected behind for a corner by the orange wall.
It looked as if the points would be shared as we approached the final whistle – that was until Bromley virtuoso Whitely picked up the ball on the edge of the box, unleashing a fiery effort past a despairing Male to snatch all three points for the Ravens in a dramatic denouement, sending the Wanderers back to Surrey empty handed.
The referee’s final whistle confirmed all three points for the Ravens, boosting them up to third place in the National League, whilst Dorking extend their winless streak to four games, rooted 17th in the table. Up next, we travel to Woking on Saturday.