Dorking Wanderers #4

The season starts, and it starts well. As I wrote in the last post, there were some doubts about the tactics and formation going into pre-season. I decided to go with a hybrid of attacking play and possession play, as I want a lot of crosses to get the best out of Jason Prior. As formerly mentioned, it was identified early on that two of the key players to success is Bobby-Joe Taylor and Jason Prior, and if we can get that link to work, the goals will come from Prior.

We’re on to something right if we look at the pre-season matches isolated, with 35-6 in goal difference in six games the goals were flowing. Jason Prior scored seven of those, with Bobby-Joe Taylor chipping in with four assists and two goals.

Before the first league game of the season, the big question was how we would fare against better opposition, especially considering the lack of both quality and depth in the heart of the defence. We scored many goals and averaged 2,875 goals per game in the first two months of the season. At the same time, we rarely managed to keep a clean sheet.
Prior and McShane is our main attackers, and both of them started the season well. Prior had excessive numbers with ten goals in 7 games, and to state his importance in the team, he scored four goals against Braintree and set a new club record for most goals in a game. The only loss we had came when we had two games in three days, and several players had to be rested, including Prior. We still outshot them with 20-4 in shots and had far higher xG than Hungerford. It was just one of those days, I guess.

September gave us three decisive wins in the league, our first-ever clean sheet, and we advanced to the next round of the FA Cup. I also got my first ever manager of the month in September, and it sure is good to start making a name for myself.

Hard to disagree with Hilton here!

The defence was screaming for reinforcements, and at this level, we need to look at players out of contract that want to come to play part-time football.
Luckily we don’t have to wait till January, as part-time football can sign players through the season. So as soon as the calendar showed September, we were ready to hunt for bargains(or anyone that ever played centre back before..)
We scouted many players, and we had several on trial before landing on two young centre-backs coming from academies from the bigger clubs in London. Josh Okotcha and Aaron Skinner comes in and strengthen the squad immediately. At the same time, they are two very different types of defenders. Were Okotcha is a big lad with is 189 cm Skinner is just 174, but he’s decent in the air and has good jumping reach. I get some Fabio Cannavaro vibes coming from Skinner.

It was also clear that the squad needed another goalkeeper to compete with Nelson. Nelson is 40 years old, and even if he still can do a job, he won’t be any better in the future. With only Slavomir Huk, who’s not good enough for this level, as backup, someone needed to come in. Huk is a club icon, and it’s always sad to see icons struggling to compete.
We also had several goalkeepers on our list, and most of them signed for other clubs. Finally, after a bit of back and forth, we managed to sign Dominic Rogerson, who impressed on trial.

These signings make it easier to progress in the season and hopefully prevent a few headaches along the way. Regarding backroom staff, I didn’t do anything huge this far. Considering we want to get promoted and go full-time, that’s better timing for revamping the staff. The only ones coming in are in positions that have not yet been filled.
All in all, it has been a great start to the season and an excellent foundation to build on.


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