Dorking Wanderers #17

Welcome back for the mid season update from the fifth season at Dorking.


LEAGUE ONE

October

We started the month with a draw against Peterborough before we had two weeks off in the league. Then, against Leyton Orient, our new midfield maestro Nile John scored both goals after assists from Richard Olise

We struggled against Bristol Rovers three days later until Harvey Vale scored a wondergoal in the second half. When we played Colchester on the road, I decided to drop Oakley Cannonier due to his lack of goals and give Manni Norkett a chance. 90 minutes later, he had scored two goals after two assists from Edwin Andersson

Fleetwood came to visit and grabbed an early lead which they held till half-time. After a water bottle flew across our dressing room, the lads geared it up a notch. First, George Nunn tied the game before Nohan Kenneh scored after a corner. In the 92nd minute, Andersson secured the win with a cheeky chip from outside the box – might have to call him Cantona after that one.

Edwin “Cantona” Andersson was well deserved named as the young player of the month for October.

November

The month started with a comfortable win against Bolton after Cannonier scored his third hattrick for the season. 

Four days later, away to Portsmouth, he scored again to win us three points again. Great start to the month for Cannonier after zero goals in October. 

When we played Lincoln away, Cannonier needed four minutes to score his fifth for the month. Matt Craig got his first for the season before they got a late goal back in the second half. 

The Shrewsbury game was one we should’ve won, but we wasted our chances throughout the whole game. Finally, “Cantona” Andersson scored to tie the game and secure the point. 

Our former captain Aaron Skinner came to visit with his new club Huddersfield and helped tighten the defence for the visitors. They scored first, but Nile John equalized just three minutes after. A fair result between two of the best defences in the league. 

Against MK DonsNorkett scored his third in the league after Cannonier found him in front of goal. The win secures another three points and the third unbeaten month in the league in a row.

Oakley Cannonier was awarded both player and young player of the month. In addition, I won the first manager of the month award since March 2024.

December

We struggled for a long time against Preston, but in the last ten minutes, Ryan Alebiosu proved his worth. First, he found Cannonier to make in 1-0 before scoring the winner himself minutes later.

The game against Sheff Wed is one I’ve been looking forward to and wanted to win after Dominic Rogerson joined them. Vale gave us the lead after 11 minutes before the home team took over. Marcus Dewhurst did a great job to keep us in the game, but after 80 minutes, he had to give in. 1-1 and a man of the match award for Dewhurst. Maybe the grass wasn’t so green after all, Dom…

Everything clicked when we travelled to PlymouthVale and Mike Craig scored in the first half. Then, in the second half, Andersson scored a brace and three more points in the bag for us. 

In the second game against MK Dons in under a month, we dominated totally. The opposition had zero shots. However, we didn’t manage to score on our chances – until Cannonier saved us again. 

Cannonier scored again against Wycombe, but that wasn’t enough to get us the win this time. Of course, a late equalizer is always brutal to swallow, but that’s football. 

Peterborough scored after two minutes to take the lead, but Kenneh tied the game nine minutes later. Ten minutes later, “Cantona” found Cannonier, who made no mistake when he got the chance to turn the game around. Daniel Gore got his first goal contribution in the second half since his great August month, when he increased the lead to 3-1. In the 82nd minute Christon Stephen, our Grenadian international, scored his first goal. 

Almost the same scenario played out against Preston. They scored after three minutes before John tied after twelve. Khephren Plumain gave us the lead seven minutes later, with his first goal in his first league start for us. John scored again before half-time, and we had a comfortable lead before the second half. Vale scored three minutes into the half and killed the game. A late goal for the home team didn’t change anything. 

Oakley Cannonier got his third young player of the month award this season and secured our fifth out of five possible so far. Another manager of the month award and four consecutive months unbeaten. Wow. 

January

As always there is transfer activity in January. I decided to do ours early and signed Luke Badley-Morgan from Chelsea for £44.5K. It’s a potential coup for us there, and it’s great to get another left-footed defender in. 

With the Papa John’s Trophy being over for us for the season, several youngsters were loaned out to gain experience. Several of them are valuable squad members, but they need more games to improve. It may be a little risky to loan out so many first team members, but they haven’t played much so far. 

The most considerable risk is maybe loaning out our backup goalkeeper, but Mncube can take place on the bench for the rest of the season. 

  • Sadok Salhi – Dover
  • Harvey Grand – Gloucester
  • Tyler Fredricson – Northampton
  • Jeff Oakes – Chesterfield
  • Aaron Lee – Barnet
  • Eric Vogel – Dag & Red
  • Ellis Fowler – Chorley
  • Jeff Edwards – York
  • Aaron Maguire – Haringey
  • David Ozoh – Harrogate

We started the year with a decisive win against Bristol Rovers after Kenneh, Rhys Bennet and “Cantona” goals.

It was way harder against Leyton Orient when neither of us scored until they got awarded a penalty in the 87th minute. Then, of course, we didn’t give up and was awarded a penalty in the 94th minute. Who else is cool enough to take that, then “Cantona”? 1-1.

Colchester was a weird game. They took the lead early before Matt Craig, and Cannonier turned it around in the last 15 minutes for the first half. We won the xG stats 4.87 vs 0.24, so our strikers aren’t always as effective as we think they are. 

On the road against Fleetwood, John and “Cantona” goals won us the game.

Our Talisman, “Cantona”, continued his excellent form with a first-half brace and an assist to CannonierLucas Smith scored his first for the club in the second half, and it was game set and match after that. 


February


Before the Swindon game, both Vale and “Cantona” got injured in training and was out for three weeks. 

After 0-0 at halftime, we took the lead when Olly Allen found Norkett. After that, it was just too hard without the two players mentioned above and John. Our first loss in the league in 28 matches. 

Away to Burton Cannonier was disallowed after 2 minutes, which sums our game up. They scored two goals on the two shots on target, while we needed 16 shots to score. The man of the match was Kieran O’Hara, their goalkeeper. One of those days, I guess. 

In our first televised match in the league this year, we met Morecambe, and in front of a packed Dorking Stadium, we decided to put on a show. Cannonier scored a first-half hattrick in 28 minutes before Norkett made it 4-0 before the break. In the second half, we slowed down but got another goal when Matt Craig converted a penalty.

We played Bolton in the last match in February. We gave away a penalty which they converted before Norkett equalized. In the second half, they scored again before Norkett tied the game. However, this time he was disallowed—our third loss in four games this month. We need to turn this form around quickly. 

Oakley Cannonier won his fourth young player of the month award for the season. 

Even with a bad month like this, we’re still comfortable at the top of the league. Eleven more games with decent form, and we can make it to the Championship!



CUPS

Papa John’s Trophy

Jeff Edwards gave us the lead against Arsenal U23s, but it only took 11 minutes for them to turn it around. It’s hard for our reserves to compete against players like Mario Hermoso and Matteo Guendouzi.

Against Colchester, we got our first ever win in the tournament. A brace from Edwards in the first half and Norkett in the second half, in addition to Nunn and Fredricsons goals, actually sent us through on goal difference. 

Against Chelsea U23s, a goal from Allen sent the game to penalties. We had no chance against Kepa and eventually lost after saving two of our penalties. 



FA CUP

After four minutes, Bromley took a surprising lead and held on until the break. Then, in the second half, a brace from Norkett made sure we made it through.

A brace from Cannonier and a late goal from Gore sent us through away to Plymouth.

West Ham at Dorking Stadium is something we just could dream of a couple of seasons ago. Now we gave them a severe run for their money and held on for 70 minutes before Kurt Zouma scored the winner. 



Academy

Since the last update, we appointed a new head of youth development at the Westhumble Academy. The dane Alexander Riget comes in with great experience after four years in the same role at the famed FC Nordsjaelland academy. In his time there, they sold players to Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Dortmund, to name a few.


We don’t have a golden generation on our hands regarding this year’s intake, but it’s still classified as an excellent intake with three positions graded at A. It will be exciting to see if Riget and the upgrade to youth training and recruitment will immediately effect.


/ FM Veteran


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