Dorking Wanderers (0) 1 Bath City (1) 2 – Vanarama National League South – Saturday 5 December 2020 – Meadowbank
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Goals from Donovan Wilson and Tom Smith saw 10-man Bath City produce a shock win at high-flying Dorking Wanderers, in their first outing in front of supporters this season. Almost all of Meadowbank was stunned to silence as the Romans ended their six-game losing streak thanks to an excellent team performance, with Ryan Clarke producing a string of fine saves to keep the hosts at bay. In a dramatic finale, Isaac Philpott pulled one back for Dorking on 83 minutes, three minutes before Frankie Artus received his marching orders from the dugout as an unused substitute for time-wasting. Tom Mehew received a harsh second yellow in added time to join Artus in the changing rooms and Jake Gallagher thought he had netted a leveller from the resultant free-kick, but it was ruled out for handball.
Dorking could have put the game out of sight inside 20 minutes. Lethal marksman Jason Prior failed to fully connect from Nicky Wheeler’s left-wing cross when left unmarked, James McShane’s deft header from a Barry Fuller long throw was superbly clawed away by Clarke, and the same two Dorking men combined when Fuller unselfishly tried to square to the unmarked Scot, but his pass was behind him and Jack Batten was on hand to clear. A fortunate ricochet in midfield put Wes Fogden clean through but Grant Horton’s intervention put him off and meant he could only shoot straight at Clarke. Jimmy Muitt’s cross-shot was well tipped over by Clarke and an inspired block by Batten meant the City stopper wasn’t worked after Prior and McShane again linked up. The home side’s profligacy came back to haunt them on 35 minutes when City took the lead with their first shot on target. Mehew picked the ball up midway inside the Dorking half and his superb reverse ball saw Wilson spring the offside trap before calmly rolling home his fourth goal of the season. It silenced the crowd and knocked the stuffing out of the home side, who failed to build on their early threat.
McShane wasted an opening after the break when Muitt’s telling ball met him 10 yards out, but he guided his volley wide of Clarke’s right post. City looked dangerous on the break with Smith intercepting Fuller’s slack pass before his drive from 18 yards was parried to safety by Slavomir Huk. Dan Ball cleared Ed Harris’s header off the line before the Romans’ lead was doubled by a man making his 100th league outing for the club. Wilson this time turned provider as he linked up with Smith, who got into a similar position to his previous chance but this time he drilled it low and under Huk for his first goal in 15 games, a run stretching back to last February. Tommy Conway should have made the game safe when Wilson’s driving run saw him pull the ball back from the byline, but the young forward blazed off target from six yards. Bravery from Clarke kept City’s two-goal lead intact when he threw himself in front of Prior who couldn’t force Matt Briggs’ cross home, but from the ensuing corner substitute Philpot managed to nudge home from close range. In an attempt to waste time, unused substitute Artus deliberately sliced the ball away from the dugout and was astonishingly shown a red card by referee Jack Packman, denying him the possibility of appearing. City were reduced to 10 on the pitch in stoppage time. After Clarke had pulled off a sublime save from Kane Wills’ curler, Mehew’s attempt to charge down a corner saw the ball rebound off his arm and earn a harsh second caution. From the free-kick, Prior’s goalbound shot was intentionally handled in by Jake Gallagher and chalked off. Further blocks by the immense Horton and Batten prevented further nerves as the Romans picked up their first away league win since March and arguably the biggest confidence boost they could have wished for.
City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Taylor, Smith, Batten, Ball, Wilson, Harley, Conway, Dean, Horton, Mehew. Subs not used: Henry, Artus, James, Richards, Pope.
Scorers: City – Wilson (35), Smith (71); Dorking – Philpott (83)
City Bookings: Ball (39), Clarke (57), Mehew (66), Taylor (90)
City Dismissals: Artus (sub) (87), Mehew (90)
Referee: T Danaher, K Bailey, A Conn