Dorking Wanderers 3 Chichester City 1

Saturday 27th October 2012
Dorking Wanderers 3 Chichester City 1
Sussex County League Division One
At: West Humble Playing Field
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £6; Programme: £1 (44 pages)
Weather: cold, showers
Attendance: 35
Duration: first-half: 45:36; second-half: 45:49

Founded as recently as 1999, Dorking Wanderers were initially members of the Crawley & District League and West Sussex League so weren’t on my radar during those early years prior to our move away from the South East. So, during the 11 years since we headed up to the Midlands, they have made great strides both on and off the field to progress into the top division of the Sussex County League. Today they recorded a fine 3-1 victory over Chichester City on a cold and rainy afternoon despite playing the last half-hour with ten men after goalkeeper Paul Williams was sent off for handling outside his area.

The promotion of Dorking Wanderers during the summer had meant I was one ground short of visiting all of the grounds in Sussex County League Division One (see list at the end). Travelling by train, I took the hourly London Victoria to Horsham service (departed 12.31) via Sutton and Leatherhead, alighting at Box Hill & Westhumble station (arrived 13.21) and continued on foot past the Stepping Stones pub currently undergoing refurbishment prior to a ‘grand reopening’ in a few weeks time, and along the A24 towards Dorking. A drive led from the northbound carriageway of the A24 to the ground’s entrance. Arriving very early due to train times, I was greeted by a club official who went out of his way to get me a programme and spent time in the relative warmth of the clubhouse.

All of the ground’s facilities are either behind the near goal or along the far touchline closest to the railway. Looking at the photos which Laurence and Mishi took on their visit 10 months ago, a new stand has been erected containing 50 seats as well as new area of covered standing in front of the clubhouse. Dugouts have been relocated from the railway side to the far side and floodlights installed as well. At the moment spectators only have access to two sides of the ground.

I mentioned recently, in conjunction with my visit to Holbrook St Michaels, that I like seeing the home side’s history printed in the programme.

Dorking’s programme (Programme Monthly’s Sussex County League Division Two Programme of the Year 2011/12) didn’t disappoint and I read that Wanderers moved to the West Humble Playing Field around 2007 and joined the Sussex County League for the 2007/08 season. The past two seasons have seen the club rise from Division Three to Division One with back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012.

One thing the editor wrote jogged my memory of recent events during the summer I’d sketchily read about. Both Dorking (to gain promotion to Division One) and Chichester (to avoid relegation) successfully appealed to the FA at Wembley as part of the controversy surrounding the expansion of the top Sussex County League division to 22 clubs. So today’s game could have been a Division Two clash had things turned out differently.

Dorking’s rookie season in Division One has been them so far pick up 13 points from 11 games and stood in 17th position. After bottom last season, Chichester (20th with 9 points from 15 games) haven’t found things easy in 2012/13 either with just two league wins.

With a northerly wind blowing and rain falling diagonally, Chichester (in white and green) got the game underway attacking the northern end into the elements – right to left in relation to my seat in the stand, which provided a great view of Box Hill all afternoon!

A spectator’s umbrella became the first casualty of the game, rendered useless by a severe gust of wind!

Dorking took just four minutes to take the lead. Jake Hill indirect free-kick, delivered from near the left bye-line, fell perfectly for Rob Osgood to fire home.

Impressed with the start his side had made, one Dorking defender told his teammates to “keep the work rate up,” and they did just that. Glenn Boosey forced a diving save out of Chichester goalkeeper Matt Evans, during a period around the quarter-hour mark when the wind briefly eased and small patches of blue sky started to emerge.

Evans produced a great save in the 24th minute to push a rising 35-yard free-kick against the right-hand post.

While the visitors were creating the odd scoring opportunity, the wind continued to aid Dorking as they pressed for a second goal. Twice Sean Finlay fired against the legs of Evans who later tipped over a header from Boosey.

Chatting to a spectator at the interval, we wondered if Dorking’s one-goal advantage would be sufficient bearing in mind that Chichester would be attacking with the wind during the second half.

To the shouts from the touchline of “C’mon Chi,” the visitors almost equalised five minutes after the restart. Jack Blatchford fed Dom Taylor who saw a rising 30-yard shot tipped on to the bar by Paul Williams, who up to this point had had little to do.

Dorking doubled their lead in the 56th minute. Boosey robbed defender Julian Boniface, got into the area and beat Evans with a deft lob.

The goal proved crucial as Dorking’s hopes looked to have taken a massive blow just after the hour mark when goalkeeper Paul Williams was sent off for handling outside his area, an offence spotted by the nearby assistant. I couldn’t tell if a clear goalscoring opportunity was denied or not. Defender Shane Duffell went in goal and a reshuffle of the nine remaining outfield players resulted in Boosey being substituted. At least the wind had eased and Wanderers had a valuable two-goal cushion to protect.

Goalkeepers handling outside their area has become a hot topic in recent games I’ve seen. Just 11 days ago Heath Hayes’ Adam Lane was sent off for the offence while at Coles Lane on Monday, Rainworth’s Joe McCormack escaped with just one booking even though he twice handed outside his area against Romulus.

Dorking’s two-goal cushion became a one-goal cushion in the 72nd minute. Blatchford delivered a free-kick into the area where Boniface sent a glancing header past Duffell.

Chichester really needed to test the Duffell but the Dorking defence protected their seemingly nervy goalkeeper. Blatchford resorted to a long range shot which flew past the right-hand post.

“At least five minutes,” said the referee to someone in the crowd who enquired how long remained. Whether he followed Dorking or Chichester, I don’t know.

Dorking made good use of the remaining minutes. They put outcome beyond doubt with a third goal scored in the 86th minute by Chris Williams who sent a right-foot shot into the bottom-left corner from 15 yards out. They then won a late corner and kept the ball to themselves to wind down the cock. Boniface gave away a free-kick and picked up a booking moments before the referee blew the final whistle.

I made my way back alongside the A24 and left into Westhumble Street to the station in time to catch the 17.26 train back to London, feeling satisfied to have once again visited all of the grounds in Sussex County League Division One.

"Nowhere in England is richer foliage, or wilder downs and fresher woodlands” George Meredith (1829-1909). Sign spotted at Box Hill & Westhumble station welcoming visitors to the Surrey Hills.

Good day out!

Dorking Wanderers (blue and black stripes / black / black): 1. Paul Williams, 2. Dave Suchy, 3. Sean Smart, 4. Duncan Fraser, 5. Shane Duffell, 6. Jake Hill (capt), 7. Bobby Hooper, 8. Rob Osgood, 9. Glenn Boosey, 10. Chris Williams, 11. Sean Finlay. Subs: 12. Jack Lyons (for Boosey, 64), 14. Martin Marritt (for Osgood, ht), 15. Kevin Bassika (not used), 16. Jamal Okai (not used).

Chichester City (white/green/green): 1. Matt Evans, 2. Dave Knight, 3. Tom Bigwood, 4. Peter Hibbert, 15. Julian Boniface, 6. Dan Smith, 7. Jack Blatchford, 8. James Parsons, 9. Pat Busquets, 10. Dom Taylor, 11. Perry Northeast (capt). Subs: 12. Rob Madden (for Parsons, 55), 14. Oliver Lambert (for Northeast, 72).

Referee: Darren Eaton.
Assistants: Alexander Hall and Anthony Scott.

1-0 Rob Osgood (4)
2-0 Glenn Boosey (56)
2-1 Julian Boniface (72)
3-1 Chris Williams (87)

Dorking: Paul Williams (RC, 62)
Chichester: Julian Boniface (YC, 90+1)

Visits to Sussex County League Division One grounds
AFC Uckfield (as Wealden) – 4/9/99 v St Francis (Sussex County League Division 3)
Arundel – 22/2/92 v Hailsham Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Chichester City – 3/10/92 v Cray Wanderers (FA Vase Preliminary Round)
Crowborough Athletic – 17/8/94 v Oakwood (Sussex County League Division 1)
Dorking Wanderers – 27/10/12 v Chichester City (Sussex County League Division 1)
East Grinstead Town – 4/10/91 v Midhurst & Easebourne (Sussex County League Division 2)
East Preston – 27/12/93 v Lindfield (Sussex County League Division 3)
Hailsham Town – 26/1/91 v Arundel (Sussex County League Division 1)
Hassocks – 3/12/94 v Mile Oak (Sussex County League Division 2)
Horsham YMCA – 7/12/91 v Stamco (Sussex County League Division 2)
Lancing – 19/4/90 v Hailsham Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Lingfield – 13/4/98 v Franklands Village (Sussex County League Division 3)
Pagham – 28/11/90 v Hastings Town (Sussex Floodlight Cup)
Peacehaven & Telscombe – 18/8/90 v Three Bridges (Sussex County League Division 1)
Redhill – 30/4/90 v Littlehampton Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Ringmer – 12/10/90 v Eastbourne Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Rye United – 28/3/98 v Thames Poly (Kent County League Premier Division)
St Francis Rangers – 26/8/96 v Haywards Heath Town (Sussex County League Division 3)
Selsey – 9/3/94 v Steyning Town (Sussex County League Division 2)
Shoreham – 2/8/90 v Crawley Town (Pre-Season Friendly)
Sidley United – 14/1/95 v Chichester City (Sussex County League Division 2)
Worthing United – 9/10/93 v Mile Oak (Sussex County League Division 2)