|Dorking Wanderers 1 v 2 Rochdale|
Saturday, 23rd September 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Dorking vs Rochdale
Thursday, 21st Sep 2023 16:48 by AtThePeake
From Meadow Park to Meadowbank, Dale head to Dorking this weekend to face a club that have enjoyed a meteoric rise to the National League in recent seasons.
- Dorking Wanderers vs Rochdale
Tuesday night's trip to Boreham Wood felt more like the National League we were told to expect with a very physical side making it difficult for Dale to imprint their gameplan and in the end, a battling performance was worthy of a point for Jim McNulty's charges in Hertfordshire.
While Dale enjoyed much of the ball in the first-half, scoring not long after the break, the Wood's immediate equaliser seemed to take the wind out of the team's sails. From there on in, the hosts had the better of the game and perhaps had the chances to win in the latter stages.
Dale continued to possess a threat on the counter attack though, with one chance falling to Jimmy Keohane in the second half but being blazed over the bar. This is an area where the team have struggled in recent years, but after creating this chance and after scoring a couple of Saturday's goals in the win over Barnet in this manner, it's encouraging to see.
Given that the side seemed to tire in the latter stages on Tuesday, Jim McNulty may need to rotate his team a little for this Saturday fixture ahead of the visit of league leaders Chesterfield to Spotland on Tuesday night, but with Devante Rodney on the treatment table, attacking options are at a premium for the boss.
Max Conway, Kwaku Oduroh, Ian Henderson, Kyle Ferguson and Tommy McDermott are among those players that have started on the bench over the last few weeks and they'll all be hoping to be given an opportunity to shine on Saturday.
The Dorking Wanderers story is a remarkable one, with the club rising from their humble beginnings in Division 5 of the Crawley & District Football League back in 1999 right through to the National League, where they find themselves today.
To put that rise in context, that represents a remarkable 12 promotions in 23 seasons and the latter stages of that story have been covered extensively by the YouTube channel 'A Bunch of Amateurs' through their documentary series: "Dorking Uncovered".
And to add another remarkable element to the story, the club's rise has been overseen largely by one man. Marc White, founder, chairman and still the club's only manager to date has been at the helm throughout their unstoppable rise to this level.
Despite being one of the few clubs that remain in a hybrid semi-professional status, Dorking managed to defy the odds to finish in a highly respectable 16th place in their first season in the fifth tier and 10 games into this season they look set to improve on that finish as they sit in 12th place in the table.
Dorks come into Saturday's game in a strong vein of form too, with their midweek home win over Wealdstone extending their unbeaten run to four games, a run that included a goalless draw at Boundary Park against Oldham Athletic and a victory at the Shay against a Halifax outfit that overcame Dale at Spotland the week prior.
The squad possesses a few names recognisable to Dale fans. The likes of Tony Craig, George Francomb and Jason Prior have racked up the appearances in the EFL over long and fruitful careers and the latter of those three is surely the man to watch this weekend, with five goals in nine games so far this season.
Despite being in existence since 1953, Meadowbank is a completely modern ground, having been re-opened as the Surrey FA's headquarters in 2018 and allowing Dorking Wanderers to start playing at the ground following the folding of the previous tenants, Dorking FC.
Despite being of small size, the facilities at Meadowbank are reportedly excellent. The dugouts are situated at the North End of the ground which is mostly flat standing, opposite the modern-looking Main Stand which houses 250 supporters. In 2020, two stands were erected at the East End, holding over 900 supporters in a mixture of seats and terracing.
The away end is opposite this and is mostly flat standing room behind the goals. There are some seats made available to away fans on a first come first serve basis. Meadowbank is only a short walk from Dorking centre, where there are several pubs and eateries, but the ground itself also has a popular Fan Zone and a lounge bar.
In terms of car parking, the car park at the ground is for players and officials only, but there is a car park next to the ground at St Martin's Walk. If you're travelling by train, the ground is approximately 10 minutes walk from all three of Dorking's stations (Dorking Main, Dorking Deepdene and Dorking West).
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the first ever meeting between Dorking and Rochdale.
Photo: Action Images
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