County’s Knockout Interests A-Trophy, As Wanderers Stroll Through
The Hatters’ involvement in knockout competitions for the current season came to an end, after two goals in each half saw them deservedly beaten by Dorking Wanderers in an FA Trophy replay that earned the National League South club from Surrey a Third Round tie at home to AFC Fylde.
County took to the field under the Edgeley Park lights – and led out by captain Paul Turnbull, who was to make his 250th competitive appearance as a Hatter – showing two changes from the starting line-up for the original tie three days earlier. Tyler Garratt and Sam Walker were recalled to take the places of Festus Arthur and Elliot Osborne, while the seven-player bench once again included non-contract players from the club’s Academy.
Garratt turned out to be the rather unlikely executioner of the contest’s first attempt on goal. With just over a minute played, the left-back, from outside the box, fired a venomous shot that flew just shy of the right post.
Then, with four minutes on the clock, the visitors took an early lead. Matt Briggs’ recycled corner from the right was headed across goal from beyond the far post by stand-in skipper Giuseppe Sole to James McShane, who blasted home from close range.
Turnbull glanced a header narrowly over, and visiting goalkeeper Slavomir Huk had to stretch to catch a looping headed effort from Adam Thomas, as County strove to get back on level terms.
But the Wanderers remained comfortable on the ball – and around the mid-point of the half, their advantage was doubled, following a swift counter-attack that culminated in a deft chip by Niall McManus over Ben Hinchliffe and into the net.
County made an early change up front, bringing on Frank Mulhern for Nyal Bell just after the half-hour mark – and had the ball in the net on the stroke of half-time when Thomas headed home Turnbull’s free-kick from the left, only for Referee Ben Speedie to have blown up for a foul by Ash Palmer immediately beforehand.
HALF-TIME: County 0, Dorking 2 (McShane, 4; McManus, 22).
Leading scorer Osborne was introduced upon the resumption, in place of Walker, as the Hatters sought to pep up their attack. And for the first time in the evening, they enjoyed the greater shares of possession and opportunities – with Mulhern heading a Thomas cross from the right wide of the near upright, Dan Cowan – also on the right flank – forcing Huk to dive and smother a low delivery, Osborne drilling narrowly past the right post, and Huk saving with his legs from Thomas.
County almost fell victim to another Dorking break just ahead of the hour, but Garratt deflected Tom Richards’ shot over the crossbar after the visiting left-sided midfielder had been played through by McShane from the right.
Briggs effectively made the tie safe for Dorking with 22 minutes remaining, after he converted Luke Moore’s low cross from the right at close range for his side’s third. And he added a fourth four minutes later – slotting in on the rebound after Hinchliffe had kept out his initial shot.
FULL-TIME: County 0, Dorking 4 (McShane, 4; McManus, 22; Briggs, 68 and 72).
Team (4-2-3-1): Hinchliffe; Cowan, Palmer, Keane (Arthur, 74), Garratt; Turnbull (Capt.), Walker (Osborne, 46); Minihan, Thomas, Jackson; Bell (Mulhern, 33).
Unused Subs: Ormson, Czubik, Downing, Hopkins.
Booked: Turnbull, Garratt
Man of the Match: Thomas.
Attendance: 1,121 (22 away).
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.