Venue: Huish Park
Monday, 10th April, 3pm kick-off

Pitch: Maybe my green tinted glasses, but looking in good nick
Conditions: Sunny with a strong wind blowing towards the away end – until the second half when it tipped it down

Scorers: Josh Prior 73 (0-1)


Yeovil Town: Chiori Johnson 10, Charlie Cooper 27,
Dorking Wanderers: Joe Cook 14, Josh Taylor 64, George Francomb 86

Sendings off:

Yeovil Town: Chiori Johnson 45 (two bookable offences)

Referee: Elliott Swallow

Yeovil Town (5-2-3)

Andrew Oluwabori (for Scott Pollock, 46), Callum Harriott (for Jordan Maguire-Drew, 62), Jordan Young (for Jamie Reckord, 74) Ryan Law.

Dorking Wanderers: Lincoln, Francomb, Cook (for Taylor, 21), Moore, Gallagher (for Kuhl, 55), Craig, Taylor, Muitt, McShane (for Seager, 67), Bowerman, Prior. Substitutes: Fuller, Ottaway.

Match Report

In a game which was billed as “do or die” for Yeovil Town’s hopes of surviving in the National League, any hopes of avoiding playing in regional football next season were all but extinguished by a 1-0 home defeat to Dorking Wanderers.

The script was a cut and paste from so many other performances which have led us to this point with some strong attacking intent across both halves leading to very little to test the visitors’ keeper and when Chiori Johnson was sent off on the stroke of half-time for a mindless second booking, the writing appeared to be on the wall.

Even with ten men, Yeovil kept up the pressure going forward but it was just waiting for the sting in the tail which came when Jason Prior turned in a parry from Grant Smith to get what turned out to be the winner for Dorking.

Like so many other performances this season, there will be hard luck tale told about this one, but – like so many other performances this season – it just was not good enough.


First half

It was a high octane start from Yeovil who were playing towards the Thatcher’s End against a strong wind blowing towards the away end, but a couple of corners thanks largely to the non-stop Matt Worthington were all there was to show in the opening exchanges.

On 10 minutes, Chiori Johnson’s full-blooded tackle on Dorking striker James McShane drew a yellow card from referee Elliott Swallow and four minutes later Joe Cook went in for an equally feisty challenge on Owen Bevan.

The wind was causing some issues – both positively and negatively – for both sides which misplaced passes and overhit balls all over the place.

In terms of attacking intent, it was all from Yeovil for the opening 20 minutes but (yet again) they failed to force visiting keeper Dan Lincoln in to a meaningful save. Malachi Linton looked to get involved up front, Worthington was everywhere, but there was nothing which constituted a notable effort. Same as Good Friday at Aldershot.

Whatever it was, Dorking manager/chairman/owner Marc White did not like it and after 21 minutes he replaced Cook with Bobby Joe-Taylor; to say that the defender – who was on a yellow card – was unhappy with the decision would be an understatement.

On half-an-hour, good play by Worthington fed Reckord whose ball in to the box found Jordan Maguire-Drew in space on the edge of the box, he tried to check back on to his right foot and only ended up dragging an effort wide. Then four minutes later, Lincoln was finally called in to action with Worthington’s shot from distance which he looked at best uncomfortable about.

At the other end, a quick break after a poor through from Jamie Reckord saw Jimmy Muitt hit on the break and get a ball in to the box which Josh Staunton put out for a corner with Dorking players lurking inside the box.

But, with the game ticking in to injury time at the end of the first half, it was another self-made disaster which cost Yeovil. Johnson went in for a heavy tackle in front of the Main Stand and collected his second yellow card of the game. In fairness, he received some leniency from the referee to not see red for his first bookable offence, but his luck ran out.

There have been times this season where the luck has not gone Yeovil Town’s way, but in the all too familiar shortcomings up front and then a moment of madness from Johnson which cost them. An uphill battle in the second half.

Chiori Johnson walks after his first half red card.


Half time: Yeovil Town 0 Dorking Wanderers 0


Second half

The sending off meant a tactical change was required with Andrew Oluwabori coming on in place of Scott Pollock, with the formation returning to four at the back with Maguire-Drew and Oluwabori left and right respectively and Linton up front on his own.

Oluwabori was quickly in the action winning a free-kick with his first attack, from the ball in from Maguire-Drew and the substitute was there to poke the ball goalwards, only for it to be cleared off the line for a corner with 47 minutes gone.

On 51 minutes, a slip by a Dorking defender saw Miguel Freckleton surging forward down the left side – not the player you would have chosen to be that position – and the on loan Sheffield United defender’s shot was deflected aside for a corner. He’s not a striker, but another one of those ‘what if?’ moments for Yeovil.

Two minutes later, Luke Moore had two opportunities. The first was a bit of a scramble, but the second a good move from the right side saw the ball fall to Moore who dragged his shot wide.

Despite having a man advantage, it was Yeovil who had the better chances and none more so than on the hour mark when Linton burst down the left and drove in a shot which Lincoln turned aside – with Oluwabori screaming for the pass. Then on the opposite side Linton got the better of a mistake by George Francomb to burst in to the box but with no striker in the middle to pick out, he laid it back to Cooper who scooped an effort over.

Yeovil were certainly playing with some belief but – yes, I’m as sick of typing it as you are of reading it – still without that goal. Dorking were everything that Ben warned us about on the podcast – complete poophouses.

All that was waiting for this script was a sucker punch and it came on 73 minutes. Substitute Ryan Seager – yes, that one – did well to keep the ball alive on the right, found Moore on the edge of the box and his effort was parried by Grant Smith and Jason PRIOR was on hand to turn in the opener.

The entire Yeovil defence seemed more intent on calling for an offside decision against Prior which never came than trying to get to the ball ahead of him.

The deflation was palpable across Huish Park. You felt it in the crowd, you could see it in the Yeovil players and unsurprisingly Dorking had their tails up.

Nine minutes from time, a ball forward found Seager whose effort was turned aside by Smith and three minutes after that Seb Bowerman had an effort from the other side which Smith smothered.

There was still time for an appalling refereeing decision. No National League fixture is complete without one. Linton was shoved to the ground by Francomb with five minutes remaining, the defender was the only player between Mal and the goalkeeper and yet – despite being the dictionary definition of the last man – referee Swallow gave a yellow card.

The Easter period of games against our relegation rivals was supposed to be our opportunity to make a fight of National League survival – but we have managed one point from a possible nine.

It’s not just about those three games, it’s about so much more, but regional football in National League South is now seemingly an inevitability.

Full time: Yeovil Town 0 Dorking Wanderers 1

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Tony Jones
1 year ago

A wonderful report on our continuing tragedy.