OPPOSITION FOCUS: DORKING WANDERERS

11 Jan 2024 | Latest News

The Silkmen take a break from league action this weekend as we continue our FA Trophy journey with Dorking Wanderers travelling to SK11.

Alex Bruce’s side knocked out National League North Curzon Ashton in the last round thanks to goals from Luke Duffy and Alex Curran against his former side.

We take a closer look at our opponents this time around in Dorking who make the long journey from Surrey.

HISTORY 

The club was formed in 1999 by businessman Marc White and friends Peter Buckland, Mark Lewington, Ian Davidson, Lee Spickett and Penny Gregg. White described at the time of the formation of the club he and his friends were a season ticket holders at Wimbledon and had become disillusioned with how the club was being run coming to the end of its Premier League tenure. The group decided to do something else with their weekends and so Dorking Wanderers were formed as an amateur recreational team. The club initially played in the Crawley & District League. After their first season in the Crawley League they switched to Division Four of the West Sussex League, winning the division at the first attempt. In 2001–02 the club finished as Division Three runners-up, earning a third consecutive promotion. After winning Division Two in 2003–04 they were promoted to Division One, and a third-place finish in Division One in 2005–06 saw them promoted to the Premier Division.

In 2006–07 Wanderers won the West Sussex League’s Premier Division, clinching the title with a victory on the last day of the season. As a result, the club were promoted to Division Three of the Sussex County League. They went on to win Division Three in 2010–11, earning promotion to Division Two. A third-place finish in Division Two the following season was enough to see them promoted to Division One. Although the league initially denied them entry to the division as their ground was not deemed to meet the requirements, the club appealed to the Football Association, who overruled the decision after an independent ground grading visit confirmed that the ground reached the mandatory standards for Division One football. The team initially struggled in Division One, finishing third-from-bottom in 2012–13. However, they finished second in 2014–15, earning promotion to Division One South of the Isthmian League.

In Wanderers’ first season in the Isthmian League they finished as runners-up in Division One South, qualifying for the promotion play-offs, going on to lose 2–1 to Faversham Town in the semi-finals. The following season saw them finish second again; in the play-offs they beat Hastings United on penalties in the semi-final after a 1–1 draw, and then won again on penalties against Corinthian-Casuals in the final following a 0–0 draw, earning promotion to the Premier Division. In 2018–19 the club won the Premier Division by a margin of 22 points, earning promotion to the National League South for their first time in history. Following the curtailment of the 2019–20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were placed seventh in the league table, qualifying for the promotion play-offs. After beating Bath City 2–1 in the quarter-finals, the club lost 3–2 to Weymouth in the semi-finals. The 2020–21 season was made null and void following a vote by member clubs of the National League, with Dorking top of the National League South at the point the season was ended.

In the 2021–22 season Wanderers finished second in the National League South, going on to defeat Ebbsfleet United 3–2 in the play-off final, earning promotion to the National League for the first time in the club’s history.

CURRENT FORM 

Wanderers have been in mixed form in the National League. Marc White’s side have only won one of their last five games and are currently sitting just above the relegation zone in the fifth tier.

Last time out, Dorking narrowly lost at home to Oldham Athletic in an entertaining affair at Meadowbank. Wanderers then faced back to back games against Oxford City where a New Years Day victory took all three points in Oxfordshire. The reverse happened on Boxing Day where Oxford took all three points from Meadowbank.

Two defeats before that against Eastleigh and a local clash with Woking saw Wanderers pick up just three points from an available 15.

ONE TO WATCH 

SEB BOWERMAN 

Bowerman is one of Wanderers’ form men. The winger joined Marc White’s side from Bracknell Town in 2022 and has scored twice since his return from injury.

His last goal came in a 2-1 victory away at Oxford City.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Saturday will be the first ever meeting between the two sides with a place in the last 16 at stake!

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