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Club News

Latics vs. Dorking Wanderers

9 September 2023

Club News

Latics vs. Dorking Wanderers

9 September 2023

Dorking Wanderers become the next side to make the trip to Boundary Park when they are welcomed by Oldham Athletic on Saturday afternoon

Both sides will be hopeful for a more fortuitous outcome at the weekend following challenging beginnings to their respective National League seasons after seven fixtures played in 2023/24.

David Unsworth’s Oldham notched another point to their tally after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Gateshead, where it seemed captain Liam Hogan’s smart finish was going to be enough to secure an important victory for Latics, but a late Stephen Wearne equaliser shared the spoils at the Gateshead International Stadium.

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A stalemate against Eastleigh at home saw Dorking Wanderers go four without a win, with the 2-1 win over Southend United three games in a distant memory, although a first clean sheet of the season would always be a welcomed sight for Marc White’s side.

White will be pleased to have no fresh team news ahead of an important fixture for two teams who already find themselves adrift of the promotion places but only one point apart, whilst a win for either side would go a long way to building some much-needed momentum in such a crucial stage of the season.

Oldham boss Unsworth meanwhile has another midfield conundrum to deal with after Mark Shelton was dismissed late against Gateshead following a second booking, which may see Brennan Dickenson move back into central midfield, or see Kurt Willoughby make a third start of the campaign.

The Opposition

A 0-0 draw with Eastleigh was anything but what the scoreline suggests with both sides carving out numerous chances to make the breakthrough in a fixture which didn’t seem to want one.

Jason Prior particularly had a frustrating afternoon, hitting the post in the first half squandering a glorious opportunity before having his penalty attempt saved by Eastleigh’s Archie Meir in goal which had not been what Dorking supporters have been used to from Prior so far this season.

The star forward would have been disappointed not to have added to his four goals so far in the National League and will likely be looking to find the net on Saturday to brush away those demons.

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Meanwhile an impressive performance from Harrison Male in the Dorking net will have encouraged White of his decision to sign the keeper from Worthing in the summer, a display which landed a first clean sheet of the season for the new man in goal.

Dorking however have struggled away from home this campaign so far, failing to pick up any points on the road in their trips to Chesterfield, Solihull United or Woking FC. An aggregate score of 9-3 will be one White will want his side to eradicate quickly starting with their trip to Boundary Park.

White will also have a decision to make in midfield after Luke Moore had to come off with a knock in the first half against Eastleigh, however Bobby-Joe Taylor’s bright appearance off the bench may have made that decision for him.

This fixture last season didn’t disappoint, with a five-goal thriller playing out in Oldham, where only six players from Oldham’s squad remain, whilst Alfie Rutherford and Josh Taylor grabbed two late goals for Dorking and will certainly hope to cause more damage this time around.

Dorking will be happy Oldham will be without Mike Fondop who misses out through suspension, meaning the forward won’t be back to haunt the side he scored a hat-trick against last season in the reverse fixture.

Key Threat

Now whilst it would be wise to mention Prior as a threat to Oldham on Saturday, Taylor’s cameo for Dorking was as impressive as it could get off the bench with all that was lacking was a goal to show for it.

An unfortunate knock to Moore meant Taylor was called upon to play predominantly off the right of midfield, and he was a threat to Eastleigh’s backline at any chance he got. Direct and aggressive with his forward play, Oldham will have to keep an eye on the tricky wide man.

New Dorking Wanderers signing has sights firmly set on promotion - Surrey  Live

Constantly driving in field onto his left foot caused major issues for Eastleigh, particularly in the second half where the intensity had dropped in the game. It was Taylor who was the bright spark for the home team, and he could well get the nod on Saturday.

The 28-year-old winger made his mark off the bench last weekend, and another impressive display against Oldham could see Taylor retain his place in the side in which he has been unable to stamp down his spot in the team.

With such versatility, Taylor has been asked to play all over the pitch this season, including in the backline. However, after his display last weekend, it's clear to see where his strengths lie and frankly Oldham would be fortunate to see Taylor play anywhere but at the front end of the pitch.

In the hot seat

Marc White's Dorking side have built a reputation of being a high scoring side in that period, scoring 170 times which comes to almost 2 (1.9) per game, whilst his team this season haven’t quite managed to match those efforts having scored just seven times in the seven games played.

White’s most notable achievement with the club has been the promotion clinching season in the 2021/22 season, which saw his Dorking side finish second, scoring an outrageous 101 times before securing promotion in the play-offs, beating Oxford City in the semi-final followed by a dramatic 3-2 win over Ebbsfleet United in the final.

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A return to the form his side were in then would bring encouraging signs to National League life where he has struggled to get his side firing, with a 16th place finish last season, whilst he will hope a win on Saturday can give his side a boost of confidence that will see them climb up the standings.

Match Officials

The referee will be Richard Aspinall, with assistants Niall Felton and Oliver Nolan. The fourth official will be Jordan Crossley.

Match coverage and information 

Live audio commentary is available on Latics Player, guiding you through the match. 

For more information, visit the Latics Player page by clicking here

Alternatively, supporters can also follow the game with live updates on the club's official Twitter account: @OfficialOAFC 

As this game is not being played within the blocked broadcast hours stipulated by UEFA, live streaming will be available through National League TV for supporters in the UK and overseas.

Matchday passes are available for £9.50, with further details here.

As always, we will endeavour to ensure confirmation of the line-up is published as soon as possible on social media. 

However, supporters should note that team sheets in the National League are not exchanged until an hour before kick-off. This is 15 minutes later than in the EFL and as a result, the line-up is likely to be published slightly later than in previous seasons.


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