Dorking Wanderers play in the shadow of Box Hill in Surrey. It’s a hill that’s perhaps more famed for its difficult climbs during the Olympic road race rather than the football that is played in the valley below. But like those difficult ascents during the Olympics of 2012, Dorking Wanderes were also trying to make an improbable climb out of the Ryman League South into the Ryman Premier Division.
Dorking Wanderers were only founded in 1999 and after a series of successive promotions they passed the town’s more illustrious club (at least in years of history) Dorking FC. So the game against Faversham Town was the biggest in their short history. A chance to face either Worthing or Hythe for a place in the Ryman Premier against the likes of non-league poster boys Dulwich Hamlet.
It was the home side (who ran out to the pleasing tune ‘The Wanderer’) who set the tempo of the game early on. Their exotically numbered Jerome Beckles who wore an ‘Argentinian 5’ playing just in front of the back four was tackling well and using the ball effectively. It’s not often a player runs the game so well from the centre of the park in a non-league match at this level. The games can often pass midfielders by (often over their head) but Beckles was able to put his foot on the ball and dictate play.
Unsurprisingly it was Wanderers who took the lead on 10 minutes, after some excellent build up play the ball was whipped into the box and finished expertly by Luke Hackett. Despite being 1-0 down at the break it was still a very even game, and Faversham proved that by drawing level just after half-time from John Scarborough.
Playoff matches are so often great affairs as both sides are generally evenly matched, and that was certainly the case here. Whilst the Faversham faithful and the Wanderers fans were urging their own sides on to score the vital winning goal, the neutrals in the crowd (including me) were praying for a winner from either side in order to get home and out of the unseasonably cold weather. That godsend of a goal came in the 90th minute when Faversham Town’s Charley Robertson knocked the ball home to send Town’s fans into frenzy. The game was won and it will be Faversham Town who face Worthing (who won their semi final by an almost unfathomable seven goals to nil) in the final.