Saturday will be a day of remarkable milestones for Phil Parkinson, as he will be in charge of his 900th game as manager, and also his 750th league match.
Parkinson has seen most things in football, but even he must be amazed by the intensity of the title race his side is locked in. The next chapter sees Dorking Wanderers make a first visit to the Racecourse Ground, as desperate for points as we are.
Both sides enjoyed important home wins on Tuesday night. Wrexham saw off a new-look Scunthorpe United side which featured 7 players who'd arrived at the club within the previous three weeks. They showed a great deal more fight under new manager Jimmy Dean than they did in our two previous encounters this season, but a pair of stone-wall penalties were put away by Paul Mullin, who ought to have had a 96th minute chance to complete a hat trick of spot-kicks but a blatant handball in the box was puzzlingly given as a free kick instead.
Dorking had a crucial home match against bottom-of-the-table Torquay United. Having lost their last 5 games, Wanderers desperately needed to turn things round against relegation rivals, and they did so with a dramatic 3-2 victory.
That was their first league win since mid-December, and it opened up a vital 3-point gap on the Gulls. It's hard not to root for Dorking in their fight for survival as they look to maintain their meteoric rise up the divisions:founded as recently as 1999, theirs is a remarkable tale, told with the help of a brilliant online documentary series and elaborated by the refreshingly candid Marc White, a manager who wears his heart on his sleeve and speaks with passionate sincerity.
Wanderers made a terrific start to the season, and it has been crucial to have those points in the bag as their season has spiralled into a relegation scrap. Their home record, in particular, has been solid: only 3 sides outside the play-offs have more wins on their own turf. Their away record is a different story, though. Only bottom side Maidstone united have conceded more goals on the road, and only Maidstone and Maidenhead have lost more away matches.
With a strong community-based ethos, a popular behind-the-scenes show an now a pair of North American board members (who happen to support the Philadelphia Eagles!), we've a lot in common with Wanderers. Throw in their generous treatment of our fans when we visited earlier in the season, as White put money behind the bar for them, and it's natural to wish them well. Once we've got this weekend out of the way, that is!
LAST TIME WE MET
3/9/2023 Dorking Wanderers 0 Wrexham 5 (Palmer 20, 49, Mendy 24, Moore (o.g.) 35, Lee 77)
Dorking Wanderers S Huk, E Harris (J Muitt, 16), B Fuller (D Quick, 78), J Jebb, L Moore, J McShane, N McManus (N Wheeler, 46), B Taylor, D Gallagher, R Seager, A Rutherford.
Wrexham M Howard, B Tozer, M Cleworth, J Davies (C McFadzean, 78), A Hayden, J Jones, A Forde, J Mendy, L Young, O Palmer (S Dalby, 83), P Mullin (E Lee, 59)
Referee: Gary Parsons Attendance: 2,730
HEAD TO HEAD
We’ve only played Dorking Wanderers once, earlier this season, and it was an explosive affair!
Wanderers, of course, have made a remarkable journey since their formation in ?????, so it’s only natural that our paths haven’t crossed yet. However, they didn’t let the discrepancies in budget and longevity put them off, and came at us with brio.
Wrexham had to work hard to keep Dorking at arm’s length, but as the game wore on we earned the right to start moving the ball around on the 4G pitch, and started to create opportunities.
The breakthrough came in the 20th minute as Ollie Palmer scored for the third consecutive match, and four minutes later Jacob Mendy notched his first goal for the club with a typical strike from 20 yards.
An own goal gave us a three-goal cushion at the break, and Palmer’s second shortly after the resumption further dampened the home side’s spirits. Elliot Lee’s 77th minute strike sealed a 5-0 win and sparked memorable celebrations as he shared the moment with the away end, although in truth Dorking didn’t deserve to lose by such a margin.
Luke Young's 425th league match.
James Jones' 275th league game.