TT MATCH VERDICT – Dorking Wanderers 3-2 TUFC by Thomas Kelly


Thomas Kelly – @tommyktufc

Tom discusses the game at Dorking


What on earth did you expect?

On the back of a positive result at home to Barnet over the weekend, the Gulls came crashing back to earth with a very disappointing and gutting 3-2 defeat to relegation rivals Dorking Wanderers, a side who hadn’t won a game yet in 2023 and had only scored one goal since the turn of the year. You know how the story goes...

United started with the same XI from the 2-1 win at home to Barnet but started poorly and just six minutes in, the went behind. Dean Moxey was turned inside out on the right side and the Dorking captain McShane slotted the ball home from inside the box.

Torquay hadn’t got going at all and were allowing Dorking far too much space to roam. It should have been 2-0 when the Wanderers rattled the crossbar from a free kick from Bobby Joe Taylor.

United really should have levelled on 27 minutes however. McGavin’s free kick was parried straight to Fadahunsi but he hit it way off target from close range on the rebound. Has to score.

Torquay were struggling to get a foothold into the game but in the second minute of injury time, Aaron Jarvis curled in a wonderful shot from outside the box into the top left corner of Dan Lincoln’s goal to equalise.

The second half started perfectly. United dispossessed Dorking from kick off, Lapslie and Fadahunsi linked brilliantly and Tom slotted the ball home to give the Gulls a 2-1 lead and send the 400 Gulls fans into raptures.

But of course, this is Torquay United and the Gulls wings were very quickly clipped when Kieran Evans was sent off for a second yellow in a challenge that after re-watching was sadly the right decision.

Dorking could smell blood and United crumbled. Just minutes later, Ottaway had a gap the size of the Grand Canyon in-between Marshall and Donnellan to head home a cross to make it 2-2.

Then it happened again, United embarrassingly conceded the same goal, Ottaway again getting there ahead of Donnellan to head the hosts in front.

Dorking saw the game out with ease honestly. Donnellan came close towards the end and Jarvis had an effort that went well wide, but that was as close as we had got. Even the “attacking threat” of Mensah and Wyatt who came on with 20 mins left made little impact and the ‘hoof the ball’ forward tactic that the Gulls had seemed to implement all game with bugger all effect, saw the hosts win the huge six pointer.


1. Mark Halstead 7 – GK

Can’t really fault Mark. How frustrating for him that week in, week out he has to make save after save to try and earn us a good result. Not to blame in my view.

16. Shaun Donnellan 3 – RB

Probably the worst I’ve seen him play this season. Another who struggled to deal with the pace of Dorking’s wingers and the gap he and Marshall left for Ottaway to head the equaliser was pathetic. For the third goal he let Ottaway get ahead of him and the game was done. Had a long range effort near the end which had Dan Lincoln scrambling.

21. Dean Moxey 4 – LB

Was run ragged against Dorking’s pacey wingers. As ever, Deano tried but was horribly over-run all game and was subbed in the second half.  

19. Nico Lawrence 6 – CB

Probably the best of a really poor defence. He almost gifted Dorking a fourth goal but it’s clear he’s got something about him and he kept running until the end.

6. Ross Marshall 3 – CB

Not good enough for this level IMO, Dorking’s part-timers made him look an NLS player…which might be handy next season. He doesn’t track anybody and like Shaun was hideously at fault for the equaliser. No marking either for the winner. So so poor.

27. Dillon De Silva 3 – RW

What has happened to him? Completely ineffective for most of that game and his play in the final third on the ball was just painful. Didn’t get on the ball and push us forward enough. Disappointing performance.  

4. Tom Lapslie 7.5 – MF

Typical Lapslie performance. He once again ran his absolute socks off and set us up perfectly at the start of the second half with his goal. Such a shame most of the others don’t have his eagerness and passion. Looked shattered at full time, but one of the very few to hold their heads up high.

14. Brett McGavin 3 – MF

He must be one of the slowest footballers in the world and his marking is equally inept. I wish he would take a page out of Lapslies book and actually bother to go in for challenges and make a bloody effort. Tested the keeper from the free kick in the first half but that was probably all he did right all game. Rightfully subbed off.

11. Kieron Evans 3 – LW

If this lad has any promise, I’m just not seeing it. For someone who is supposed to be a creative midfielder, he is slow and predictable. Having seen back the red card moment it’s a silly foul and a definite yellow card offence. The game was lost the moment he was sent to the changing room. 

9. Aaron Jarvis 7 – ST

Scored a belter of a goal to put us back into the game. Tried really hard to make things work and was of course isolated up front after the red card and Tope’s substitution. One of the few who deserve credit for their performance.

10. Tope Fadahunsi 6 – ST

I like the partnership of Tope and Aaron upfront but how the game could have changed had he not missed that sitter in the first half. Did well to set Jarvis up for the equaliser but was sacrificed once we went down to ten men, which killed all our attacking intentions for the last 40 minutes.


15. Ben Wyatt 4 – LB

I really don’t understand what Ben brings to this squad. He doesn’t like to push forward enough and I find him too weak at the back. Didn’t improve us at all.

7. Ryan Hanson 4 – MF & 12. Jacob Mensah 4 – CB

When you’re chasing a game and your best options is to bring on Hanson & Mensah, you know you’re screwed.


His first names Tom and his second is Lapslie. You can tell why he’s a fans favourite and you can see why we need to be careful keeping him fit until the end of the season. He never stops running and the way he took his goal and in the build-up was magnificent. Such a shame he has to do the running of the entire midfield. Well played (again) Tom.


Just freaking incredible once again Yellow Army. With streaming now a thing, to take 400 fans, with the club in the relegation zone and make the noise you made is one of the few positives to take from that shambles of a game. Of course a new ground to tick off the list but most of the Yellow Army never ever fails to amaze. Credit to you.


Overall, they got the Evans sending off correct. However, the referee was so weak and loved to give Dorking most of the decisions. I know Marc White and his coaching staff can be tough to handle on the sidelines but I felt for the most part they were poor, but hey what’s new? They didn’t cost us the game mind you and we seriously need to wise up fast if we want to survive this season.


4-4-2 although at times we looked to go five at the back which didn’t make much difference. De Silva on the right side was very ineffective for the most part and a lot of our play was very direct and wasteful. Hit and hope football. Poor Mox had a terrible time on the left side against the Dorking wingers. Once Tope went off our attacking threat was barely there. Gary went to try and hold out for practically an entire half of football and as soon as Dorking levelled there was only going to be one outcome. So much for the keeping the confidence from Saturday.


Dorking are a very fluid side, who like to move the ball about and play some good football, but they have been renowned this season for being very open at the back and concede a lot of goals. They’ve been on a horrible run in the last month or so but after the red card you could tell that they would turn it around and get the three points. I do think that they will stay up this season, they have a togetherness and manager who expects nothing but success for the club he owns. I did feel had we kept it to eleven men we might have got something from the game, but mentally Dorking knew we were there for the taking and beat us comfortably in the end.

The £1 pint incentive went down really well with the Yellow Army but the ground is really not National League standards yet. Once the new stand goes in it will be a much better, but it was difficult for a lot of the Yellow Army to see what was going on, lucky them I suppose. The thing is, Plainmoor could be an NLS ground next year.


Not good enough against a side who most likely didn’t train for this game with their part-time status, but still managed to make us look like a bunch of amateurs. I’m not sure why when it comes to playing on 4G pitches and against part-time sides we regress to this whimper of a side. It’s embarrassing and it’s a disgrace to the loyal fans who deserve (once again) so much better than this.

Things might have been different had Tope put away that guilt edge chance to level the score midway in the first half but despite getting ourselves into a winning position, we threw it all away and all the positivity from our win against Barnet has dissipated.

I seriously struggle to see how we can get the results necessary to survive. It’s all good beating your Barnet’s, but if you can’t beat those around you at this stage of the season, it’s going to be difficult to remain a National League club.

I blame the recruitment mostly because look at the options we had! Who on our bench can change a game or help us get a goal when we need one? Hanson? Wyatt? Mensah? It’s a joke and one I hold fully on Gary. Marc White schooled him and Gary didn’t have an answer.

Where on earth is Asa? I know he doesn’t play on 4G surfaces, but give the fans some information for crying out loud. Why make us guess and wonder all the time?

Our game at home to Southend could be a defining moment. Will Southend exist come the 1st March? Are we their final opponents in their long history? I really hope not and I hope for all the best for them. Don’t forget our win would be expunged should the worst happen and then the table would look even worse.

It’s not over yet, but if the great escape is on, we need to get going and soon.







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