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Preview: Dorking Wanderers vs. Ebbsfleet - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's National League South playoff final between Dorking Wanderers and Ebbsfleet, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Dorking Wanderers and Ebbsfleet will be attempting to earn promotion to the fifth tier when they meet in the National League South final on Saturday afternoon.

Whoever prevails at Meadowbank will join either York City or Boston United in earning promotion to the National League, those two clubs also squaring off on the same day.


Match preview

When the 2020-21 campaign was declared null and void due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dorking were left feeling the most frustrated having established a lead at the top of the standings.

However, to their credit, the Surrey-based outfit have remained on an upward trajectory, manager and owner Marc White spearheading another remarkable campaign which has seen them score 101 goals.

One win from five during March proved to be the difference when it came to challenging for automatic promotion, but the momentum has remained with this team as they attempt to earn promotion to the National League for the first time.

Their record at Meadowbank this season has been simply sensational, a total of 17 wins coming from 20 matches and more than two goals being scored in their last seven fixtures on home territory.

Wanderers earned their place in Saturday's final with a 3-0 triumph against Oxford City, two strikes in the opening 19 minutes setting them on their way.

While Dorking deserve their tag of favourites heading into this fixture, Ebbsfleet finished just five points adrift of them during the regular campaign.

Notably, Dennis Kutrieb's team collected 11 wins from their 20 games away from home, although one of eight defeats came by a 5-1 scoreline in the corresponding game on January 22.

On the plus side, Ebbsfleet are currently on an eight-match unbeaten streak, the latest of seven wins coming against Chippenham Town in the semi-finals, albeit after extra time.

With six days passing before this contest, the Kent side will have had plenty of time to recover, but a run of just two clean sheets in eight contests is not ideal ahead of meeting free-scoring opponents.

Dorking Wanderers National League South form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Ebbsfleet National League South form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Having opened up a 3-0 advantage versus Oxford before the 50-minute mark, White was able to rest a number of his players in the second half.

Barring any fitness issues, White is expected to stick with the same Dorking XI, leading marksman Alfie Rutherford the man in form having scored 10 goals in his last six outings.

While Kutrieb may also decide to keep changes to a minimum, it appears more likely that more defensive players will be included after naming an attack-minded side versus Chippenham.

Rakish Bingham and Elliott Romain both played in deeper roles for Ebbsfleet in that game, and could see their places in the side come under threat.

Adam Mekki and Lee Martin are alternatives if Kutrieb opts to make any changes.

Dorking Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Lincoln; Fuller, Harris, Cheadle, Muitt, Taylor, McShane, Moore, Wheeler, Rutherford, Prior

Ebbsfleet possible starting lineup:
Moulden; Finney, Solly, Jombati, N'Guessan, Chapman, Paxman, Romain, Bingham, Poleon, Coulthirst


SM words green background

We say: Dorking Wanderers 2-1 Ebbsfleet

With just five points separating these two clubs during the regular campaign, this has all the makings of being a tight contest. However, despite the visitors showing the more consistent form of late, we cannot ignore Dorking's firepower on familiar territory, leading us to predict a home victory.

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